Maybe understanding blogrolls

June 16, 2009

When I first started reading blogs, blogrolls made intuitive sense to me. You had to keep track of the URLs of the blogs you read somehow, and making your reading list public was the friendly thing to do. This view was so clear to me that at one point I considered writing a techblog entry about how I didn't have a blogroll because I used different methods to keep track of my various blog reading.

(Possibly I would have talked about how the rise of feed readers would affect blogrolls. There's two views: on the one hand, the feed reader keeps track of URLs so that you don't have to, but on the other hand the feed reader may make it easy to publish the list on your blog via some sort of plugin and API.)

In retrospect, this was a rather innocent view of the whole thing. With more experience in blogging, I've increasingly come around to the obvious view that blogrolls today are less about having your reading list in a convenient place and more about a way of recommending (or advertising) blogs that you think are worthwhile.

(Mind you, I could be wrong; I have a skewed perspective on this because I have rather odd ways of keeping track of web sites and I am a heavy user of feed readers. I don't know if more normal people really do use their blogrolls for their own reading, but it's certainly possible.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2009-06-16 09:08:39:

Advertising other blogs that I enjoy is exactly why I have a blogroll on my site. There are a lot of sysadmin blogs out there, and I've got maybe a hundred in my Google Reader. On my blog, I link to my favorites to make it easier on the people who find mine. When one of the other 90 or so blogs posts something I really, really like, I'll link to it (and if it's something I just think it cool or interesting, it usually goes to my twitter feed).

It's a nice way to thank those people who link back to me, too. Not all of the people I link to do, but that's alright. I dig their content.

Incidentally, I look, and I thought CSpace was on there. It wasn't, so I just added it.

Matt Simmons

Written on 16 June 2009.
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Last modified: Tue Jun 16 01:06:43 2009
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