Last week I spent two hours updating my Blogroll. The process began with a print-out of my current blogroll which I compared to my bookmarks for diabetes blogs in Safari. I found about 25 bookmarks which needed to be added to the list. One by one I typed in the name of each new blog and embedded the link to the website.
I had known for months that I needed to work on my blogroll, but the chore stayed at the bottom of my To-Do list. What inspired me to finally tackle the project was the Wednesday, Sept. 3 DSMA TweetChat. The subject was whether the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) should have a governing body along with standards of conduct and lots of rules. No one seemed to think that was a good idea and the discussion moved to the topic of helping newcomers to the DOC find a foothold in the maze of diabetes social media. Blogrolls were mentioned.
Blogrolls show up in many different forms. Some like mine are long lists by category (Type 1, Type 2, Parent) with no description or rating of the blogs. Others are shorter lists with titles such as “My Favorite Blogs” or “DOC Friends”. One of my favorite blogrolls is by Scott at Rolling in the D because he has personalized his list with brief and occasionally witty descriptions of each blog/blogger. A nice feature on Blogger sites is a “live” blogroll that automatically updates with recently published posts. Many DOC writers have chosen to not have blogrolls at all.
What is the purpose of a blogroll? When I began reading diabetes blogs many years ago, blogrolls were a magical pathway to “meeting” other people with diabetes. Without Twitter and Facebook, there was really no other way to learn about other websites. The first blog I read was either Scott’s or Kerri’s and then it was a dot-to-dot adventure finding other people sharing their stories. My guess is that newcomers to the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) still use blogrolls in this fashion while most blogrolls are largely ignored. My blogroll had about 200 views in the last year. I hope that some viewers used my list to find other blogs. Unfortunately I suspect that most of the views were just by other bloggers seeing if they were on the list!
The main reason that blogrolls are impossible to keep current is because there are now hundreds of diabetes blogs and new ones appearing all of the time. If you check out most blogrolls, you will find a dated list that highlights many established D-blogs while including few new blogs and being littered with many blogs that have been abandoned for years.
As an experiment, I checked out the blogrolls of the first twenty blogs listed in my Safari bookmarks. I chose 3 favorite blogs in addition to my own to see if they were listed in any blogrolls. These 3 blogs are by prolific Type 1 writers who like me have been around for about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 years. Of the twenty blogs I checked out, 5 did not have blogrolls. My blog was listed on 5 out of the remaining 15 blogrolls. Another fantastic newish blog was listed on only 3 blogrolls. One was seen on 6 out of 15 and the last one had more presence being on 9 out of 15 blogrolls. These stats are not meant to criticize anyone; rather they emphasize how flawed most blogrolls are. Even if you are able to keep adding all of the new blogs, when do you take an inactive blog off the list? The ultimate criteria is probably when the link doesn’t work anymore. But how old is too old?
When blogrolls were mentioned in the September 3 DSMA TweetChat, Scott Johnson immediately tossed out the question of the day. Typical of DSMA, the discussion quickly went off-topic and morphed into shrimp rolls and carb counts.
How do I feel about this? On one hand, it is frustrating to be left off lists by people whom I know read my blog regularly. At the same time, I know that it is meaningless because I don’t think blogrolls are used for much of anything and most of us rarely look at them. So after this post I think I will go back to totally ignoring them.
Back to the September 3 DSMA TweetChat. Although I don’t believe that the DOC needs a governing board or rules, I wonder if something like a DBlog Central website would be useful. This site could maintain a complete and updated blogroll with descriptions and tags to help users navigate the DOC. A central website could also be a hub for sharing information with all diabetes bloggers on things like starting a blog, finding diabetes graphics, Twitter names, current campaigns of the DOC such as Spare a Rose, and a calendar of events.
I can’t envision how something like this could be created. Maybe we should have a governing board for the DOC and “they” could set up the website…. Yeah, right! I think that most of us would say that the magic of the DOC comes from its somewhat chaotic nature and no one wants to regulate its constant evolution. Why should we change something that isn’t broken?
In the meantime I plan to continue to have a blogroll. If you’re not on it and would like to be, please contact me.
Laddie, that week was the first in a long time that I missed a Twitter chat. Interesting topic. I’m sorry I missed it. Thanks for the recap. And I’m glad you’re on my blogroll!
I started using my blogroll (which is more than just D-blogs) as my personal bookmark page, that way I know it’s up to date(ish). I know mine isn’t all-inclusive and it never will be, because I just can’t keep up!
Thanks for diving into this topic, Laddie. I think it’s a really important subject – and you’ve asked some important questions. The one that resonated for me is “how old is too old?”
Is it valuable for me to send a valued reader off to a site that hasn’t been updated in years? Or worse yet, one that isn’t even there anymore? I didn’t think so, and simply couldn’t keep up with the rapidly changing landscape.
I think a blogroll is tremendously valuable – if you can keep up with it, which is a big job. And again, we still haven’t answered the question, how old is too old? 🙂
See you tonight for Gavin’s talk!
When I first started my blog I wanted to make sure my blog roll included every blog I read. In fact, I even contacted the respective owners of the blogs for permission to list theirs (no one said no). Lately, I have a hard time writing posts, let alone keeping a blog roll current. That is a goal I have set for the near future… post more, and update better.
Sometimes I think Blogrolls are not worth the effort, and I’ve contemplated getting rid of mine altogether (but thanks for the compliment! I guess it should remain…). I’ve also wished, sometimes, that it could just sync with my Feedly, since it’s so much easier to maintain that. But, alas, there is no harm with having inactive blogs in a Feedly, while it may be a poor idea to have it in a blogroll.
In response to this post, by the way, I’ve cleaned mine up and gotten rid of some of those dead link and seemingly dead blogs; but it’s hard to know when a blog is really gone. Some just take really long hiauses – in fact there was a post in July on a blog that was quiet for nearly a year prior. Generally, I feel that blogs with their own domain names (i.e. the blog owner paid for a URL, and continued to pay to keep it) get more consideration to remain than the free ones (like mine).
Anyway, I do think that, in the diabetes community, the purpose of blogrolls has kind of run its course. Nowadays, blogrolls are so long and cumbersome that they just result in random clicks here and there. The comments left on blogs (and clicking on their names) are much better ways to find other blogs we may be interested in. It’s dynamic, it gives a glimpse into the person whose writing, and it is visible to us “old-timers” who have a full reading-list and don’t look at other blog-rolls anymore.
But with that said, should there be some sort of “DOC-central”? I’ve often thought that their should be — with one master blog-roll (I really like the way Blogger can summarize the most recent posts, too), and perhaps some other blogging guidelines or blogging etiquette (more of a “blog for bloggers” rather than for the DOC at-large) — such as how to attribute photos, when and when not to link to each other’s blogs, and when prior permission or notification is appropriate. I wonder when it’s appropriate to address manufacturers by name, whether in a positive, negative, or indifferent context, and I wonder if the typical “I’m not a doctor” disclaimer is adequate. Then again, the great thing about the community is that we support individuality and want to put everyone on an even playing field without the clique-iness that inevitably comes about; with a one and only rule that is to be respectful to one another.
A few people have tried to host a master list. When I first found the DOC in 2006-2007 there were way less and it was a more manageable task. At first, it was even organized by age and location so you could find people near you. I think the quantity of people writing now makes a comprehensive list unmanageable. I also think that it’s okay that we don’t all write on everyone’s site. It’s okay to have a stronger connection with some people based on history and life experiences. We all just need to do the best we can.
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I would like to be on your blogroll!
I had one for years and removed it only recently when I realized that almost all of them are linked to folks who disappeared. I threw my hands up in the air and thought.. oh well. If someone wants a better blogroll I’ll send them elsewhere. (like here) to someone that updates theirs.
You’re added and I love your blog name! Can.D.Girl is super clever. I have added your blog to my Feedly reader also, so I look forward to reading it.
I have a blogroll, but I can’t figure out how to make it appear on my blog!
I thought a blogroll was just supposed to be the things I like best, or things other people might not know about, more than a list of everything I read.
My blogroll is also how I remind myself to read things that don’t show up in front of my face otherwise.
The other way I remember to read things is if I get a comment, I always follow the name back to its blog.
I am sure this is all wrong!
I’m glad my blogroll is invisible.
Katy-Every blogroll can be different and have a different purpose. Smaller ones that really do include your favorite blogs are probably more helpful than large ones like mine that give no guidance except a category. Both require some updating and unfortunately most of us are not very great at doing that.
For the moment I will continue to list lots of blogs. I have every blog in my blogroll on my Feedly reader and actually read them. Fortunately most people don’t publish very often or I would definitely be inundated!
I appreciate the add of Very Light, No Sugar to your blogroll list. Thank you from the “new kid on the playground!” 🙂 As I have only been blogging for 8 days now, the blogroll concept is new to me, I must admit. But now I know where to find some more good blogs to read! (Your blog is great as well, by the way).
After perusing your blogroll, there’s one thing for sure: diabetics have a knack for writing! I’m going to blame the rebellious islet cells for my lack of math skills from this point forward…
Thanks for adding me! 🙂 I haven’t made a blogroll but have thought about it.
This is a great topic, and I so appreciate you writing it! I’ve had it on my To-Do List for a long time, too, but haven’t really taken the time to update. Did some of that on my personal blog last night, thank to this post. One thing I like that Blogger allows is an automatic sorting option by Date, so it will tell me what the most recent posts are. I really like that, as it helps me keep track of what’s new.
There are definitely some things that I don’t like about Blogger (captchas!), but I do like the Blogroll features.
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