Dean Esmay has a very interesting post on the “gift economy” aspect of blogrolling, reflecting on why people blog, why he thinks long blogrolls are more valuable than short ones, and what it means to be blogrolled. Amusingly, I skipped over the entry the last couple of times I visited the site because the headline didn’t reflect the content and only read it because Steven Taylor mentioned it on his site.

My own blogroll is somewhere in between the extremes, I think. While I provide a reciprocal link for all the sites (that I know about, anyway) that blogroll OTB, I don’t add them to my blogroll unless I find them both interesting and valuable for my readers. So, for example, there are a couple of “personal journal” style weblogs that I read but don’t blogroll. Several sites are on both my reciprocal list and the main blogroll, as I sometimes discover sites when I notice their link to me and visit them occasionally and decide they’re good.

I also agree with Steven’s comments on Dean’s post: I find blogrolls sorted by “most recently updated” to be the most useful. I was fortunate to be discovered very early on by Scott Ott of ScappleFace and always noticed a spike in my traffic when we simultaneously had new content—which meant people rushed to read his latest post, saw that OTB was fresh too, and came to check me out. I still get more traffic from Scott’s site than I do a couple of the even bigger sites that have me blogrolled but with a static link.

Update (9:52): Dean has now switched over to blogrolling and showing which blogs have updated most recently!

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.