Prune in June

Ben —  June 11, 2011 — 35 Comments

It’s not doubt there is this “community” of people who come to Ben Sayin’, and for whatever reason y’all keep coming back.

I appreciate it, thank you so much.

To think that there are other bloggers out there, similar to me gets me thinking about how YOU do things when it comes to your workflow. Outside of the writing portion as we talked about here, what about reading? I’ve been happy with using Google Reader because of the integration between any and all platforms I use, but I’ve also not really tried any others. What do you guys use?

As far as reading, subscribing, and pruning goes, here are 10 criteria that help me.

Here is my criteria when it comes to reading and subscribing:

  • If you comment on my blog, I see this as a direct invitation to visit yours.
  • If you engage with me on twitter, I’ll go check out whatever link is in your profile.
  • If I like what I read (ie: you’re funny, post often, and you’re relevant), I’ll subscribe
  • If I comment on your blog, and you respond to it, I’ll stick around.
  • If I know you in real life, I’ll also subscribe AND comment (just for fear of any awkward moments)

Here’s what helps me “prune” my subscriptions:

  • You’re not funny. Not that you try and aren’t, but that there’s no humor in any posts.
  • You don’t respond to any comments on your blog
  • You post once a month or less (unless you’re my wife, who gets a pass)
  • You don’t engage on twitter
  • You’re on blogger and you don’t have a good commenting system. I seriously loathe clicking  on “comment” and having it go to a separate page.

This isn’t a complete list by all means, but it’s something simple I’ve used that have helped me not get overwhelmed with the amount of #boomsauce bloggers out there.

What helps you decide to subscribe?

How do you prune your subscriptions?

35 responses to Prune in June

  1. Ben,

    I’m laughing to myself as I read this post because I was considering writing something similar. Like “Blogging Protocols 101: How I do it and what it means when I visit yours”! LOL!

    I rarely subscribe to blogs because I simply have a bookmarked folder with all the blogs I like and check them daily. I did subscribe to yours, however, and it is fun to check my email and see you there!

    I prune my blog reading based on similar aspects you listed above. The biggest measuring criteria I use is relevance. Is the blog really relevant or is it fluffy? How many spelling and grammatical errors can I find? Is the person writing to just write and make a name for themselves or do they genuinely care about their subject matter?

    I will add that I know many of the bloggers I follow use Standard Theme as their base. At first I liked it, but lately it seems very common place and almost generic. Sometimes they all look the same to me but with minor adjustments. Just sayin’. Nothing against Standard Theme, but it seems somewhat limited in scope and appearance.

  2. My sentiments exactly, Ben. It’s as if I wrote this myself.

    I also agree with Donald about spelling and grammar. If there are regular spelling and grammar errors on a blog, to me it’s the visual equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. Other things that tend to turn me off are the use of colored fonts, excess use of all caps and the use. of. one. word. sentences. for. effect. For some reason those things just drive me crazy.

    • Larry,

      Why u be hatin’? Sew i can’t spell grate, that dont mean I am stoopid or unimportant.

      LOL! The best part is reading an AP story or some article from a “world-class journalistic medium”, and I find grammatical and spelling errors. Don’t these people have editors?

    • I used to be the same, but as of late my spellelenig has been slipping. My wife gives me a quick “hey, you spelled ‘whatsitcalled'” every now and again, but most of the time I don’t find it until weeks later. *sigh*
      I’m. Getting. Old.

      • Something else:

        The usage of the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ and ‘love’. We consistently misuse these words. To me, these are covenant words and not to be taken lightly.

        “I always pray in the morning!”

        “You never tell me anything!”

        “I love me some pizza!”


        How can we expect these words to have relevance when bantered about so casually?

        • Speaking in absolutes, is what I think it’s referred to, right? This is the same in marriage-speak as well “You always”
          “I never”

          It’s tough to keep aware of how we speak because it’s such a big part of our culture, I mean I NEVER have a hard time not speaking like this and I ALWAYS make sure to pay attention to the absolutes, and I just LOVE it when people struggle, because I don’t…


  3. I subscribe to way to many blogs (Reeder is my reader of choice). I end up “marking all as read” way too many times though.

    I use a lot of the same criteria that you have above. Almost identical, in fact. 🙂

    • I used to feel guilty for hitting that “mark all as read” button, weird huh…

    • I still subscribe to a ton of blogs but this is what I’ve done.

      I created a folder called “Can’t Miss”. I narrowed my very most favorite blogs into this folder. There’s only like 10 blogs in there. I read those EVERY day. I never miss them.

      Everything else, I give myself grace. That’s the only way I can keep up with what I really want to read and not drive myself insane.

  4. I cheat, I loaded ieSpell on the laptop, so I can right click and get a spell check on any text entry box accessed via IE. But sometimes I forget to do it. I know, I know, a tech guy using IE?!

    I don’t subscribe to blogs because I don’t want the extra email, instead I put the ones I am interested in on my feedburner blog links. I can then hit my own blog and see the current posts for all of those blogs down the right side. Quirky I guess, but it works for me.

    And now I am a top commenter, cool.

  5. I’m a google reader guy for sure. Love using it on my iPhone and everything else. I thinned mine out too. But I did it based on whether or not I thought they were interesting.

  6. Content is huge for me – it really is the deciding factor on whether I subscribe or not. There are plenty of people whose blogs I follow, but who don’t comment back on mine merely because I like their content.

    Plus I try to limit the blogs I read, so I’m not spending so much time reading and not doing other, more important things, so I take that into account before I subscribe, too.

    • Yeah I’m with you on that too, some blogs I keep in my reader solely ’cause they’re an influential leader and their content is stout.

      Limiting blogs for reading vs time spent with other, more important things is huge, but I tend to “subscribe now, prune later.”

  7. I am subscribed to lots of blogs. Some get a read but no comments, most I’m active on. You have to at least be willing to try. Don’t give me a one paragraph blog post that reads as if the blogger put it there because he had to, not because he wanted to. It’s funny how these things are made evident in the writing.

    I have a handful of blogs that I read ALL the time, because I have built relationships with those bloggers and they write good. I also want to be challenged, entertained and even angered. Hit me with some emotion.

    By the way, BenSayin is on the top of my RSS reader, right under my favorite mullet blog (don’t judge me)

    • You’re Superman when it comes to social media/commenting, seriously how do you do it?!

      Now, I’m curious as to which mullet blog is at the top…

      • I don’t know about “Superman” but I try hard. I have a workflow. I activated “notes” on Reeder (RSS Reader app) and while commuting to and from work, I read posts and write comments on that app notes. They don’t actually make it to the actual posts until a time I schedule on my calendar.

        It’s not a perfect system, but it works. I live and die by my calendar, so that’s where it all lives.

        *also, I’m from New York, capital of multitasking.

  8. I subscribe to blogs to people who have similar interests and those who take the time to comment on my blog.

    I usually prune my subscriptions every six months or so. I usually know by then which blogs I am really enjoying and ones I am just skipping over in my reader.

  9. I read posts that aren’t too long and keep me engaged. A short, boring post guarantees I won’t be back. I don’t subscribe technically, but I do get all the new posts in my inbox at work through Outlook. I don’t really know how that shows up on a bloggers stats for subscribers.

    • Lengthy posts are tough for me, I have a difficult time enough as it is reading books because of my attention span, let alone blog posts that are over 500 words.

      I think stat-wise subscribing into outlook as a reader shows up as “Windows RSS Platform” but I’m not 100% sure on that.

  10. whew! glad I responded to your last comment! I don’t filter. I subscribe to everyone and then just read as many as I can until I feel overwhelmed and then I mark all as read!

    • The overwhelming feeling is what I’m trying to avoid, because a little piece of my bloggers heart dies when I hit mark all as read. I know, it’s terrible.

  11. This is a great list. I know personally that my posts are far from funny. That’s on purpose. Usually when I try to be funny in a planned way, I bomb. I use my comments to be silly and humorous. It’s more off the cuff and natural for me.

    I have to prune on a regular basis. It sucks but there are just too many awesome people and not enough time to possibly read everyone.

    I need to find a job where I can read blogs full time and get paid tens upon thousands of dollars.

  12. Aww man, I try really hard, but I miss some of your criteria. Oh well, I’ll keep coming to your blog anyway! lol

  13. That’s a great list Ben. I have gotten into the trap of having too many blogs to read and had to prune. I try to start by looking at how many blog posts I have starred. A blog with zero stars is going to get cut quick, even it’s one that came highly recommended. I need blogs that are influencing me, not simply good reads. The other criteria follows the same general guidelines that you have laid out.
    Happy pruning!

    • So wait, how does one accumulate more stars? I was always the kid with tons of stars in grade school, I must get the stars!!!

  14. This is honestly a great post for me…. you talked about a lot of stuff I’ve never considered. Then with all the comments about what other people do… this is golden!! I need to be more diligent in a bunch of areas, but I’m inspired! Thanks.

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