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?