Don’t Touch that Blogroll

There’s an interesting discussion going on over at Burningbird about the wisdom of blogrolls. I have to admit I’ve often had doubts about the need for, and wisdom of having, blogrolls.

When I first started blogging, I used my blogroll to list sites in the order I was most likely to visit them, with the ones I visited the most at the top of the list. I seldom use my blogroll that way anymore. I’ve switched to NetNewsWire to tell me when sites have updated. For sites that still don’t provide RSS feeds, some of my favorite sites, I use URL Manager Pro.

Still, as Euan noted at Shelly’s site, “However I would find it hard to delete my blogroll – they feel like a statement about me as much as about them. I once described them as my village.” I feel like my blogroll is also a history of my “village,” with the sites at the top of blogroll generally the ones I’ve linked to, and been linked to, the longest. My “oldest virtual friends” as it were.

I once almost automatically linked to sites that linked to me because it felt like the courteous think to do. I changed that policy recently when I began to feel some sites were simply linking to mine in order to draw readers to their site because there was no indication that they had ever actually visited my site. Recently, I’ve only added links when someone actually drops in and leaves a comment, a sure indication that they at least occasionally read what I have to say.

I used to visit the sites on my blogroll daily. I don’t do that anymore, but I do visit all of them semi-regularly. Unfortunately the ones without RSS feeds sometimes get neglected because I’m sure a creature of habit, and technology. Still, if I quit visiting them, I eventually take them off my blogroll.

Of course, what I’m saying here is in some ways irrelevant to Shelley’s main argument. You’ll notice that I don’t have any links to “A-listers” and that’s because I generally don’t read them and am pretty sure they don’t read me. For me, bloggers are “virtual” friends, not authority figures making pronouncements on high. I’ve always enjoyed discussing ideas with friends, but I’ve never relied solely on them to provide the information I need to make important decisions, which is not to say that friends’ ideas aren’t sometimes better than those proposed by “experts.”

I guess this is just a very wordy way of letting Shelley know that I won’t be dropping my blogroll soon, even if she does help me port my site over to WordPress.