Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh, the Places You'll Go...

Blogland is a dangerous place, especially for those of us who were behind the door when iron self-control was handed out.

A few weeks back (or it may have been months, so quickly does time fly in this enchanted place), Pomona of Little Cottage Comforts was hosting one of her many generous giveaways. The only requirement for entry was to leave a comment, suggesting a blog the reader thought she might like. "Oh dear," I thought. "I'm already reading some of the blogs she likes. And I'm studiously avoiding the rest, because I spend too much time reading blogs as it is."

It's addictive, you see. (Of course you see. You're reading this, bless you.) So many talented people out there, making beautiful things, taking lovely pictures, writing felicitous phrases, suggesting wonderful books, sharing their creativity with generous abandon. The farther you go the more you find, each more irresistible than the last. And all at your fingertips, all so easily accessible. Just a click of the "follow" button and you've added another delightful blog to the roll, another kindred spirit to your ethereal circle, another small county to your personal map of Blogland.

And the comment sections! What a rich mine of potentially like-minded persons. While leaving your own, you notice the witty remarks of another; your eye is caught by an appealing avatar. You click on the commenter's name and read her profile, and chances are you find yet another fascinating blog you simply can't ignore.

Before you know it, you're spending countless happy hours in Blogland, discovering its many charming vistas, leaving behind such mundane things as housework and menu planning. (Unless you read housework blogs, as several of you seem to be doing, to judge by the pictures of your tidy kitchens and shining sinks.)

For me, the problem is compounded by a small but distinct sense of obligation to the blogs I follow. Having signed on, so to speak, I feel it's only polite to read every post. Being an incorrigible commenter,  I can't merely skim the post and move on. I read carefully, making mental notes as I go, to aid in the composition of a few well-chosen words ("Ha!" you say. "Mrs. M's comments are more like small essays....") a few well-chosen words, I say, which I hope may cheer and encourage the blogger - that wonderful soul who lives half a country or world away but whose mind, on some level, marches with my own. Because I want her to keep writing/making/photographing. I enjoy her work. (Also I know how pleasant it is to receive comments.)

So where does it stop? And how? Knowing my own lack of self-control, I've limited the number of blogs I follow. (This may also be a reflection of my personality and social habits - I'm more of a loner than a gregarious type. Don't let the wordiness fool you.) And I suppose one way to manage my time in Blogland is to comment less copiously and less assiduously. But I do feel that I'm missing out on many a delightful read, many a chance to admire the talents of others, by staying within too small a blogging circle.

So I'm asking you, dear reader, for tips and advice. What obligations, if any, do you feel towards the blogs you follow? And how do you manage your blog-reading time?

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  1. All of the above!!!! All in caps! Bold! Underlined!!!

    It does get really difficult. Particularly when you have vacation time that must be used or lost, and you spend nearly a month trying to cram five-day work weeks into three-day work weeks and then enjoy four-day weekends as if they were month-long vacations, and mostly without internet access or cell phone signal. :)

    I can say for one your comments are the most appreciated, amost as if you've tapped into my soul and know when I need a pleasant shot in the arm. You also come up with some very witty comments, and I'll have you know I'm STILL singing Kokomo since you sang it to me...

    Sometimes I'm so trapped by obligations, I can't read, comment or even skim blogs I enjoy for days a time. So then I try to schedule a lunch hour or other block of time I devote catching up. To me, it's not that much different than trying to schedule time to e-mail friends and family. Bloggers sometimes have more of a connection to me than those I know in person, so I can justify mapping out time for them.

    But I do agree wholeheartedly there reaches a point when one desires to pull the hair out and scream because it seems life is just too darned busy to take on one more tiny thing!

  2. And that's what I get for being in a hurry due to time constraints... no proofreading, tons of typos!!!

  3. I could spend all day reading blogs for all the reasons you have listed...and then there's pinterest...all too much fun. As of late, I have tried to limit myself to an hour per day of browsing and only posting 2-3 times per week. I make every effort to reward myself with blogging (and crocheting) after and during exercise.This has not been going, so well, however. Oh and I have been limiting my comments to blogs where the author gives me attention. hehe. ;-)

  4. I have so many blogs bookmarked, it's ridiculous...and I keep finding more! I don't feel any sort of obligation to read or comment, though (I just like to).

    There are a few blogs that I read everyday (and have done so for years) but many of the others I check less regularly (so I always have some reading material/eye candy when I DO have time to immerse myself in blogland).

    I don't always leave comments but I, like everyone else, know how nice it is to receive them and will often leave a word or two (or lots, like right now!)

  5. I don't have that many blogs I read regularly. I've them in my google reader so I can see who has a new post.
    How much I post depends on the time I have. I think I don't negelct my family, friends, household or work. I would read more (newspaper, books) without blogland. And I don't leave comments that often. :-)

  6. I almost forgot: It's a pleasure for me to read ENGLISH blogs. I won't lose my English reading and writing skills, might even emprove them. Don't forget the vocabulary ... :-)

  7. Hello!
    I have to say that your comments are usually the ones I appreciate most as it's obvious you've taken time to read a post and you always write something significant.
    All the blogs I read regularly are the ones in my side bar. I do venture out and find others every so often, sometimes I replace old favourite blogs no longer making the mark with new ones. My blog roll is a mix of blogs I like but have absolutely no connection with the author (the more popular ones where they receive hundreds of comments per post, and one or two who like to think they're popular!), and blogs which perhaps aren't quite so polished but where I feel I have a good rapport with the author, usually because we leave each other comments (and reasonably meaningful ones) fairly regularly.
    I probably spend too much time looking at blogs, just before reading your post I had actually started a little prune of my favourite blog list. Don't worry(!) you're still there...

  8. What an interesting subject. Personally, I have a lot of time on my hands so read everything that comes in my reader, including all the comments but will only comment when the subject matter is relevant or interesting to me or I think that the author might need a little encouragement.

  9. interesting post. I can only say that once I have completed my work. chores etc that is when I do the blog thing so I don`t feel so guilty about the time spent.

  10. Amen!!! I feel exactly the same way!! I have a bajillion blogs in my Google reader, but, a few months ago I made a short list of the blogs I like so much that I don't want to miss a post _and_ they are the ones I make a point to comment on. Like yours! :)

    I'm a small time blogger and comments make my day so I try to make another bloggers day and leave comments. Well, I hope I make their day!! :) And as I cannot seem to pare down my comments to a quick "great job!" I kinda have to limit myself!! lol!!! In person I'm not so wordy, but give me an empty white box and you can't shut me up! ;)

    On obligation...I don't feel obligated to comment. I comment to encourage and say "hey, I like what you did/said and I want you to know!" I love your Blogland map idea!! It is like we create our own little communities!! :) And I think that is why I don't feel obligated, I invited them in and I like them so I want to stay in touch!! :)

  11. I missed this one before! So you can see how well I do with keeping up with blog reading - there are so many lovely blogs, and I struggle with managing my time, too. So I go in fits and starts, and make resolutions to catch up, and fail miserably on all fronts!!

    Pomona x


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