The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

7 May 2005

Let me roll it

I have no idea how long my blogroll is, and I'm not going to count all the entries thereupon to check. (BlogShares lists 181 under "All Outgoing Links," but this includes items that were linked in entries on the front page the last time they spidered the place.) I have no idea how many other blogs have me on their rolls, though I would guess somewhere around, oh, 181 or so.

And no, I don't use Blogrolling or any of those other aggravation aggregation tools: it's strictly manual. The heading on the roll reads "Blogs I read when I can," which means exactly what it says it does: these are blogs I visit on something resembling a regular basis. I am loath to drop anyone simply because of extended silence, so there are a few entries marked "on hiatus," and there is one (Steven Den Beste) who is not coming back but whom I can't bring myself to delink, who is marked "emeritus."

Which is by way of saying that I run this roll, not to score Brownie points with Technorati or to suck up to N. Z. Bear, but simply as a convenience to me. It contains some A-list names, yes, but it also contains a lot of blogs that don't have A-level audiences yet.

Aldahlia notes that some people find the very concept of blogrolls hurtful, and gives this notion the sort of scorn I think it deserves:

[I]f you honestly think that perma-linking other blogs "hurts" the blog-o-sphere, I can only assume that you are the Athena of the blogging Universe. That you popped out of some server's head, fully-formed, with a worshipping audience ready to comment on your brilliance. Aren't you just special?

The rest of us, however, have to build an audience. And, links are how you do that. And, when I find something new and promising, or someone that I can't believe I missed all this time, or just something cool in general, I'm gonna link them. Because they deserve it.

And, I don't think this call for the withdrawal of blogrolls has anything to do with preventing psychic pain in the world-o-bloggers.

It sounds a whole lot more like, "Well, if I can't play the Pirate Captain, then I'm gonna take my toys and go home. The rest of y'all can just walk the plank."

Why in the world would anyone think something like that?

The general theory is that "I'm not being taken seriously."

"I only have 500, 1000, 2500, etc, hits a day, and that guy gets 50,000 a day for posting material that isn't even any good or fresh or anything, and it's not fair."

God forbid there should be a Committee for Fairness to Bloggers. (Why, someone would put up a Blogspot blog just to fisk its findings.)

This is the second time in recent weeks I've had an excuse to link to Joan Baez's "Time Rag", a semi-hilarious rap (yes!) she did in the late Seventies. (The first was here.) What she said:

I never made the January issue of TIME
And just before I run out of words that rhyme
I really should tell you that deep in my heart
I don't give a damn where I stand on the charts
Not as long as the sun sinks into the west
And that's going to be a pretty serious test.....of time

And yes, my audience has grown, from 6400 over the first three years to about 6400 a week today, but it's not because I've been embraced by the A-list (I haven't) or because I've worked diligently to promote the site (I haven't): it's simply that I turn out rather a lot of words, and sooner or later somebody reads them and finds them somewhat worthy. In other words, there's some truth to that possibly-apocryphal Woody Allen quote about how half/80 percent/90 percent (choose one) of life is just showing up. It's not like I'm anything special, but dammit, I'm here.

Posted at 4:09 PM to Blogorrhea

TrackBack: 8:45 AM, 8 May 2005
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I agree with Charles and Veronica -- the very notion that blogrolls are some kind of class oppression device and that the lesser-read (not to be confused with merely "lesser") blogs are victims of false consciousness if they pa...

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You're right -- the power of consistency and longevity in the 'Sphere can be considerable. I figure about 1/2 of my audience is simply due to my being around for so many years (not as long as you, but still, in blogging terms, I'm at least in middle-age).

It also helps, as in your case, to write some damn good stuff. Oh, and the dry wit -- that's worth a few hundred of those weekly hits.

Posted by: david at 6:07 PM on 7 May 2005

Syaffolee said something yesterday that fits into this scheme:

Just as meddling mothers want to control their kids (even when their kids are forty-year-olds) and the self-righteous claim certain relationships are morally wrong (even when the individuals involved love each other), people want to control whether their sites are linked on other people's sites.

A link is but a link. If I get one, fine; if I don't get one, fine, I'll probably get one from somewhere else. The Web as a whole lives and dies by links, but it's fatuous in the extreme to conflate one's own little site with the entire Web.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:55 AM on 8 May 2005

Funny. I won't delink SDB either (and I've noticed he's still on a lot of other blogrolls). I like the emeritus idea.

And I read one of the links Adahlia linked to this morning (Lauren at Feministe) and thought it pretty darned silly.

Posted by: Kathy K at 8:09 PM on 8 May 2005

Oh... and I like it when I see OTTH on someone else's blogroll. But I don't get insulted if I don't see it.

Posted by: Kathy K at 8:14 PM on 8 May 2005