Blogrolls, RIP

Are blogrolls gone forever?  What\'s replacing them?Duncan Riley laments the demise of the blogroll.

Once upon a time in the land of the blogs, the blogroll reigned suprmeme. Everyone had a blogroll, and it was a great way to discover new and interesting blogs. But somewhere along the way blogrolls fell out of favor, and you don’t seem them much at all today.

[…]

Unlike other areas of blogging, where today we see great new services (such as in the commenting space) nothing has seemingly popped up to replace blogrolls. Outbrain offers contextual links across sites, which is a handy feature, but it’s not a blogroll replacement. Something like Regator, but offered white-label could be another possible alternative. Inquisitir iQ wasn’t created as a blogroll alternative, but it’s the closest way I’ve got today to sharing links to content and people I like (and I’ll be adding some new pages next week).

He expounds on this in great detail in an embedded video, using a nifty Australian accent to boot.

I’ve still got a blogroll using blogrolling.com but it’s AJAX’ed so you don’t see the links unless you click for them. But mine, like most still in existence, is a museum, preserving my blog reading habits circa 2005. There are numerous defunct blogs on the list and it really hasn’t been updated at all in two years. Nor do I use it myself, like I once did, as a source for posting materials.

In addition to the causes Duncan suggests, I think it’s mostly a function of the rise of aggregators.  Most of us read blogs through RSS feeds, memeorandum, and even social media sites like Digg, Reddit, Twitter, and FriendFeed.  (The last, incidentally, is how I found this post, via a link shared by K Welch.)

[UPDATE: Eric Berlin suggests an explanation that I overlooked: “The rise of widgets and the greatly increased focus on jamming ads into every nook and cranny likely have had a role in squeezing out blogroll real estate.” It’s probably at least part of the reason I AJAX’ed mine — so that I could put it back where readers would see it without sacrificing much sidebar space.]

Do any of you readers actually still use the blogroll?  Is it worth a blogger’s time to update their lists?

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, General, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    It would seem to me that a tool that extracted the blog links from your posts, continually updating the top X number based on your posts, would be more useful than a blog roll. That would keep the blog roll up to date and reflect the sites you are talking about. If you really wanted to get fancy, it could also append the sites you look at when you surf, though that might provide a bit of unwanted levity depending on where you go. It could also keep a history to note sites that you link to the most.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    What yaj suggests above is certainly doable. A “what I’m reading” could also be automated.

    I think the real issues with both blogrolls and what you mentioned the other day, linking, is RSS feeds. Their increased use has made the authority measurements irrelevant.

  3. Ben says:

    I use John Cole’s blog roll for most of the political sites I read. In the morning, after reading Balloon Juice, I right-click and open a new tab on 20 or so sites, including OTB.

  4. Hoodlumman says:

    James, this is an absolutely silly post and because of it, I’m de-linking you from my blogroll!

    *hee!*

    Remember that usage for blogrolls?

  5. Bithead says:

    Interesting, that this post comes so closely on the heels of your comments on other traffic boosters….

  6. Michael says:

    Interesting, that this post comes so closely on the heels of your comments on other traffic boosters….

    He’s posting about something related to something he’s recently posted about. How is that interesting?

  7. James Joyner says:

    Remember that usage for blogrolls?

    All too well, I’m afraid.

  8. Bithead says:

    He’s posting about something related to something he’s recently posted about. How is that interesting?

    Not exactly. Different styles of traffic boosting, I guess is the simplest way to put it. They’re of interest to me since I do run my own site in addtion to (by James’ leave) being quite active here.

  9. Michael says:

    Not exactly. Different styles of traffic boosting, I guess is the simplest way to put it. They’re of interest to me since I do run my own site in addtion to (by James’ leave) being quite active here.

    It’s an interesting post, but the fact that he posted it soon after another post on a similar/related topic, that’s not interesting.

  10. Michael says:

    Hey, how can we put images in our posts now?

  11. James Joyner says:

    Hey, how can we put images in our posts now

    If you’re talking about the little gray box with the white people symbol in it, just sign up for a Gravatar and associate it with your comment email.

    If you’re talking images generally, you can use [img src=”imageurl”>. Preferably, it’d be an image on your own server or mine, though, since you’d otherwise be leeching someone’s bandwidth.

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    More then one blog you say, Ive checked out the typing donkey’s on other blogs, to much unfiltered braying, at lest the stable you have here is some what bridled, and James you should have given Bit a job a long time ago.

    Pictures of my favorite poopers would be cool.

  13. Michael says:

    If you’re talking about the little gray box with the white people symbol in it

    Well yes, I wouldn’t have made it sound so racist.(/sarcasm)

    and James you should have given Bit a job a long time ago.

    Doing what?

  14. I gave up on the concept of a blogroll a long time ago. To me, adding value to someone else’s blog doesn’t come in the form of a blogroll but in the form of a link in the context of my content. The amount of benefit froma link in a blogroll is about similar to Colbert’s one black friend, so to speak. It’s token.

  15. Doug says:

    The reason I first bookmarked your site is because of your blogroll, and how it updated itself for people that recently posted.

    I still do my blog surfing the old fashioned way, through favorites, rather than rss feeds. One day I’ll break down and get an rss reader I like.

  16. […] Outside The Beltway   […]

  17. Soccer Dad says:

    Independents seem to vanish in the haze…

    Last October I made it to a very flattering list. Soccer Dad was listed as one of the 100 most influential blogs for 2006 in a study by Carnegie Mellon University. (I was ranked 22.) I’m not going to pretend that I understand the algorithm that produ…

  18. Michael says:

    I still do my blog surfing the old fashioned way, through favorites, rather than rss feeds. One day I’ll break down and get an rss reader I like.

    Just get Firefox with the LiveClick plugin.

  19. KipEsquire says:

    False dichotomy. The RSS aggregator and the blogroll can be one and the same. Bloglines and Blogrolling have both offered this option (i.e., embedding on a website) for years. I use Bloglines for my blogroll and as an emergency backup aggregator.

    Google Reader does not yet offer (to the best of my knowledge) the option of embedding it onto one’s blog, but I’m sure it will come eventually.

  20. […] EDIT TO ADD: Blogrolls, RIP […]