Anatomy of a Blogroll
It’s my second blogiversary today, and while it seems a very short year since my first one; it also seems as if I’ve been at this for more than two years! As I wrote in my last post, summer, and July in particular, seems a good time to start a new project and a new “year”. My new academic calendar doesn’t list any particular holiday for July 27, so I’ll just declare it “Muse Year’s Day”.
I’m having a lower-key celebration this year than last. I do want to thank everyone who stops by and reads. I appreciate those I’ve come to know, who think of me occasionally, and give me reason to think of them: “You allow me someone to write to, but more than that, you lead me all over the world to view your cultures, your personalities, and the uniqueness that is YOU!”
On my blogiversary this year, I’ve been reviewing my Blogroll and what it means to me; what it’s FOR. When I first started blogging, I created a blogroll because I saw them on other blogs. “All the cool kids had ’em”. 😉 But, what were these things? Why did I want one? What criteria was I supposed to use? It turns out that Blogroll-rules are as unique as bloggers. (Of course! There’s a bit of “the rebel without a blog cause” in bloggers, isn’t there?) ❓ Some use the ‘rolls as lists of all the blogs they want to read every day, or at least, frequently. Others use them as recommended sites, often grouping them into categories. (If I write about “music”; here are some other “music” sites I recommend…) Still others list all the blogs that have the owner’s blogs in their blogrolls! Wikipedia defines a blogroll this way: “A list of blogs on a blog…that reads as a list of recommendations by the blogger of other blogs.”, while About.com says this: “A blogroll is a list of links to blogs that the blogger likes.”
I agree with both, and with neither (not surprisingly). Although my blog only officially launched two years ago, I’d spent the prior year reading blogs, deciding which platform to use, thinking about things like tags and categories, and writing a few posts before I actually signed up. I tend to be slow and methodical with things. The most hilarious question I ever saw on a WordPress forum was from someone who had quite the opposite tendencies: “I just started a blog today on WordPress! What should I write in there?” Um…WHY did you just start a blog on WordPress? That might just offer a clue to answer your own question!
Anyway, in all the time I spent thinking about it; looking at it; choosing a theme; even choosing an email address to match; I didn’t really think about blogroll(s). So now, from my lofty vantage point of two years in, here’s what I think about mine:
I don’t “recommend” blogs on my roll to you. My ‘roll is partially a list of blogs I want to read nearly everyday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I think you should too. There’s a theory out there that “if a reader likes a blog, they’ll probably like blogs the blogger likes”. That may or may not be true. I “like” different blogs for different reasons, and as I’m not one to make lists of recommended sites in particular categories which relate to my topics (whatever they are! They tend to be rather eclectic), I don’t know that you, as a reader would necessarily find new satisfying blogs to read by looking at my list. Still, I do value them myself, and I try to give a brief description in the “hover text” so you can see if there are any which attract you.
My blogroll also contains links to bloggers I value for one reason or another beyond the content of their blogs. Of course, this is a matter of discernment; after all, if I “like” a person, it stands to reason I’d like their writing, their presentation, or their topics. And, of course, the only way I’ve gotten to know any of them is through their writing. But I’ve found, over time, that there are a few bloggers who don’t write about things I do, but they’ve become friends. So, I like getting to “see” them in my sidebar.
Finally, there are those few who may not comment or correspond very often, but they remain, as I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I usually remove people who haven’t commented, or who haven’t written a blog post themselves for a very long time. But there are a few who befriended me when I was a newbie that I will always have on my ‘roll unless they stop blogging altogether and there’s nothing to link to. (That has actually happened a couple of times, and there are one or two bloggers with whom I had a good rapport, but are now, alas, gone from the ‘sphere.)
I don’t link to someone just because they link to me; (although I certainly consider that kindness!) I don’t remove them—necessarily—even if they have not visited in a long while, if they are people I value; have been kind and helpful to me in the past, or have a connection that goes beyond everyday reality.
So, for the most part, the links you see on my sidebar are for some of the bloggers I want to read every day. There are some—very few—I’ve been hangin’ with for almost the whole two years I’ve been here. You know who you are, and I hope you know how much you mean to me!