But there's another possibility that's been rattling around my brain, more since Farhad Manjoo phrased it so succinctly a few weeks ago in Slate. What if I stopped contributing to the medblog community because I had changed the way I accessed it, in moving from bookmarked websites to RSS? Quoth Manjoo:
RSS started to bring me down. You know that sinking feeling you get when you open your e-mail and discover hundreds of messages you need to respond to—that realization that e-mail has become another merciless chore in your day? That's how I began to feel about my reader. RSS readers encourage you to oversubscribe to news. Every time you encounter an interesting new blog post, you've got an incentive to sign up to all the posts from that blog—after all, you don't want to miss anything. Eventually you find yourself subscribed to hundreds of blogs, many of which, you later notice, are completely useless. It's like having an inbox stuffed with e-mail from overactive listservs you no longer care to read.
It's true that many RSS readers have great tools by which to organize your feeds, and folks more capable than I am have probably hit on ways to categorize their blogs in a way that makes it easy to get through them. But that was just my problem—I began to resent that I had to think about organizing my reader. Moreover, I hated the software's bland interface; when you read blogs through RSS, you're only getting text, not design, so every blog looks like every other blog. But I didn't want Gawker to look like the New Republic; I needed a visual difference, in the same way that I want the National Enquirer to look distinct from the New York Times
He goes on to describe his new system for perusing websites, which sounded a lot like my old bookmark hierarchy. Since reading his article, I've started trying to recreate that old system, but now using Speed Dial groups for firefox. With any luck, I'll soon feel that vibrant sense of community that I enjoyed so much, years ago...