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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Google Reader & the Comment Dilemma

I love Google Reader for it's organizational capabilities. It's so easy to keep up-to-date on all the blogs I like to read. At the same time I also hate it.

I used to read each blog on my list by actually clicking over to the blogger's site and scrolling through the posts. By doing that I could see which posts generated the most comments and occasionally learn something new and interesting by following the discussion in the comment section. Yes, I'm one of those bloggers who really does read through all the comments below each post.

Now that I'm using Google Reader I only click over to posts that I want to comment on. That means I'm missing out on all the good comment discussions and it's depressing me. I feel like part of what I love about blog reading is gone. Of course I realize that I could still click over to each post but then what is the purpose of having a handy Reader?

Anyone else in this situation or am I alone in the blogosphere?

27 comments:

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I do agree, that is something I miss being self-hosted via wordpress now, rather than being ON wordpress (wordpress has almost like a feed where you can follow all responses to all comments you have made).

However, you could click through to everything and still have a justification for the reader. The justification would be that the reader shows you when there are posts on the blogs you follow.

grayskyeyes said...

I agree with you, I still haven't decided how I feel about Google Reader. On the one side, it works really well for the Weekly Geeks feed that Natasha at Maw Books created -- I like being able to just click through and find posts that I want to read, especially on blogs I don't read that often.

But, for the blogs on my blogroll that I like to look at regularly, I like to read comments and stuff too, which Google Reader isn't very good at. Plus, there is something sort of exciting about going down my favorites list to each blog, seeing the cool colors and design of each one, and getting to see if there are new posts. Maybe I'll keep using Google Reader for Weekly Geeks, but go back to scrolling through a favorites list for the rest? I'm not sure yet!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

Amanda said...

I totally agree. I love the organizaton and easy scroll through the blogs...but I do miss out on the individuality of each person's site. Also, sometimes formatting is off or photos don't show up with the Reader. Hmmmm...

Amanda said...

I totally agree. I love the organizaton and easy scroll through the blogs...but I do miss out on the individuality of each person's site. Also, sometimes formatting is off or photos don't show up with the Reader. Hmmmm...

Florinda said...

I've always relied on Google Reader - it's like call-screening. I'm fine with just clicking through when I want to comment on a post. Then again, I guess I need the screening because I subscribe to so many blog feeds :-)!

Some bloggers encourage the click-through by just setting a partial feed, but I am NOT a fan of those.

Chris said...

Yeah, there are pros and cons. Since I'm just starting my blog, I'd rather let people have the opportunity to see my whole site, rather than just a single part of it. For instance, I did a poll recently that doesn't show up in Google Reader. I think it's a good thing for people who subscribe to tons of blogs, but not necessarily for the blog writers themselves.

Also, I have a question. If you use sitetracker and someone accesses your blog via Google Reader, will it count as a visit?

Literary Feline said...

I also use Google Reader and like, Florinda, I subscribe to so many feeds that it's much more practical for me. Like you however, I do enjoy reading through the comments and I sometimes miss that. I often star blog posts I'm particularly interested in following the comments in so I can go back to it--whether I comment or not myself. I also use a feature called Commentful which lets me know when new comments are left on specified blogs that don't automatically offer that feature.

Echloe said...

Nope. I just scroll through every blog that is on my roll and read all the comments too.

ICLW

Binary Blonde said...

Dropping by from ICLW - I've been using Google Reader since it was released and I find myself doing the same thing - just clicking on the posts that I want to comment on.

Though, sometimes, if I have some extra time, I'll read through the rest of the most recent posts, along with the comments.

Shanez said...

I do it the good old click on the links....I never even heard of google reader.....I swear I don't live in the dark ages.


ICLW

Rebecca Reid said...

I love Google Reader because then I don't have to be distracted by the blog design. I guess that sounds horrible, but I find some very hard to read. It distracts me from the reviews.

As for the comments, if it's something I'm interested in, I'll comment and subscribe to comments so I can follow the discussion. I guess I have too many blogs in my blogroll these days (100+) to follow every post.

So I guess I'm the opposite of the person who's "never heard of Google Reader." I couldn't read blogs with out something like that! Too much time wasted clicking from blog to blog and not spent reading posts.

Heather J. said...

Thanks for all the input folks!

I do star the posts that I want to check back on ... usually ones that have a great comment discussion going on.

At the same time, I enjoy SEEING the actual blogs - the colors, designs, etc. My mind links up each specific design with the person who write that blog, so when I visit the actual site I remember previous posts and things about the writer. When using google reader I often don't even notice who wrote the post and I hate that.

I appreciate all the comments - still not sure what I'm going to do though ...

Amy said...

I use google reader, but it is definitely the enemy of the community aspect of blogging. I still go visit my most favorite blogs, but I subscribe to around 300 so it's impossible to visit them all. Visit your most favorite blogs manually and keep up with the rest via the reader. ;)

Trish said...

Ha ha! I have a love/hate relationship with my reader as well. I love it because I feel like I don't miss anything like I used to (usually I can't blog every day), but now I can't keep up with all of the posts that I want to comment on and I DO know what I'm missing.

I love the follow-up comment feature for blogger--I hated having to go back to the blog to see if someone responded. However, other than conversations with individuals, I've noticed that running commentary between several bloggers isn't what it used to be. I admit I used to read all the comments but now just don't have the time to (so I'm probably repeating what's already been said). :)

Kymberli said...

Google Reader is okay for a quick check-in, but I often go directly to the blogs. It feels more personal that way.

Here from ICLW!

Jill said...

Here from ICLW!

I TOTALLY get what you mean! I probably could have written this post myself.

Happy Anniversary!

Cassandra said...

Here from ICLW...

I use Google Reader all the time. I find it particularly helpful for the following:
--Websites with a lot of content (20+ posts a day), so that I can scan over each day's posts in list view and just read the few that interest me
--Blogs and photo websites of friends who post very infrequently, like once a week or less (even less than once a month). Before Reader, I would always forget to check their blogs because they posted so little, and when I did usually it was a wasted trip because there was nothing new
--My own blog, to make sure everything posted okay and to give it a second read-through

Before ICLW and starting my own blog, I never left any blog comments, so I don't have a good answer for you on that one yet.

Julie said...

I use Bloglines and I feel the same way. I am able to keep up with a lot more blogs than I would otherwise be able to, but I usually only click through when I want to leave a comment. It definitely decreases the community feel. I think I also skim through the posts faster than I would if I were on the site.

Nan said...

I think that I am the one who is alone in the blogosphere. :<) I don't use googlereader or bloglines. And I don't even have comments emailed to me. I just say, oh, I want to go visit Heather this morning or evening, and I do. I may not visit everyone everyday, but I do think about people, and when I visit, I read the back posts as well.

trish said...

Did you know that in addition to subscribing to a site's posts, you can subscribe to a site's comments? It might seem overwhelming to do that, but it would be very quick if you don't have 100+ blogs you follow. :D

sheistoofondofbooks said...

I started using Google Reader a few weeks ago, and I too am on the fence about it.

I find it very slow to load the blogs, and I miss the "personal touch" of seeing everyone's headers, etc. And, yes, having to open a new window to see comments just slows things down further.

It is so easy to add a new subscription, though. And there are several blogs that I visit "directly" instead of through the Reader.

This is a good example of an interesting "conversation" in the Comments!

Heather J. said...

WOW! This post has generated a TON of comments. Thanks to all of you for sharing your opinions. :)

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I honestly don't know how I could blog without Google Reader. I started using it as soon as I started blogging so honestly I'm not sure how people even get along without it. There are a lot of things about Google Reader that I like that a lot of other people have mentioned already. Seeing all their posts together, knowing when updated, being able to search their blog (I refuse to navigate somebody's blog through their own site), not being bogged down with design, etc.

You can subscribe to comments through a reader, so if I really want to get in on the entire conversation, then I'll do that. I do like it when while in the reader it shows how many comments have already been left. It does entice me to click over. Honestly, I'd love to add this to my feed, but am not sure how to do it.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

After I left my last comment, I was doing some more browsing through my Google Reader and found this article that just came out by one of my favorite "blogging tips" authors:

http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/power-blogging-tips-comment-on-blogs-from-within-google-feed-reader/

It sounds really interesting and promising. As soon as my new laptop comes in, I'll be looking into installing this one and seeing what it does. Hmm . . given the topic of this post, do you think anybody will "stay in the conversation" and notice the link?

Rebecca Reid said...

Hey Natasha, I saw the link! I'm subscribed to comments. FYI, I added the comment count by adding my feed to feedburner; lots of options through that.

Heather J. said...

Natasha - thanks for the great link! This would be the perfect solution to my problem ... but it doesn't work. :( I followed the instructions to download the script but when I tried to open/run it, I got an error. Ugh.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Heather - Yeah, I got an error as well when I just tried. Sounds promising, if it would work.

Rebecca - My feed is a feedburner feed, I'll have to go in and look at the options more closely. Thanks!

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