Every now and then, I like to look at my Google Reader account and take a big-picture view of what I’m reading. Sometimes I notice surprising trends in my own behavior that I don’t notice on a day to day basis.
Google Reader’s “Trends” view shows me a pretty detailed report of everything I’m subscribed to and what I do with that content. As you can see from the message above, Google says I read 6,584 items last month. I’m not exactly sure what they mean by read. Technically, I scroll through every last item I have (I almost never mark multiple posts as “read”), so I wonder if Google counts a “read” by a certain amount of time spent on that post before moving on to the next one. In any case, I began starring those posts that I actually read so I could use the ‘starred’ report to discern trends in my actual reading. While that approach is helpful, I also think that looking at what posts I share is another indicator of what I think is important enough to pass on to other people. Below is the list of the top twenty blogs I share the most:
Another interesting thing to look at is the update frequency among blogs you subscribe to. If you look at this top ten (below), it’s actually pretty shocking. I can’t imagine posting 14 blog posts a day (I’m ignoring Slashdot since it’s run by a large group of people), which is political blogger Matthew Yglesias’s average. Well, he does do that for a living… Of course, the most frequently updated blogs are not necessarily my favorites. Design Notes by Michael Surtees is one that I look forward to often, perhaps because his average is below 1 post per day, but those posts are always high quality and thought-provoking- which is why I tend to share them so often. This is worth thinking about when figuring out just how often you want to post as a blogger. Is more always better? I’m not so sure.
Finally, below is the trends report that shows when I tend to read through my RSS feeds most often. I like to do this first thing in the morning when I get to the office- interestingly, this does not line up with when most items are actually posted. Makes sense- who’s blogging at 7-8am?