In tradition cosmology, the idea was that if the universe has too little mass, the expansion will stop and it will start contracting again. If ev everything is perfectly balanced then it will stop at just the right size and neither grow nor shrink. And if the mass is larger than that, it will continue to grow forever, eventually approaching a point where the average density is zero.
I think something similar is at play in my blogroll. Maybe in yours too.
At the beginning, my blogroll actually went through expansion and contraction phases as I discovered new blogs and removed others. This was probably when it somewhere between 50 and 75 feeds.
But once I crossed over that boundary something interesting happened. I lost that “feel” you get for posts and people that you like. Instead it became more like reading USENET.
The problem is that I started adding new feeds everytime I found an interesting post. So, if The .NET Guy referenced a good post on Tommy Coder’s blog, I added Tommy to my feed. Now I get another 20 posts a week and I don’t even know who Tommy is!
Eventually there was so much information and so little time that I had to apply a very aggresive mental filter to the stream just to stay caught up. I started blowing aways whole weeks of material just to get my unread count back to somewhere under 200. And then I would try to read the material but the sheer volume of information kept me distracted and I would sometimes skip good posts just to “keep going”.
(Think of Dory from Finding Nemo: “Just keep reading, just keep reading, just keep reading, reading, reading.”)
And worse than that was that I lost the feel of the people I was reading. I started to get less good information from the system. I became more interested in throughput, how many messages could I handle, instead of quality.
So I decided to play God and create a new universe. This time I will control the mass. I will not let expansion take over!
I created a new blogroll folder and moved about 20 feeds into it. I outright deleted a dozen other feeds. And now I’m keeping a careful eye on the old feeds, looking for those that need to be moved into my new blogroll. In another week I’m going to delete all the old ones that haven’t made the cut. My hope is to have whittled it down to somewhere around 50 feeds.