The End of the Alphabet Gets the Shaft


I don’t know about you, but I keep up with all of my blogs via Google Reader. For those of you not familiar with that tool, it displays each of my subscriptions in alphabetical order and the ones updated since I last visited are bolded (with a trailing numeral representing the number of unread posts). The reader also lets you change how the blog is displayed, so I usually modify it to have the name of the blogger precede the name of the blog. For example, Shannon O’Donnell (everyone knows Shannon) has a blog named Book Dreaming. Without doing any modifications, Book Dreaming is what appears on my Google Reader list. I’ve customized it to read Shannon – Book Dreaming, because that’s easier for me to remember which blog belongs to who.

Shannon may not know it…but she just got the shaft.

You see, when I read my blogs, I do it alphabetically (usually). And during those times I’m playing catch-up with hundreds of posts to read, I’ll end up leaving more thoughtful comments for the blogs I read first, and less and less as I proceed down the list. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve even skimmed through some post from bloggers with names beginning with S, T, U, V & W’s. *sheepish grin*

Is this fair? Absolutely not, and I recognize that fact. So from time to time I’ll catch up on my blog reading by beginning at the Z’s and moving backwards. That makes things more equitable, but it’s not a true solution. Over the holidays I let myself fall so far behind that Monday I started reading at the A’s, Tuesday I switched it up and began with the Z’s, then I went back to the top of the alphabet Wednesday. You get the idea. Now it’s Friday and I’ve barely touched J-P. Sorry guys!

One solution when things get that far backed up is just to purge everything. Hit the MARK ALL AS READ button on my reader and start from scratch. It’s very tempting, but you can miss some really great post by doing that. The real answer is to not allow myself to fall that far behind and feeling rushed to catch back up, but life is life and there’s no way I can’t make that promise.

Sorry gang…no quick fix answers here. I know that each and every one of you are probably saying right now, “don’t sweat it. It’s not worth the stress.” Still, I do. I follow you for a reason, and without raising the mushy quotient too high, I care.

And I’m telling you right now, I’m ignoring all of the comments informing me you’ve changed your names to Adam or Amy.

33 comments

  1. Hmm. My blog title starts with T, and my name with M. Sounds like I'm not in a very good spot either way.

    I worry about this too DL, since I really do like to read all the blogs I follow, at least several times a week, if not every day. There is just never enough time though.

    Today's guest blogger is K.M. Walton!

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  2. True that! My name begins with S and my blog with W. W. Duh??? What was I thinking....

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  3. I don't use Google Reader, never tried it. I just read everything through Blogger. When I get backed up, I click on the individual blogs instead of having all posts together like I usually do. I don't have time to comment on very many, but I can at least read the ones I want.

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  4. I use blogger's reader. They list blogs by which has most recently posted. I don't know whether my blog would be listed under A for Angela, of M for My Poetry Place. How, exactly, does that work?

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  5. Just Jemi gave me the idea to break my blog reading to days of the week, instead of by alphabet. It's helpful, when you follow the system daily, something I haven't mastered yet! But it seems less daunting, less overwhelming then by just by alphabet. As far as I can see, you do a great job on keeping up.

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  6. I've created folders, which makes it easier than clicking on individual blogs. I have one for those I visit daily and the rest are divided across days of the week. I also have folders for movie blogs, book bloggers, and my Fantastic Friday Writers. That way all I have to do is click on the folder and scroll through the recent posts. No one gets shafted! (Unless it's a really busy day and everyone in blogdom has posted - then the first ones to post might not see me.)

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  7. I organize my Google Reader by date - and I have it sort it oldest to newest. So the first one I click on, is always the oldest. It works for me :) Good luck catching up!

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  8. OMG, I'm so glad someone else is obsessed as I am about following :) Your friendly starting with "T" blog :D
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  9. I stopped using my Google Reader because it took too dang long to load. I think I follow too many blogs. Now that I have a sparkling new gmail account, maybe I'll take a morning and customize my Reader into files that I can deal with. But I hear you, DL. There isn't time enough to read every new posting...and finding a way to hit every blog on a regular basis is the challenge to beat.

    Oh, and I changed my name to Agatha last week. I swear! Wayyyy before I read this post. Honest. :p

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  10. LOL. Well, at least you admit you have a problem - that's the first step toward recovery. I expect to see a comment on my blog soon, though, now that I know I've been getting shafted! :-)

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  11. *sigh* Man, do I relate to the challenge and stress I feel about getting around to everyone. I sincerely LOVE reading everyone's blogs and knowing how they're doing...I too care. Deeply. Thus, I spend WAY too many hours trying to get around to everyone. It's impossible.

    I do care. I do love everyone's blogs. So much. And I try SO HARD to get around and visit.
    If I don't make it to their blogs, it's only because of lack of time, not lack of care.

    I'm going to try a few of your commenters systems.

    Happy weekend,
    Lola

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  12. Great method.... I have mine broken up into categories in my Reader and each blog goes into it's slot (design, photography, cooking, and then there's just cool people...I've got you in that one!) haha

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  13. Hmmm...well now I'm hoping you have me listed under my name instead of my blog name. :D But seriously, I hear ya!

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  14. I'm thinking you should list my blog as Fields, Susan instead of Susan Fields. :)

    I do the same thing with modifying the blog name to show the person's name before the blog name. I know the people, but not the blog names so well.

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  15. You're a gazillion times better about reading blogs than me. My system sucks. It's like, if you're listed on my side bar you'll get read the one or two days of the week (which is really only a couple hours at most) and if you're not on my sidebar but have posted within 24 hours of the time I started reading blogs on that day, and you have a catchy title, or I really like you, or there's a cool pic, then I'll read and comment.

    See how confusing that explanation was? That's how my brain feels when I try to catch up on blogs.

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  16. I worry about this too. I've put my blogs into folders for each day of the week for Google Reader, but I still miss some. In fact this month I've missed a LOT! It's been nuts.

    I guess I'm a J not matter what - so it won't affect me however you organize!! :)

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  17. The google reader is a mystery to me, but it sounds like I should be utilizing it!!! And great idea putting the person's name before the blog--I often forget who goes with which (though I'm sure Kristin Creative isn't a big issue for you ;)

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  18. Hah! Amandasaurus already starts with A. Win.

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  19. Dude, I'd never even thought about it that way. But you know what, it says a lot about you that you have. You've got a big heart, guy. It's why people keep coming back to yours, no matter where you fall on the alphabet.

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  20. I've often wondered how other bloggers decide which blogs to read each day. I guess I'm doomed if you start at the beginning of the alphabet or didn't care for the previous administration. "W" doesn't get much respect these days:)

    You're the first blogger I've seen from Arkansas, one of my husband's favorite states for rock hunting. That's how I'll remember to visit, besides adding your blog to my blog list. It's set up so the last (to post) shall be first (one read).

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  21. I wish you had an answer to give me! I struggle keeping up - sometimes I feel like it's taking over my life. I considering dropping down to M/W/F for a bit in February just to get some much needed work done!

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  22. I don't use Google reader either, so no problems there. I use the Blogger Dashboard, so things show up based on how recently they were posted. Not good either, since I end up not seeing posts that are over 12 hours old.
    Sigh. No great solutions here!

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  23. I'm gonna change my name to Aardvark now :) I don't ever use Google Reader, it's just too darn overwhelming. I make a list of my favorites and pop the links on my blog, but have been really bad at going through them lately.

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  24. I worry about not getting to everyone's blog too, Don...I just do the best I can. I start with who ever just commented on my post, then I go to my blogroll, then I go to my dashboard...I don't always start on A on my blogroll...I rotate it each time...sometimes I start at w (which is Wendy) or M which is Melissa....

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  25. Hi DL. I'm a new follower :) I've joined your (and Talli's) The Significant Other Blogfest and so looking forward to it.

    I'm the same...I don't know if the idea of the Google toolbar on my sidebar will work as I have a lot of favourite blogs that I follow. What I do is I go to my dashboard and click on each one of them, but you're right - the tendency is to miss some and in the end missing important posts. Maybe I'll try what you do.

    Have a nice Monday! (or is it still Sunday where you are?)

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  26. Don't sweat it, it's not worth the stress . . . :-)

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  27. Interesting idea, working backwards every so often (might have to try it). I do try to keep up with everyone, but it can be tough at times.

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  28. Ooo. . .not having Google reader I didn't know that. However, I have a similar problem. I use the list on my blogger dashboard and it lists posts in date/time order. So, if you post frequently or have just posted, I'm more likely to read your blog.

    I can't think of an answer to this problem, because I follow too many blogs to remember who I haven't visited for a while!

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  29. I like using Google reader. I do a better job at keeping up with my blog reading, most of the time. If I get a day or two behind, then all bets are off. Sometimes when I'm behind on my blog reading, I let the title of the blog post determine if I read it or not. I do think that people understand that you may not get to read every blog post, because of time constraints.

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  30. LOL! I just found your blog... if the rest are as entertaining as this one is, you'll have yourself another follower! Oh, and my name starts with a "C" so I'm just fine with starting at "A." ;)

    Happy Blogging! :D
    Corine

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  31. I don't usually get to comment more than one or two days a week now that I'm working. So, what I do is look for my last post that got the most comments, open all the windows, and read and comment on everyone's blog who commented on mine that week. Then I hit up 'my posse' if they weren't included. Then I hit 'the blog bosses' like EJ, L&L, SM, M&M, NB, Bookends, etc...

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  32. I could have written this post! I have blogs prioritized a bit in Reader, but with over 300 on the list, it's STILL hard to get to everyone. Normally I start at the top and work down...but then I feel bad that the end of the alphabet gets screwed, so I've started clicking on the folder name instead of the blog name and then I get posts in the order they were posted - and I feel like I'm a little more democratic that way.

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  33. I totally understand...I've been moderately "away" for the past two weeks. I'm finally trying to catch up but I have 1000+ new posts listed in Reader.

    Slow but sure...but at some point, I'm going to have to do a "mark as read" and move on.

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