When I come across a blog that is new to me, one of the first things I do is look for a blogroll. It gives me some insight into the person behind the blog: tastes, humor, worldview and whatnot. It’s fun to see if I recognize any blogs on the list, and to see if we share common interests. It reminds me a bit of my tendency to go right to the references section of an article I’m reading when I’m in research mode.
Why I have a blogroll
I see the blogroll as a courtesy feature of a blog. Potential visitors can get insight into who I am by way of who I know. It’s a courtesy to the bloggers on the list, as I am potentially sending them traffic, whether directly through people who like to explore blogrolls, or by adding to their rankings for search engines or Technorati. Foremost, my blogroll acknowledges that I read and enjoy those blogs (and/or that those people read and enjoy my blog). Like a references section in a journal article, it lists the bloggers whose voices have influenced and inspired my own writing.
Who is on my blogroll?
If I list a blog in my blogroll, it means that I regularly read that blog. I may miss a post here and there when my life gets hectic, or may skim over a long post on a topic that is alien to me (such as about a TV show I don’t watch). But if a blog is up there, that means I am a loyal reader.
I admit that there are blogs in my feed reader that I have not put on my blogroll. Usually it’s because I haven’t established a rapport with those bloggers. Sometimes I’ve just forgotten to add a blog.
Some of the blogs there are fairly dormant. This applies especially to a few of my near and dear real life friends who started blogs, but didn’t keep them going for long. (But they should have!)
I’m considering paring down the list, and removing blogs that have not been updated in, say, 6 months. (So post something if this applies to you!)
Removing blogs from the blogroll
It makes me sad to remove blogs from my blogroll, and I’ve done so only a few times. Mostly this has been when a blogger has deleted the blog or made it private. In at least one case I took a blog down after faithfully reading a blog and leaving comments for an extended time, and never getting back any sign of a visit back from that blogger. Another time I noticed that my own blog was removed from a blogroll, so I responded by removing that blog from my own.
Adding to the blogroll
I usually will add to my blogroll if I find my blog on a blogroll, and/or if I get regular comments from the blog author. I used to be fairly stubborn about not adding blogs without these happenings. Now I’m quicker to add if I find a blog I like (and if I happen to be in the mood to add links).
I’ve been rather hesitant to add big, high profile blogs to my blogroll, but I have started to do that more. There are now several big blogs in my sidebar whose authors don’t read my blog, though they have at some point been courteous enough to come by for a visit and leave a comment (or otherwise acknowledge my existence).
to blogroll or not to blogroll
I’m not quite sure why some people don’t have them. (Well, laziness I understand, if that’s the reason.) Some prefer instead to share favorites from their feeds, some prefer to link to blogs in posts. I think these ways of expressing appreciation for other bloggers are great, but for me don’t supplant the blogroll.
It seems that some people find blogrolls quaint and outdated. Well, call me quaint and outdated. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)
Still others prefer to keep their reading lists to themselves.
Where I stick it
My blogroll has gotten a bit unwieldy, but I still like having it on my front page. In fact, I like having a theme that keeps the sidebar showing for all pages. Some people think a gigantic blogroll clutters the page, and detracts. But I like giving it the extra exposure. Call me cluttered. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)
Blogrolling by numbers
And to demonstrate my compulsive tendencies, I actually counted up the blogs currently on my blogroll, and tallied up how many had blogrolls. I made a spreadsheet. Call me a dork. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)
blogs on my blogroll: 78
blogs on my blogroll with blogrolls: 58
blogs on my blogroll with blogrolls with my blog: 47
Blogroll me, baby!
In case you haven’t guessed it, I like being listed on blogrolls. It feels like support and validation. Also that acknowledgment of existence, which I seem so partial to.
So, what are your thought on blogrolls?
This was the first post of the metablogging series I threatened to write as part of my self-declared Merry Merry Month of Metablogging.