Let’s keep the blogroll and throw away the writing

One last note on this overworn topic: from the comments I’m reading, perhaps what we should do is keep the blogrolls, but throw away the writing.

Joking! Well, kind of.

Melanie McBride wrote in my comments:

To be honest, the blogs I’ve read that don’t have blogrolls appear to be doing something not disimilar to traditional media and I find a blog without a blogroll says ME ME ME far more so than one that points to other voices.

And I have noticed that the more established a blogger gets the less they really have to rely on “community” and so what do they do but ditch the blogroll. Or so it would seem.

Blogs, for me, are still very much about communities.


Whether a weblogger has a blogroll or not is nothing more than technology. It’s a bunch of links, and has nothing to do with ‘community’ or even individuality–especially individuality. They can be handy for finding people of ‘like mind’, but this just generates its own danger. Why? Though we may link to stories by people we don’t like, or even despirse, we generally don’t put them on our blogrolls. Rather than encourage diversity, we encourage homogeneity with our blogrolls.

Even then, they can give new folk a step up, and there is good in them and if you want your blogroll, by all means keep it. Please! Keep it! And to be fair, since I don’t have one and haven’t had one for a couple of years now, if you want to remove me from your blogroll, please remove it! I really don’t check to see if I’m on your list or not when I read your writing.

But stop investing an emotional context in what is nothing more than a bunch of hypertext links. This is the kernel that started so many of the problems with A-lists and long tails today — we invested both emotional and economic worth in links; we made them into something more than a way to get from A to B.

True communities don’t need to mark their territory, like we marked the states, blue or red; or be held together by baling wire made of virtual strands across the threaded void. Community happens when we reach out to each other, in times of joy, and in times of need; community is when you realize another has become an important part of your life, and it no longer matters whether you’ve met the person, or not.

Anything else, is just building bridges out of bricks made of air.

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