I’m not speaking to anyone in particular with the above title, just the blogging world in general.
I pruned a few RSS feeds from my reader today (Newsgator Outlook Edition in case you’re keeping count) and afterward I realized that each of the three was using post excerpts in their RSS feeds. It was not a conscious decision to target those types of feeds, but that’s just the way it worked out. I’ve never really felt that strongly that excerpts are a bad thing, however today I found myself dropping subscriptions to three blogs that use excerpts. Why is that?
I mentally categorize blogs to which I subscribe in one of four buckets:
For the most part, it is all about time investment for me. Currently I subscribe to about 120 blogs and other feeds. So each post that comes in has a lot of competition. If I only have 30 minutes on a particular day to devote to catching up on my blog reading then maybe only a portion of category 2 feeds get read (the best ones first of course). This may happen several days or weeks in a row. When I decide to catch up on some more serious reading I will read the category 3 feeds that I think are the best and then I may eventually work my way to the category 2 feeds that have been recently ignored (effectively being bumped to category 4) - or I may not. If I find that I haven’t read a blog’s posts for a couple of months then I will delete it even if it’s for no other good reason than I haven’t had time.
So what does all this have to do with full-text RSS feeds? Hold on one more minute, I’m getting there.
How does a blog fall out of favor? How does it move down the list from a good “read it as soon as it’s posted” blog to a “I’ll get to later if I can” blog. Besides the obvious issues of good content I can think of a couple of other things:
and drumroll please…
Finally, my “Delayed Must Read” list is pretty short. I currently only have about five blogs in that list. If a blog is not of the caliber of ScottGu or Scott Hanselman then it is not making that list. So if a blog gets bumped once there is a pretty good chance that it may never fall back into favor.
Some “experts” say that excerpts are good in your RSS feed because they force the reader to visit your site. However I think that strategy is a very thin double-edged sword that has just as much chance of backfiring. In my case I find that excerpts are just as likely to cause me to unsubscribe from your RSS feed as they are to visit your site.
Maybe I’m the only one with issues of too many blogs to read and so little time. If so, feel free to ignore my pleas. My educated guess is that I’m not.