Is blog-reading worth the effort?

With a new semester about to start, I’m trying to work out what is going to fall by the wayside as I make time to do more reading and writing (and learning Greek) than in past semesters. An obvious candidate for the cull is blog-reading – the fact that I’m not familiar with how mch time I spend on this hobby is proof in itself that I should examine it more closely.

Timely, then, was this week’s Alertbox article (some would say a blog post) from (web usability guru) Jakob Nielsen entitled Write Articles, Not Blog Postings. Nielsen argues that to maintain your reputation as an expert, you need to publish articles that have some substance to them. Even the best expert has an off day, he says, and this will put your average post lower in the hierarchy of posts than your skill deserves.

Obviously, this has called a lot of upset amongst bloggers, who see him devaluing their contributions to the world. Mark (on Jakob) spends time explaining why his methods are flawed.

Maybe I’m not a big enough fan of reading, but it struck me that there are too many items on this list – 55 Essential Articles Every Serious Blogger Should Read. Do I really need to read 55 different articles? Why can’t somebody just write a book, or a few whitepapers, so I can digest the information more easily?

I think there’s something to be said for not using blogs as a source of substantial information: they’re perhaps more for entertainment, or diversion. The trouble in using blogs for substantial information? The number of posts you have to read to be learn anything substantial.

Bloggers make their money by having people click on ads, and blog readers prefer not to spend too much time reading any one article, and so the content ends up drastically fragmented.

Are you reading blogs as a break from reality? Is there some other reason to read them (apart from the idea of keeping up with friends)?

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2 Comments

  1. Is reading friends blogs an idea or reality. I love to read what’s happening in the life of…… I feel a little bit closer and informed when I do, without the pressure of having special times allotted for just keeping up to date.

  2. Guilty secret: I mostly read blogs as entertainment, and when I get too busy, I neglect my reading list for a while.

    When I try to make blog reading a structured part of my work day, I quickly start to hate it. If I read what I feel like, when I feel like (even if it means neglecting some ‘important’ fashion blogs) it’s fun… and I spend much more time on it.

    Just my 2c 🙂

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