26 February 2013

So many blogs, too little time -- what is a genealogist and family historian to do?

source: http://chinadivide.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/too-many-china-blogs-530x353.jpg

Every day I see Thomas MacEntee (via his FB page) post about new genealogy-related blogs and also about the anniversaries of existing blogs and know that I will probably never read most of them (guilt aside there are only so many hours in the day).  Geneabloggers itself has a roll of over 3000 (and counting) genealogy and family history-related blogs!

Needless to say, there is no way any one person can read all of these blogs or even a fraction of them.  And, the above list doesn’t even include the non-genealogy blogs you also subscribe to.  After all, you do have a life beyond genealogy, right?

One series of techniques that I use is ... 
  • I either sign up to get e-mails as a blog entry is posted (ideally I can sign up for a digest mode where I get one e-mail a day regardless of how many posts) or I use a service like Yahoo!Alerts (previously mentioned in an Upfront with NGS post), or, I see if this particular blog has a Facebook (FB) presence.  For the latter, for example, I see all of Thomas MacEntee and Dear Myrtle’s posts via FB.  If something strikes my fancy, I then e-mail myself what they posted with a headline that will be picked up by my e-mail rules tool (see below).
  • Once I had “all” the blog feeds that interest me set up to be e-mailed to me, my next step was to create “rules” in my e-mail software (I use Outlook).  I flagged both specific e-mail address, keywords, etc and created a rule where any genealogy-related newsletter or blog post feed ended up in a folder called “Genealogy Newsletters.”
  • Oncee a day (well, sometimes once a week), I then go into that folder and I sort the entries by “author” and then chronologically.  This way I will see say all of Dick Eastman’s blog posts together and in order, Kimberly Powells About.com posts, etc.  I do this because a certain amount of news is repeated by several sources in any given day.  It’s pretty easy to spot which “stories” were posted across several blogs and then I will ignore subsequent references to that topic.
  • Periodically, I realize that the posts I get from source B are repeating the information I get from source A and I will then unsubscribe (or delete my Yahoo!Alert) source B.  Other times, I learn about a new blog and then subscribe to its feed.

This is one way that I try to keep some “control” over so many blogs and so little time to read them.

Want more ideas or just to feel good about what you don’t end up reading, check-out I Read Too Many Blogs; How Can I Get Through Them All? on lifehacker.

Do you have a tip to share on how you manage what, when and how you read from blogs?

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  1. I follow over 200 blogs using RSS feeds sent to Google Reader, sorted into categories so I can breeze through some categories where I just want to see the headlines. I also have Reader on my iPhone so I can read a couple of posts when I have a couple of minutes throughout the day. It works for me.

  2. Wordpress also has a very nice reader. I follow all my blogs this way. Anytime I have a few minutes I read whatever has popped up. I think I'm following about 100 blogs.

  3. I think this is very common problem -- and getting more difficult with every passing day as Diane notes based on Thomas MacEntee's documentation of the explosion of genealogy blogs. I am new to the genealogy blogosphere and I am still building my personal "library" of the blogs I want to follow, but I often find myself wishing there were a dedicated search engine for searching the universe of the material posted on all the blogs Geneabloggers has identified. Is there such a critter out there already??

  4. Great question John ... does Mocavo, http://www.mocavo.com/, include the genealogy blogs in addition to other types of genealogy websites?

  5. There's a search engine for genealogy blogs on the Geneabloggers website. Give it a try: http://geneabloggers.com/search-geneablogger-member-blogs/

    And keep an eye on the specific categories of genealogy blogs that interest you most - in my case, usually Canadian: http://geneabloggers.com/genealogy-blogs-type/

    I do use Reader on my phone, but for on the go reading, I love Pocket! http://getpocket.com