Blog Posts: How many are too many?

Over 2007 I’ve noticed an interesting phenomena in the blogosphere: an increasing number of daily posts. Some people do “posts ‘o links” which are just a bunch of things they think are interesting and are non-posts as far as I’m concerned. Others do 3, 4 or 5 posts per day (e.g., Scoble, Chris Pirillo) and some do 10 or more per day (e.g., Treehugger, Mashable).

I read/skim them (and 157 other bloggers and 50 other feeds for roughly 1,500 articles per day) and have discovered I’m feeling increasingly fatigued by any of them individually. One or two meaningful posts are good….five or ten is overkill. Especially since most of the posts are metaphorically nice big hamburger buns but inside is a burger the size of a dime since they’re light on content (IMHO).

When does a blog move from a chronological series of event writings to a new magazine type of format? What is the optimal number of daily posts? Or is it quality vs. quantity? “Best of” or compilations of links are of little value to me or are the “feature of the day” sorts of posts. Let me know what you think…

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  1. HeavyLight on December 28, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    1,500 a day, Steve?
    I’m only averaging 10,000 a month and it’s driving me bonkers!

    So much repetition. So much infill between the posts I’d like to read and consider carefully.

    I’m thinking of dumping Mashable, Gizmodo and Wired Top Stories. Maybe even TechCrunch and Metafilter. And they all have interesting posts that might otherwise be missed.

    Surely these high-volume ‘magazine blogs’ can see the sense of providing sub-feeds for each primary tag? Or just a high-level ‘Best of the Best’ feed?

    Perhaps one of the next generation rss readers soon to be launched will manage to group all the posts that point to the same url so I can choose which review of Dave’s FlickrFan to read?

  2. Andrew on December 29, 2007 at 11:37 am

    I have wondered that myself, more from a writing point of view than a reading one.

    For reading I would much prefer a profound and well thought out piece each week, than look at that post ever day.

    Quality is most important to me.

  3. Amy Lenzo on December 29, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    More than one or two posts per day pretty much goes over my head – I’ll skim them but after a while it’s just too much to read.

    If the sum total isn’t great I just end up deleting them from my reading list altogether.

    My preference is definitely quality over quantity too.

  4. Ken Kennedy on December 30, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    Agreed, Steve. High quantities of low-content or linklist posts are making it harder and harder for me to manage even a few hundred RSS items per day; your skimming of 1,500 is way outa my league!!

    I much prefer high-quality blogs like yours, where I can pretty much rely on a post being worth reading. I’ve gotten more and more aggressive over the past year with pruning feeds that are overly market-droneish, low-content, or just piles of links to other posts with little comment. (Linklists with good commentary can actually provide a useful editorial service, but it’s relatively rare to find that…)

    I’ve switched to a model where I have relatively few of the large aggregator blogs in my feed; I’ve switched to picking the top sources that they link to and subscribing to them, especially if they are niche/personal blogs on subject matters I’m interested in. I get the “big blogosphere news” either from the source (if it’s from one of the people I sub to), or indirectly, via comments made by others. It’s working pretty well for me. (boingboing being the notable exception; I enjoy the post choices there so much that I’ve kept it. Though to be honest, it’s really not that bad, quantity-wise. Many of the high-post blogs are much worse).

    I periodically add themes for a short period; I have several more politics-heavy blogs in my feed than normal right now, for example. Once the primaries are over, I’ll drop most of them.

    But overall, I’m incredibly grateful for the widespread adoption of RSS; it’s invaluable in helping me quickly get to the meaty blogs referenced by others so that I can subscribe to them directly. It’s made management of the firehose of the blogosphere much easier, and allowed me to target my reading to my interests much more efficiently. (And also, kudos to Google Reader, which has become my bestest blogreading friend. Great stuff!) It’s amazing how much we can manage now.

  5. Anthony Stevens on January 3, 2008 at 9:06 am

    I have to disagree.

    One important user persona (to borrow the term from the Eisenbergs) is the daily RSS power user who reads 1,500 posts per day just to stay on top of everything. For those people, verbose output is as much of a hindrance as it is a help.

    However, another persona is the user doing research on a particular specific subject, well past the day when it’s news (example: a guy searching in 2009 for “FlickrFan”). In that case, the search engines will help find and rank all of the content , and the searcher can then make meaningful connections among the data.

    In that second case, daily verbosity by any one blogger is not a roadblock, since the searchers are digging straight into the archives, and not wading through a sea of RSS feeds.

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