On The List, a venerable mailing list of college friends, a discussion came up a little while ago in which a certain gulf became evident: that between People Who Read Blogs and People Who Don’t. There was some understandable resentment at the fact that many of the folks who used to contribute witty observations, charming vignettes, and other miscellany to The List were now chiefly writing that sort of thing on their blogs, and while some folks had easily made the transition to keeping up with their friends’ websites, others hadn’t.
One thing that became clear is that for many people there’s a big difference, conceptually, between going-out-to-visit-that-site and having-that-email-come-to-me. In real, physical terms the amount of effort to read one versus the other is nearly the same, and of course both involve sitting and staring at a computer screen and are indistinguishable to someone who’s watching you. But nevertheless that difference in the basic metaphor for what’s going on is significant.
I had always been one of those who acclimated to reading blogs quickly, and have kept up with a fair number of them through the help of one news aggregator or another. But I’ve been hit with a solid reminder that the going-there vs. bringing-here metaphor counts — I just installed “Thunderbird 0.8”:http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/, an email program that comes with a built-in “News & Blogs” feedreader. It’s similar in function to the aggregator plugin I’d been using for the Firefox browser, but I find it much, much cooler to use — partly because it’s faster, but mainly, I think, because now all the new blog entries (or links to new blog entries) are coming up right in my email program, and it _feels like they’re coming to me_. Suddenly reading other blogs _seems_ much easier to do.
Which may be a bad thing, since I’ve already added a handful of blogs to my already-crammed reading roster. But anyway, Thunderbird: highly recommended.