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June 13, 2006


Nancy, this is a great topic. I still feel relatively new to blogging (started last October). Initially my blogroll was basically my bookmarked blogs that I visited. I now use Bloglines so I rarely use my blogroll to actually visit blogs. I've removed Dooce and Suburban Bliss from my blogroll, although I regularly visit them. Generally I practice reciprocal blogrolling...if I see someone has linked to me I add them. It seems like a courtesy to do so. However, my blogroll "look" bugs the heck out of me. I think the longer it gets, the more obnoxious it seems. I would like to do a redesign in the fall and have it appear as a separate link. However, I'll probably just stick to listing the blogs in alpha order. Rating them seems too complicated and I would hate to hurt someone's feelings by listing there's on the bottom tier! So, there's my long-winded response! :)

"How big is your blogroll?" just sounds so ... personal!
Being new to blogging (May of this year) I'm not much help. And now that I've discovered Bloglines, I personally don't use my own blogroll. On the other hand, site meter tells me other people do use my blogroll, so I must care a little bit about it.

Mine is short - 26 - and I'd like to trim it down. At first I just added people who commented a few times on mine and I liked what they had to say.

Then I did some "pity listings" for people who listed me but I didn't really dig them so much.

I've had much more success in whittling down my bloglines subscriptions - no fuss, no muss and no possibility of insulting people who could easily disappear from the ol' blogroll ... kinda like taking a vacation in Colombia.

So, my answer is of no use to you. Sorry.

I think I have gone about blogrolling a little different. I don't use it to list those who link to me, altho it tends to be that way. I list those I enjoy reading. That is it. I figure if someone is going to click on a link on my site, it ought to be to something I know and care about.

I do use bloglines and read a ton of blogs I don't necessarily regularly comment on. But those I have in my blogroll are places I feel some sort of kinship.

I am happy when those I link to visit me, but I don't feel that is necessary to recommend them to others.

I also don't comment on a blog unless I think I really have something to say about the post. I know a lot of bloggers see it as an 'if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' situation. If I had a more popular blog, I might have to change what I do. But for now I am comfortable with my choices.

Very interesting topic, one that I didn't think too much about until this week when I got an email from a friend who said, "How come you haven't linked me?" I felt bad (but not too bad because she rarely posts).

I'm like you in that I don't ever actually use the links off my blogroll anymore...rely strictly on bloglines. However, I do still keep the blogroll mostly updated with who I'm reading all the time. I tried to somewhat categorize mine, especially the "mom" blogs because I thought other readers might find that the most useful.

As for who to list...I stick to who I'm diligent about reading, and who is diligent about commenting, or people I know in real life (ie: people I feel connected to). I have a couple blogs listed that I know I won't get comments from, and maybe after awhile I'll weed them out.

As for reciprocal linking, I still generally follow the "if I feel connected" rule. I don't expect someone I link to to link me, although I do sometimes feel a bit awkward about not linking to someone who has linked me.

My choices are probably easier to make because I have a smaller readership than you do. Good luck sorting out a method that works for you!

PS: Welcome back from vacation. I'd say I missed you except you were so good about posting while you were gone. So I'm just sad for you that you can't be back on those coastal shores enjoying your relaxing vacation anymore.

How big? I have quite a few people on my blogroll, fairly consistent in size. I use blogrolls but usually find new blogs through other peoples' links/blogrolls. It's just alphabetical, no categories.

The rules are simple... if I like a site or a couple of posts I'll add it. If I get bored with it I take it down. My blog is fairly new, and I wouldn't call it earthshattering or exciting so no need to link to me. If you like it, then for sure link, if not, that's cool too. I kinda blog for myself, and, while I love people commenting on my site it's totally up to them to come back (well that and up to me to write something comment-worthy).

Hooray. Dutch will be so happy (he mentioned wanting a post about this at my place). This is a TOUGH topic.

For me, my blogroll includes folks I read, but also folks that have blogrolled me, or that visit me so much I felt as though they deserved some type of shout out.

There's something to be said, however, about being on someone's bloglines (or feed list) and then being on their blogroll. It's like "why do you not want people to see that you read me?" - OR, why do you have me on your blogroll but you never read me?

I get both. However, everyone I read on bloglines is ON my blogroll.

When I first started, getting on someone's blogroll was orgasmic - and really, it still is. I used to feel obligated to reciprocate since it was only a few people. Now (I sound so snooty and I am not at all) I do have a lot of readers who have kindly blogrolled me that I cannot keep up. I am thankful. However, I do feel as though people watch my blogroll, so I'm not sure how I would go about removing folks I don't really read without hurting feelings. Or maybe people really don't care (guess we'll find out in your comments).

What I find now is that I'm not as concerned about being on someone's blogroll as I am about folks coming back (however they do it) and enjoying what they read. I wonder if folks desire to be on my blogroll, however, I don't think I'm that "popular" for folks to be coveting a spot.

I think when you hit the lottery with some of the very well-frequented blogs, it does help your traffic - and those, well, we all covet those.

That said. I don't care how people find me. I just like to be read. If they like me enough to blogroll me, I'm flattered. If they come back again - even better.

I took a biggie-blogger off who didn't need my silly link; I'm planning on removing the other ones, too, when I remember to get around to it.

I usually link to people who have linked to me, esp. once I've checked out their pad and have discerned that it syncs up with my insert-fancy-french-phrase-for-that-certain-something.

That said, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer length of my 'roll these days, though. And there are certainly plenty of blogs that I can't get to on a very regular basis, not that I wouldn't like to, I just ... have my favorites. And only so much time in the day, fer cripessake.

I don't think I'll take any of them down, though (other than the really biggie ones). More than likely, I'll just quit adding. I don't want to totally dishonor the idea of the blogroll, which seems to me to be a presentation of those that I read and enjoy on an at least somewhat regular basis.

I'm glad you brought this up; it's a good thinker, this post. Thanks for presenting it so articulately, as usual.

I have also recently discovered how fabulous Bloglines really is, so I do not use my blogroll or my favorites as I used to.

I read almost everyone on my blogroll. I have a few of my PIMs on there whom I read only sporadically. I'm not sure how big my blogroll is, but I have 70 feeds in Bloglines.

I only link to a few big-name bloggers - those whom I really enjoy - and I do not read the other big-name bloggers anymore.

I have deleted people from my blogroll, but only because we (more or less) mutually stopped reading one another. I don't think there were any hard feelings.

I love it when people blogroll me or comment or send me e-mail. It makes my freakin' day. I try to reciprocate when people add me to their blogroll, but most of the time I add people without thought to whether or not they've blogrolled me.

I don't want to limit my blogroll based on an arbitrary number. I will keep adding so long as I keep finding people I enjoy reading.

Jamie -- I think you hit on what bothers me about the long blogroll: it looks unwieldy.

IAI -- 26 doesn't seem like a big number to me now (but I remember when it used to!)

Oshee -- I think being comfortable is the most important thing. I am trying to find my comfort level, because I know I do love to read and comment on lots of blogs, but it's getting to be such a big number that I don't want to lose any of the connections I've made.

Stephanie -- I didn't talk about the requests for linkage and how people handle that, but that's another good possible discussion (some bloggers have notes on their sites saying they won't link on request, so don't ask.)

MU -- your last sentence is perfect. I am happy if they like to read me and keep coming back.

lildb -- I've thought about no longer adding either, but I've found new blogs I really like in the last few weeks (like yours!) so I'll probably just keep going. ;-)

MGM -- I think I'm coming to the realization that the difference between 30, 50, and 100 blogs isn't that significant (it's still a long list) so I won't worry about size either. And actually your point about adding people without worrying if they've blogrolled you is a good one; I do that too, but I don't want people to think I add them in order to have them add ME. You know?

Thanks for the comments so far -- keep them coming!

Also, since I already clarified this point for J, I feel compelled to add that I'm not actually going to write a policy on this. I think being at work when I posted warped my brain somehow. ;-)

Great post and discussion!

I have a pretty long blogroll. I tend to link to bloggers I feel some sort of connection to rather than merely as a form of reciprocity. I do link to a few bigger blogs that I love, even though I don't comment on them or have any sort of relationship with the blogger.

I also read many more blogs than I link to. When I discover a blog I like, I wait a while before adding it to my blogroll to make sure that my initial impressions still stand.

I have a small blogroll. I read all of the blogs on that list. Before adding someone, I often add her to my bloglines first so that I can get to "know" her. Otherwise I will forget to check her site. I use Bloglines for my daily reading. This makes me a shitty commenter, but whatever.

It takes me a while to update my blogroll. This is due to a combination of reasons: a) I'm lazy, and b) it often takes me a while to figure out if a particular blog is a good fit for me. I don't automatically link to people who link to me, and I could care less about the traffic that might result from someone blogrolling me.

I actually just wrote a post about this, too. I haven't put it up yet because I'm a little scared of the repercussions and now maybe I won't put it up at all as it will look like I copied you...lol But if I do, I will link to this one so there will be multiple perspectives for all readers.

Great post, as always :)

Suzanne -- I think in the past I was a little too eager in linking to sites that "didn't work out." We were too different and I guess not destined to be together. Sniff.

Jess -- yeah, I do keep a list in Bloglines for people who I'm just checking out. Otherwise I will forget to go back to their site.

Izzy -- I was kind of scared to post on this myself. I don't want people to think I'm either too hung up on the blogroll or not caring enough about it. But I say go forth and post yours if you feel up to it!

My blogroll is pretty long, and a few of the links are broken. I haven't bothered to fix them because I'm keeping up in bloglines. There is one site I like that doesn't have a feed, so I have to remember to check in -- and I don't read as much as the others.

I try to link people who link me, or folks who read and comment regularly. My readership isn't huge, so this has remained manageable for me.

I have noticed myself "delinked" from a couple of sites and it stings a little bit initially. Then suddenly I wake up and realize this isn't junior high and get over myself. Really, I do.

Having said that, I think you should do whatever gives you a useful, design-friendly blogroll. Make some cuts, organize the list, whatever.

If someone cries, you can always remind them that it's YOUR BLOG. (You bully.)

Nancy, you took the words right out of my mouth. Everything you've mentioned, I've thought about.

My blogroll's pretty big...every once in a while it gets bigger. I tend to add small clusters of blogs when I make additions to my blogroll. I put blogs on my blogroll that I want other people to see that I read, to show the authors that I read their blog and because I think their blog's worth a link, you know? I'm horrible for adding to/updating it, though. I'm lazy and I always end up remembering blogs I wanted to add *after* I've done it.

I usually check out the blogs on other people's blogrolls, and check out the people who comment on my blog. I've never used a search engine to find a blog, I don't think...

I do read sites that aren't on my blogroll and I don't expect to be linked because I read their site. I mean, it's nice to be linked to, but I'm not going to stop reading someone because they don't link to me. I go to blogs for the writing, not the links, you know? It's very, very flattering to be linked -- I love it, but it's not the reason why I read blogs...you know? And I do read blogs that aren't on my blogroll, either because I'm feeling them out or because I keep forgetting to update my blogroll. Like I said, I'm not the greatest for that. ;) I don't categorize it -- it's in alphebetical order. I'm neurotic that way. If I'm going to list things, they have to be in alphebetical order.

I've removed a few of the bigger sites that everyone and their brothers link to and I've also removed blogs whose authors have left blogging or who haven't been updated in a long time (sometimes I'll keep their sites in Bloglines, to watch for an update).

I have thought of removing my blogroll...it is really big and I use Bloglines so I don't use my blogroll as much. I'm not sure if I will though -- I really like my drop-down window blogroll. It can be long and crazy but it's out of sight until someone wants to scroll through it.

Started this comment over lol. This is a tough one to answer. I keep writing something and then thinking it sounds bad so I erase it! Basically the people on my blogroll are the ones where there is some kind of interaction. Some found me. Others I found. Others we have things in common. The ones I delete are the ones that I just don't visit anymore and/or that don't even know I exist.

I use the blog traffic thingys (blogmad, blog explosion etc.) to find blogs. Also by searching blogrolls. If there is a really long list I scan until I see a really plain or a catchy blog title. That must sound funny. I also search on Technorati for keywords

Right now I have two sections to my blogroll. My blogroll lmao and tech related.

I myself could not possibly consider giving up my blogroll! That just sounds so drastic. I also think along the lines that "We are who we read" not literally but I believe that who we link to says something about us.

I could go on and on. I guess this topic has been brewing in several bloggers minds lately. :)

I have to add a postscript to my original comment, after reading through some of the others here. The realization I had is that I *like* having the links to blogs/etc. on my pad that aren't necessarily ever going to acknowledge me. Ever. They're kinda there because I like visiting. For instance, I have some links to pages for local designer boutiques, and for online music stores, and of course a few of the best political bloggers who are gi-normous, they cast shadows the size of Montana, and they will never, ever, ever realize that I exist.

But whatever. I like 'em. It's kinda like the floofy tschotschkies that cluttered up my junior high locker -- they're a reminder to me of what I like, where I am right now in my tastes, politics, etc.

(next time I post I'll probably sound less hair-brainy 'cause there won't be an intoxicant involved. and I'm sorry if this makes zero sense. and thank you for the compliment about enjoying my blog. I appreciated your visit. bye!)

My blogroll is huge and continues to grow. I don't categorize because I'm still using Blogger and I can't figure out how to do it. Plus...some defy categorization. I try not to get offended if I'm not blogrolled in return. Not everyone feels the same way as I do about the purpose of listing everyone I read. I don't expect to get blogrolled by THE BIG GUNS, though I have to say that some of the people they claim to read don't seem any blogworthier than me. But that's just my opinion.

It is a very interesting topic, Nance..I tend to Blogroll people that I love reading - if I find more than 2 or 3 posts that resonate with me, on they go - but like you, I get it through Bloglines so now I'm maintaining Bloglines AND Blogrolling and well..that's just too much maintenance...but i do understand and respect the reciprocity factor..oh the blogosphere...such a thorny jungle..lol..

Nicole -- yeah, I've been delinked and wondered about it, but I've had to get over myself too. ;-)

MT -- I still love your dropdown blogroll and am thinking about using that when I update my page.

Dawn -- "We are who we read" reminds me of an article I read about blogrolls (I'll have to link)

lildb -- That's a good point, sometimes the rolls include other sites (not just blogs) that we like to visit. I have my shameless links to my friends' shopping ventures too. ;-)

Wordgirl -- I agree, I often wonder how "big guns" choose who they blogroll -- sometimes their choicess make me wonder.

Wendy -- I just last night figured out how to maintain and post my blogroll with Bloglines for that one stop shop concept. LMK if you're interested!

Dawn's comment above reminded me of an article I recently read about blogrolls:


The author links to some other blog posts about blogrolling, which make some excellent points.

My favorite concept is this blogger's statement on blogrolls and what they say about the writer: "I don't like blogs that don't have blogrolls. Those blogs imply that they're really only interested in promoting their own voice and don't have the time or inclination to show you who they're reading or reveal their support for other blogs via a blogroll." Makes sense.

Utopian Hell (referenced in the blog post above) has good commentary on this subject as well:
She advocates having a small, flexible blogroll of current favories, with notes to provide context.

Hmmm, more food for thought...

Hi Nancy -- my blogroll is relatively short. I post the sites I visit daily, and if a new site becomes a favorite, I post it too. Most of the people in my blogroll don't reciprocate, but I honestly don't mind. It's nice when they do, but it doesn't bother me if they don't. I've removed a site only once, and that was after the blogger attacked me. Kind of felt silly to keep her on there after that.

Just took a look at those links, it was a good read. This whole "blogging about blogging" topic is fascinating. It is like the the blogging world is evolving. Kinda. One person says something, and it gets others thinking. I guess that applies to other topics too.

On another note about blogging/commenting, I seem to go though phases. Meaning some days I post a lot. Somedays I make a day out of commenting. And other days I just read. It is a very rare day when I don't do anything related to blogs altogether!

Re: "My favorite concept is this blogger's statement on blogrolls and what they say about the writer: "I don't like blogs that don't have blogrolls. Those blogs imply that they're really only interested in promoting their own voice and don't have the time or inclination to show you who they're reading or reveal their support for other blogs via a blogroll." Makes sense."

My blogroll is currently private but not because I only want to promote my own voice but rather because the politics of the blogroll make my head spin. It's too much and until I can figure out a way to do it without pissing people off or hurting their feelings and still being true to myself, I'm not sure I want the baggage that comes with a public blogroll. Honestly, I 'm not sure how I feel about any of it.

I did end up posting my piece and it explains my POV a little more.

Marian -- yeah, I've known about blogger disputes that caused people to de-link one another.

Dawn -- I too love the community aspect of blogging, how it spurs discussions of different topics when one person posts an idea.

Izzy -- I do know that not everyone without a blogroll is trying to just promote their own voice (heck, I've thought about removing mine too) -- I completely agree about the politics of the blogroll. I have known people without blogrolls, some of the biggies in particular, who might be motivated by not wanting to route readers elsewhere.

Off to read your post!

And actually, to clarify my use of the quote that Izzy picked up on... I meant to include a whole extended paragraph on the benefits of removing a blogroll, because the blogroll in and of itself can be a cliquey thing. Who to add, who to leave off. Because blogrolls deal with people, they have all the politics of people (groups with insiders and outsiders, etc.) I've been tempted to remove my own completely, which is one of the reasons I started this discussion.

I definitely didn't mean to imply that everyone without a blogroll is trying to encourage their own voice to be heard -- just didn't finish my thoughts well enough. What I was really thinking of are the big bloggers that make a name off their personal position and thus do not link others (particularly if they have opposing views) and the bloggers who are using "blogs" as the opportunity to promote their own "advice" strictly to drum up business -- for example, personal finance blogs. I think in that case they are using the term "blog" incorrectly because the medium is not really designed for the one-sided messages they are sending, and they are taking advantage of the hype of blogs in some cases to receive site traffic.

Definitely blogrolls are not the only way to communicate -- comments, links within posts, etc. are excellent mechanisms. I guess what I was really thinking of is people who provide no collaborative aspects in their blogs.

Sorry, Izzy, if I seemed like I was picking on everyone who chose not to have a blogroll. Not my intent!

Hey -- that last piece reminded me -- do you ever feel like the term "blog" is being misused in some cases? I do, because I think a blog should be a collaborative forum (as described above through links, comments, etc.). I have seen more and more sites calling themselves blogs when they are really just one-way communication mechanisms designed to promote a product or viewpoint. Thoughts?

Thanks Nancy! I didn't think you were picking on me. But since the topic of missing blogrolls was presented, I just decided I would take the opportunity to explain a little. No worries :)

And yes, I do totally get what you mean about blogs that are not really blogs but more like personal publishing endeavors.

Mmmm, such an interesting topic (and fascinating comments). I usually try to read as much as I can of the archives before I add a site to my blogroll. That keeps it from getting out-of-control huge and plus, I love reading archives. I would like to keep my blogroll small enough that I can see all of it on the screen at once, but large enough that I can sit down at my computer a few times a day and always find new posts popping up.

Right now I'm trying to venture farther afield to add some names to my blogroll that I don't necessarily see on all the other blogrolls of the people on my blogroll (blogroll blogroll blogtroll, ack! - it's one of those words that starts to seem weird and meaningless when you look at it too long).

I just blew my comment wad on this topic over at Izzy's and can't remember it well enough to replicate it.

Two things: I totally neglect my blogroll and have probably offended everybody. (Like, I think that I don't have your blog there, which is messed up, because you're on my top list, which exists only my head, but still). I think that I last updated it two months ago. It requires fiddlng with the template and is WORK. But I worry that it would just be too long if I added everyone that I read frequently or semi-frequently.

Second - I agree with what you said above about blogging being a collaborative forum, I said something about this in my comment at Izzy's. I think that it's up to us to participate and be inclusive and creative - beyodn the blogroll...

Such a great post. Must now resist urge to say more about it chez moi. (Seems all I do these days is talk about blogging!)

I have too much to write, so this will be a great topic of discussion at Blogher :)

These posts about blogging are quite fascinating. I know someone is writing their PhD dissertation on the culture of the blogosphere as we speak (perhaps with an emphasis on blogrolls even as there is MUCH to contemplate!).

Anyway, I try to add people to my blogroll that I read regularly or that I have felt a connection to. I also just found this really handy script that allows you to roll-up your blogroll so it doesn't take up the whole side of your page. It helps me feel like I can keep adding people without making it totally unweildy.

Nance, I bet without even stating my opinion you can guess it. Love me because you love me and for no other reason. I love reading your blog. I have been a horrible blogging sister this week. I have a huge presentation today for my mythology class as in 15 minutes. I have had no blogging time or commenting time. I wanted to stop by and let you know I will be catching up in the coming days. I hope you enjoyed your trip! Hugs!

I had so much to say on this topic, but really now all I care about is what the heck is Bloglines? I think I am going to go check it out.

I'm pretty new to blogging, so I'm finding this whole topic quite fascinating. I do have a blogroll, but I haven't done much with it so far. Believe me, I know I don't have enough readers to be even remotely concerned about "reciprocal blogrolling" at this point, but I'm glad to hear how others are dealing with it. You gals are awfully insightful!

I do use directories as well as other people's blogrolls to help me find great blogs. So far, I've mostly just added what I love to my "favorites" folders. I need to get set up with Bloglines soon--that should help, too.

This is a great topic. I read a LOT of blogs. I link those that I read daily and I find useful and/or have similar interests to mine or are a friend or family member of mine. I don't like to get involved in internet politics. Not that I haven't, i just dont like to.

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  • I'm Nancy, a (cough)40-something(cough) mother of 2 living in the DC metro area. When I'm not working, I'm home with my husband J and my two girls Mimi and Rosie.

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