Too much information overload

I'm having a bit of a blogging crisis. Ok, fine, that was a little melodramatic. But I'm having a really hard time figuring out what I should be reading and when.

Kim mentioned all this the other day when she talked about her audience and blog fame and it got me thinking. My Google reader is out of control. When I find a new blog, I scoop it up and squirrel it away in a folder where it languishes. I'm suffering from social overload. Just look at my list of feeds.

I have Flickr contacts that may not match my Twitter contacts that may not match the folks in my RSS feed or those on Facebook. And don't even get me started about LiveJournal. I can't make heads or tales of any of it.

Should I just trash all these people I've collected? What if one of them is a gem and I'm missing out? Should I read all these hundred of personal blogs from people I hardly know? Or should I pare my list down to a dozen or so folks that I really love their writing?

There was a blog that I read in my giant "parenting" category. Some mommy blogger. Honestly, I got her confused with other mommy bloggers in that folder. I must have heard her blog name at a BlogHer once. And for the most part I skimmed her entries. Blah blah kid said cute thing blah blah daughter growing up so fast blah blah husband never does the dishes blah blah. But one entry stuck in my head as she talked about trying to explain right and wrong to her son and how this was much harder than she thought it would be. Rich and I still talk about this entry and she wrote it in November of 2008, before I was even pregnant with our first child. So this random woman who I could have forgotten all about affected me. It would be a shame to miss that.

But wow there's just so much! It's too much to read! I'm still missing out on stuff regardless of if I have the blogs in my feed reader. Ironically, I never told that mommy blogger that wrote such a great entry how much I like it. So I'm not living up to my part of the deal in this whole community thing either.

Are there people that you read online that you don't have a personal relationship with? Do those people outnumber your friends? At what point do they become a friend versus some random person you're reading about? Are you content to read about the lives of strangers or are they all pathways to meet people that you'd invite over for dinner if they were in town?

I should have it so hard that there is so much good writing out there for me to scoop up. I just need a way to better digest it all.