Why Organize Google Reader?

If you’re like me, Google Reader (or some other blog-reading platform) is a lifesaver. I currently subscribe to 605 blogs, which is down from an all-time high of 728. A friend who isn’t yet into blogging asked me if I read them all every day. God, no. For me, that’s not what blogging is about. For me, the purpose is to build my online network. It’s equivalent to my online Rolodex.

Because I’ve made so many connections, there needs to be some organization to them, or what I’ve painstakingly collected over the past 18 months is about as worthless as trying to find a tiny gold coin in a pile of straw.

Or maybe I should say a pile of gold—blogs really are a treasure chest full of intelligent, informative, freely-given, golden thoughts—but you know what I mean. Sometimes we’re looking for a specific coin with a specific date stamp and location on it. That’s why we need to be organized about it.

So, in Google Reader, I’ve slotted my gold into 22 different file categories. It not only makes finding specific categories of blogs easier, but it also automatically prioritizes my reading. For me, that is the golden key.

I work full time, and I try to write for 15 hours each week, besides having a life brimming with grown kids, grandkids and friends. No week goes by when I’m not going out to dinner or a movie with friends, going to writerly groups and conventions, celebrating holidays and birthdays with family, flying somewhere with my husband, or simply babysitting the grandkids. My cup runneth over.

But like everything you want to do in life, if it’s important enough, you will find time to do it. It’s about priorities. Of my 600+ blog subscriptions, I read only about 10% with any regularity. Because they’re categorized in Google Reader, I can scroll through the folders speedily. In any given week, if pressed for time (and when am I not?), I probably won’t look in many of the folders. Some, I almost never do. But it's there, at the ready, when I need information.

If I want to comment on someone’s post, it’s so easy to drop in on them via Google Reader. If I haven’t kept up with someone for a while, I can always scroll backwards in the reader and catch up on everything they’ve written, if I so desire, since their very first blog post. When I as first blogging, and I had absolutely no idea what blogging was all about, I actually did that with a couple of blogs.

For my friend who is thinking about setting up a blog but doesn’t know what to write, it’s often instructive to see the progress of someone’s blog. It’s interesting to see what was on their mind at the beginning and what’s on it, now. It’s exciting to watch their stepwise progress toward publication.

So, this post has run on long enough. I'm adamantly opposed to long blog posts. Who has time to read them? So, next post, I’ll begin to show you the categories I’ve split my blogging Rolodex into.

From many of them, over the next several weeks, I'll create separate posts highlighting what I consider the Top Ten in each ... Or maybe the Top Twenty.


  1. Great article.
    I did this a while back, and though it could still use a bit more organizing, it's helped a lot.

  2. Me too! During the A-Z challenge I created a folder just for the A-Zer's. This month I going though them, getting to know the real blogger, and then moving them into their permanent folders. :)

  3. I really need to do this with my Reader contents! Right now mine is an insane LISSSST...

  4. oooohhh a nasty list i have as well, about the same number as you 600+

    I rarely go into google reader though. I know it is such a mess at the moment i won't make head or tail of it.

    I must clean it out one day and categorize. I am a categorizing freak.

    In the meantime i have a blogroll on my blog that is called Daily favourites. I check in there when i have a second and can read the posts in order of most recent first.

    I wish i had the time (or rather patience) to do the google reader one. I will some day.

    Great post


  5. The timing is perfect since I just looked at my Google reader and thought to myself, "I wonder if I can manage this better?" I look forward to your future posts on this topic because any organization is better than what I have now!

  6. I've had some trouble organizing Google Reader, but I am now inspired to go try again! Thanks for the informative post!

  7. Hmmm - I don't really understand google reader - can see it would be a useful tool if I could just get my head around it!

  8. I look forward to your take on organizing Google Reader. I know I should find the time, but so far I haven't. I wish there were more hours in my blogging day!

  9. thanks. i was feeling overwhelmed today with all the new blogs i found thru a-z and the old ones i don't read anymore. i'll have to try this.

  10. This is good information as I didn't even know I could organize them into folders. Yep. That's how google-reader-smart I am. Thanks!


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