Anytime you have to go without something, you have the chance to discover what it really means to you. Most of the time, you learn that you've been taking something or someone for granted, as when you're away from your spouse or children. Other times you find out that something you thought was indispensable to your everyday life is less so, such as television or the world wide web.
Having limited internet access for the past week has led me to question the value of blogs. Not blogs in general, for writing and reading blogs is a significant part of my life, but the number of blogs I read.
I currently subscribe to just over 100 feeds. Many of you see that number and are dumbfounded as to how anyone could read more than 20 blogs at a time. A small number of you see that number and wonder how I can survive without the 100, 200, 500, or 1,000 other feeds you're reading!
After the third day without my fix (it is, without a doubt, an addiction) I started to ask myself what was I really missing? I still felt intelligent and creative. Dinner table conversations were still endlessly fascinating (well, those weren't my family's exact words, but you get the idea). When we found a cafe with free wireless, I knew I'd have a few minutes to catch up. Which feeds would I read in my limited time? And why do I need the others?
I finally settled on five. What if I could only subscribe to five blogs? My newsreader of choice, NetNewsWire, allows you to flag items to read later. This is like browsing through 150 articles a day and creating your own magazine out of the 10-15 you want to read. I've been watching my sorted list of saved items recently and found that they were consistently from the same sources. I spent some time thinking about it and came up with these.
My 5 Essential Blogs
Now, these are my personal choices only and not a general "Everyone Should Read These Five Blogs!" proclamation. And, of course, it eliminates many excellent blogs that I benefit from every day.
But these are the five that bring me the most consistent value and entertainment. Each site meets Scoble's rule for what makes the best bloggers - they are passionate and authoritative.
Will my subscription list soon reach five? No. There are too many other voices I don't want to miss. My list is going to continue to shrink, however. In the last week, it has gone from 108 to 75 and is falling fast. I'm going to have to pass on the good, and focus my time on the great.
If you could only read 5 blogs, what would they be?