Obsessed With the Blogroll

If you have been blogging for any length of time you probably have received an email from another blogger asking for you to blogroll them. Sometimes they phrase it differently and offer you a reciprocal link exchange.

Either way the question is still the same, "will you blogroll me?" They want a link on your site that can be used by your readers to find their blog.

I am a bit of a prickly and at times moody fellow so these requests haven't always fallen upon receptive ears. Sometimes I have just done it and sometimes I don't even bother to consider it. You may recall that in the past I asked the denizens of cyberspace to tell me how many blogs you read.

It was a serious question that I asked because I have noticed that many bloggers have blogrolled an exceptional number of blogs and it occurred to me that it would be tough for them to read them all. So I spent a few moments pondering this and considering whether I thought that it made sense to have that many blogs on a blogroll.

Part of me thought that it was similar to having more than a few pairs of shoes. You couldn't possibly use/read that many consistently so after a while it seemed a bit like excess and overkill. I even read a few explanations in which the blogger suggested that the more links they offered the more that they would receive. I remember snootily thinking to myself that I would never let my ego get in the way like that blogger had.

Well, I was wrong. My ego did get involved and I began to get more involved with this than I had intended. I started paying a lot of attention to Technorati and to my stat counter. In fact I paid enough that I noticed that after a period of time some bloggers had unblogrolled me. I admit to being a little miffed by it.

I wondered what had happened. Why the hell did they keep that really stupid and boring blog. They could have dumped him and kept me. I was bent about it. And then there were the occasional blog altercations in which another blogger and I disagreed so vehemently that we had to unblogroll each other. Nice to see that you never outgrow junior high.

Anyway, after a time I grew more settled into my blogging routine and began to see things differently. I am a voracious reader. I have around seven bookcases that are jammed full of books and probably 12 boxes of books in my garage. One day while I was looking for a new book to read it occurred to me that in some respects keeping a long list of blogs on the blogroll wasn't all that different from what I did at home.

It wasn't profound, but it made perfect sense to me. The other thing I learned about the blogosphere is that it is littered with space junk. There are tons of abandoned blogs. People start them and just leave them up, hanging there, leaving you to wonder if they intend to return or not. Some of my favorites no longer exist.

And then there is the other issue. You run into blog boredom. Some blogs just stop holding your attention. I am sure that there are people reading my blog now who are ready to move onto something new. It happens. It is hard to keep your muse employed full time. They expect benefits and a pension and you are often lucky if you can offer them a simple IRA or 401k.

Apparently my own muse just quit on me. You'll excuse me for a moment as I need to go chase them down and beg their forgiveness.


Rafi G. said...

so will you blogroll me or not? :-)

Air Time said...

"Nice to see that you never outgrow junior high."

For the past few years I had played hockey with some friends, some of whom I went tograde school with. And of course, one game, a friend who I went to school with beginning at kindergarten took a few extra liberties with his stick, and the next thing we knew, at 30 years old, we were fighting.

Because you're right. Not only do you never outgrow Junior High, You never outgrow kindergarten either.

Jack Steiner said...


Maybe. ;)


Hockey just isn't fun without a good fight.

westbankmama said...

I play around with the blogroll a lot (it is still new to me - I started blogging just two months ago) but I think that at this point I keep the blogs on that I read on a daily basis.

The ones that I read just once or twice a week are on my favorites list.

How do other people choose?

Gooch said...

I find my blogroll is a mix of about 85% blogs I actually read with regularity and enjoy, with the remainder tending to be blogs that linked me and I felt guilty not doing so in return.

I think I would have a hard time blogrolling someone who specifically requested me to. It just seems incredibly presumptuous. I mean, if someone links me I'd like to think they did it because they enjoy my writing, not because I begged them into submission.

Regina said...

I really do read all the people on my blogroll on a daily basis- however, since joining in on Jblogland, the blogroll is expanding. I find there are just so many cool blogs out there! I am very picky, though, about who gets on my blogroll.

Ezzie said...

It's a reason I (almost) never immediately blogroll anybody. I'll read it for a while, then add it if I find that I enjoy going back.

As a note: I actually read ALL the blogs on my blogroll. Almost every day. There are less than a handful that I don't enjoy on a decent enough basis that I regret it - and I may delete those. We'll see.

stc said...

I blogroll the people who comment regularly on my blog. Period. Because I want to encourage dialogue, so I "reward" people for dialoguing with me. I also leave comments on their blogs, when I have something to say.

The commenting task would become a problem if I had several dozen regular commenters, but so far that hasn't been a problem! Mary P. has a larger readership. She visits some of her readers daily, others she visits weekly on a specific day of the week.

There are lots of blogs that I read (and comment on) even though they never visit me. I read them because they feed my mind. But I bookmark those sites, I don't blogroll them.

It's surprisingly complicated, isn't it?

StepIma said...

I'm new to this whole thing and it never occurred to me to ask someone to add me to their roll (hmm...)

Anyhow, I hope yours doesn't get much bigger. I already use it as my jumping-off board to get to most of the ones I like :)

Irina Tsukerman said...

I often have blog boredom, which means, I stop reading a group of blogs for a while, and move on to something else. But because I imagine my blog as a kind of salon, I hope that my readers will find new acquaintances through my blogroll, and that's why I would always happily blogroll people if they asked me for it. (For some reason, they never do. I wonder why.)

cruisin-mom said...

I have 13 on my blogroll (I just went and counted). They are the blogs I read everyday...including you, Jack (even if you haven't blogrolled me...feel guilty now?) I link someone after I've read for awhile, something keeps bringing me back, and hooks me. That's that. I don't want a massive blogroll. Otherwise I'd never do anything else. And, truthfully, if someone blogrolls me, I'm flattered...that means I have touched them in some small way. If someone doesn't...that's okay too. Because if they keep coming back to comment, then I still know that something I've written has touched them. (sorry for the long comment)

Tamara said...

I'm not on yours. But you're on mine, and that's ok. :)

This post is good timing as I just updated my blog rolls (plural). I had to dump those ones that were now dull to me, or if they hadn't blogged in some time. I never pay attention if I'm on someone's roll, unless it's a personal friend, then I better be dammit :)

Jack Steiner said...

Before I return to responding to individual comments may I recommend you read the following blogroll commentary. I agree with much of it, enough to offer it as a pseudo guide.

If you want to be blogrolled here you shouldn't be afraid to ask, but if I don't see you comment here I may end up pulling you.

Comments are not a definitive requirement. There are blogs on my blogroll in which the blogger has never commented here and I am not sure if they even know I exist. But I really enjoy their blogs so I keep them on the list.


For me it is really a case of how interested I am. Sometimes I'll spend a few weeks checking out a blog before I blogroll them, sometimes it is a year and sometimes it is a day. Not real helpful, but...


Well said. If someone is blogrolled here there are better than even odds that I find them interesting.

I used to be far more giving of space for those who linked to me because part of me felt badly. They linked to me, so it seemed only fair to link back to them.

The problem was that sometimes I was linking to blogs that I didn't like. It wasn't necessarily a personal thing, I just didn't find them to be of interest.

I don't necessarily mind someone asking to be blogrolled. It depends on the manner.

But you are right, I want to be linked because people enjoy my writing, not because they want links.


There are some absolutely fascinating blogs out there. It is really hard to find time to read them all.


Makes sense to me.


It is far more complicated than one would think. I appreciated your comment about feeding your mind. That is really important.


We all stumble around and find our way. I have so little time it is hard to imagine the list getting bigger, but who knows.


Blog boredom- I know that feeling. It happens to me too.


Guilt is something that I gave up for Lent.


I am disappointed with the blogs that grab my attention but fall into the abyss.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jack: I thought of a new use for my blogroll, not only a way to let people know what I read...but something far more near and dear to the heart of the muqata.

You'll see soon enough :-)

Jack Steiner said...


I am looking forward to it.

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