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The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life [1]: Blog Love

simplifies-life-2017

In case you missed my Introductory Post, my world was in such an upheaval that I was forced to take drastic measures by simplifying and organizing all the things that caused me stress. Each month, in 2017, I’m tackling different aspects of my life that are clutter-stressors by organizing and altering them into things that bring me joy.

January 2017: Blog Love

The first order of business in my goal to simplify life in 2017 (i.e. January’s goal) was to take control of my blogging experience. Before I dive into my observations, here’s a relevant side story: I have this really fun karaoke singing app called Smule Sing, which I’ve been on for about a year and a half now. At one point I followed over 400 people, which caused me to wade through hundreds of open calls every day just to find ones from my favorite singers. One night I got fed up and started paring down the list until I was following only my favorites, and it was the best thing I could have done. Now every time I log in, I only have about 5 to 20 quality open calls to scroll through rather than hundreds of miscellaneous ones, which allows me to spend more time singing and less time scrolling. That’s when the epiphany struck – I wondered how much more satisfying my blogging experience would be if I applied the same tactic.

I love reading other people’s posts, but find the endlessly scrolling process incredibly frustrating. I couldn’t tell you the last time I logged on to my wordpress reader and actually enjoyed looking through the feed (heck, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I logged on). Only after my Smule Sing experience did I realize what my problem was. I thought it was just laziness or a lack of interest, but discovered following too many people makes it impossible to pay attention to and even differentiate between all the blogs. It was time to clean house! So I took a closer look at who I was following, and here’s what I discovered:

  • Of all the blogs I was following, I only recognized about 20%.
  • 75% of the unrecognized blogs were guilt-follows.
  • I was only genuinely interested in the content of about 10%.
  • 15% of the blogs I was following don’t exist anymore.
  • Another 30% hadn’t posted anything new for at least two years.
  • Most importantly, I had built and maintained genuine relationships with only about 5%.

That’s not the blogging experience I signed up for.

Over the last several months, I’ve been successfully surrounding myself with an amazing community of readers on Goodreads. To be a part of such a supportive, group of people who love the same books I do has been amazing. It’s the type of feeling I’m hoping to also nurture with my fellow bloggers and I have just the plan to make that happen.

You see, by paring down the number of blogs I follow to a more manageable number, not only will it be more fun and rewarding to log on to the reader every few days and see what my favorites have been posting, but I now know exactly who’s posting what and can start becoming an active blog buddy (and don’t worry, if I’ve already been a half-assed blog buddy by commenting on your blog more than once in the last 6 months, we’re still buds). I am certain I will add more blogs in the future, but I’m definitely going to take care to add only those I’m prepared to interact with. I vowed after this process to never guilt-follow again… that’s how I get into trouble and I hate how disingenuous it makes me feel. Once I get used to my new system, I can slowly start adding more blogs. My starting point is 40 blogs (pared down from 150).

The moral of the story is, I want to be a good blog buddy, decrease my stress by organizing and decluttering, and improve my overall blogging experience. I think I’ve accomplished all three.

Project Status: Blog Love Simplified!

by Niki Hawkes

20 comments on “The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life [1]: Blog Love

  1. Good for you! Guilt following is just bad and never leads to anything good. When I became active here at wordpress last fall I made the resolution to NOT follow back everyone who followed me, just those whose posts interested me. I also don’t expect everyone I follow to follow me back. I follow people because I think THEY and THEIR posts are fun, not because I want them to stroke my ego on my blog :-D

    I have found for me that 75 is the TOP number of people that I can interact with and keep separate and that is pushing it. 60 is more realistic for me. I also search out new people because I constantly weed out my followed list. People who don’t post at least once every 3 weeks are gone. Another benchmark for me is if I’m constantly liking AND commenting on someone’s posts and they never respond to my comments, then after a month I drop them. They obviously don’t want me around :-)

    So once again, good for you for realizing all that you did AND acting upon it!

    • Thank you! I really appreciate the support! You’re so smart to have established that early on – I wish I had taken the time. I especially like your point that I don’t expect others to follow me just because I followed them. It puts things in perspective and makes me feel less guilty haha. Those are also really good benchmarks. I’m not certain how many I’ll be able to handle, but hopefully I won’t be finding out anytime soon if I stick to my convictions lol.

  2. Good job! I imagine that took some time, but it sounds like it was totally worth it. Life has enough stress without our book-blogging lives becoming stressful, too!

  3. I should do this…I follow a lot of duplicate blogs between my WordPress Reader and Bloglovin’ so I see the same posts multiple times. And that gets a little boring and a little annoying.

    I thought I had the opposite problem: that I need more blogs to follow. I’m finding myself scrolling and not always finding something to read…I should go through my following list and see.

    • I bet that does get annoying! I had similar issues between emailed posts and bloglovin, so I can relate.
      I’d be very interested to hear what you discover. Paring down means that the posts I see are usually quality, but at the moment there are at most about 10 per day, which is a lot more manageable for me at the moment. I have been really loving Goodreads for that endless scrolling gratification lately.

  4. I love Goodreads (after all, thanks to them we also connected on our blogs!) and as much as I enjoy blogging and networking through wordpress, there is also something special about the GR experience. I love how easy it is for readers to share their thoughts on there, and recommend books to others.

    And I totally understand your need to clean up your follow list. I use Feedly to follow blogs myself, I just find it easier to organize which sites I’m reading and I don’t like subs that send alerts to my email because I get enough of those already. Might be worth a look.

    • Yes – Goodreads strikes again!! It’s definitely my favorite venue for book socializing. The peeps I have on there inspired this transition for me. I love the community!
      And thank you for the tip! I haven’t heard of Feedly, but anything that helps reduce the number of emails I get is golden. Totally worth a look! :)

  5. Hmm, yes. I recognise my former self in this. Like you, I followed a LOT of blogs (I also spent a hell’va lot of time commenting on them and reading them) and it got to the point where it was too much and I didn’t want to open my feed because it was overwhelming.

    I think it’s good to have a blog spring clean occasionally – to reassess, re-centre and get down to the bare bones of what brings you enjoyment in the blogosphere or it can start to weigh you down. Like you, I ended up unfollowing a lot of blogs – most of which weren’t even active anymore! I felt a lot better afterward.

    I’ll try not to be offended if you unfollow me. ;)

    • First of all, you should know that you are solidly in the “blog buddy” category and there was no question in my mind about keeping you around. ;)
      Honestly I always wondered how you kept up on all of it. It seemed like you were really blog social and it seems a tad… exhausting? Not that I’m complaining when I was the one kept in the loop haha.
      Cleaning house brought me a lot of guilt, but it also felt oddly liberating. And things are so much better! I think I’ve commented more on other blogs in the past two weeks than in the entirety of 2016. The moral of the story is that I’m liking it so far haha.

      • Hurrah! Well that’s good to know. :P

        Yeah, don’t get me wrong, I got SO much enjoyment out of it at the time and came across some really great bloggers doing it. But I couldn’t keep it up forever, it was a lot of effort. And now that I work so much I only have time to catch up with my faves. Harsh, but true!

        I got that too, no one likes the feeling of being unfollowed after all. :/ Ultimately, though, you have to put your blogging enjoyment first. It is a hobby after all!

        I’m glad your enjoying it more now. :)

      • I can see how it would be a lot of fun, now that I am starting to get in the swing of things. :) what type of work are you doing these days?
        Yeah it’s an icky feeling. Now that I have a system down, though, I bet I’ll eventually be able to follow more than I was before haha. It will just be conscious and deliberate this time. :)

      • At the moment I’m a receptionist at a hotel, also filling in on bar/restaurant duties when needed. I have to say, if you need writing inspiration it’s a definite career path to consider, you get SO many wacky scenarios and weird characters!
        Not sure how much longer I’ll be there, though. We’ve had ongoing understaffing issues and I’m getting rather fed up with the insane hours.

        I’m sure you will. :) I look forward to seeing you around more!

      • Haha between hotel work and the restaurant world I bet you get your fair share of wackos lol. Isn’t working with the public grand? It sounds like you’re super busy! Hope things slow down for you soon. :) and you’ll definitely see me around more.

  6. Pingback: Top Ten Things I Look For In a Blog! | The Obsessive Bookseller

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