Full vs. Abbreviated Feeds

It has been some matter of argument in what passes for the blogosphere for some time whether or not full-content feeds are better than partial-content. Some of this discussion was driven by the default behavior of competing publishing tools, but recently it seems to be in context of making money from one’s writings. This whole discussion seems rather pointless to me, mainly because some of those arguing don’t seem to pay attention to their own reading patterns, but pointless discussions are the raison d’ĂȘtre of blogs. Two that I read are abbreviated, containing only partial content, and terminated usually in the middle of a sentence. They are Freakonomics and the Legal History Blog.

Freakonomics often has interesting stuff. However, the cost to me, in time, of clicking through to the full page prevents me from reading it unless the lede grabs me by the throat and drags me over. Once there, navigation between posts is poor, so one must either return to the naggregator or to the top of their site. I usually just leave.

The Legal History Blog always has interesting stuff. What they post, however, are links to recent papers in the field. This falls into the category of “stuff to print and read later.” Because of the truncated posts, it’s difficult to skim through and mark those I’d like to read later. Instead, I ignore it until I have the time. And since I don’t have the time, I may never read it again.

Expanded Horizons

I used to follow about 300 or so websites, but pruned that back to about 10 and my friends’ shared items in Google Reader around two years ago. My job responsibilities, and workload, had changed dramatically, and my leisure time shrank to nothing. Things have been letting up a little bit, and I’ve gradually expanded my horizons. I just followed a link from one of those, and noticed that the world has changed.

When I put my head down, nose to the grindstone, Userland still maintained a list of recently updated weblogs, Technorati was still relatively new, and Feedburner was blazing new paths with feed management. (And I cared enough to put links on lots of words in my posts.) Now, I look up, and the world has changed. The horizon is far distant, and the lands around are populated by clusters of strangers, some of whom talk to each other.