Like Ping, until recently I was an outsider. I read blogs in a browser (yeuch!), keeping track of updates using only the crusty old technology of blo.gs. I had a system that I thought was pretty good — I’d open every blog that had updated since I last posted, read them all and then post something, clearing my cache. It worked, until everyone else in the world started a) using RSS readers, so they don’t bother to ping blo.gs anymore and b) saying such interesting stuff that my blogroll got too big to manage by this quaint little method.

So, when we returned from SXSW, I decided that I’d give Bloglines a whirl. [As an aside, I appear to be some sort of takeover thermometer -- I just recently started using both Bloglines & Flickr, then realised they'd both been bought up for ridiculous amounts. I'm not sure if I'm perpetually late to the party or possibly going to make an absolute fortune by noting these tendencies and betting on the market ;-) ]

Having played the feed-reader game for a little while, I have some observations:

  • It is really annoying when feeds only include summaries. Sites where before I would read every word of every entry, I am hardly looking at now because it’s so annoying to have to click through for sentence 2.
  • The corollary to the point above is that I now understand why so many sites have the annoying design “feature” where in the actual site you only get to see 2 lines of the entry. That’s not enough to decide whether or not to click the link and read it! Time is short. Googlebot might follow every link on your homepage, but people won’t. I think that with all the cool kids using RSS readers rather than browsers, even the site owners have probably missed how bloody annoying this is**
  • Bloglines should have an option that lets you see all the feeds available at a certain location. I’ve imported my subscriptions from blo.gs and sometimes it defaults to a snippets feed even when there’s a full-text feed available. I want an easier way to find these than to search individually
  • I find myself much less likely to comment if I’m not actually looking at the site itself. Do other people find this too?

** I have the utmost respect for all these people and I read them — they’re all on my blogroll. I only single them out because, let’s face it, they are the cool kids and if they’re screwing up where’s the hope for the rest of us?