Thursday, November 13, 2003

To link, or not to link - that is the question

I left a comment over at Spudlets yesterday, but I thought it might be worth expounding on over here (anything's an improvement over most of this crap). Spud pointed out the information overload that we deal with as internet junkies and how difficult it can be to find bloggers you like amidst all the other bloggers out there (with more popping up every day).

This is what I do. Every one of my daily reads is in my Favorites/Blogs folder. They also appear on the sidebar. Some of these folks know about and visit A.L.A.N.H.A. regularly, and some may have been here once or twice, but I'm not really on their radar. The regular visitors I consider friends. This creeps out my coworker (the one who knows about me blogging) because I don't REALLY know any of these people. She kind of thinks blogs are creepy in general, though, and thinks visiting blogs is just one notch short of stalking...anyway, I digress. The others I consider friends too, but only in the way that you would normally relate to well-known people. I know who Donald Rumsfeld is, but I have no expectation (in fact, it would creep ME out) that he knows who I am, or that having run across my name once, would ever have occasion to recall it. So, for instance, while James Joyner from Outside the Beltway may have heard of LittleA (from the occasional comment I have left), I have no expectation that he knows who I am or reciprocates my visits to OTB. However, he seems like the kind of guy I COULD be friends with and that's an important consideration for who gets in my Favorites/Blogs folder and who gets on the sidebar.

As I read my regular blogs, I find other blogs that pique my interest. Sometimes these other blogs are mentioned in posts - "Go here. Read this." Other times, they are permalinked. Sometimes I find them through comments they leave here or on other blogs. Occasionally, I find them because they linked me first. If someone catches my eye, I put them in a subfolder called Favorites/Blogs/Pending. The size of this folder varies, but right now has about eight blogs in it. When I have extra time, I visit these blogs. If I consistently find that they interest me, they get moved to the Favorites/Blogs folder and added to the sidebar. If they don't interest me regularly, or don't post regularly (a big minus), or don't seem to be the kind of people I would want to hang out with, they get sent to the old Recycle Bin and flushed. I find, by using this method, that I have some consistency in looking for new blogs. I also avoid adding people to the sidebar that I don't really read. If it's on there, I read it.

I have also removed people from the sidebar. I don't make a big deal out of it. I don't "de-link" them because I'm mad at them. I take them off if I have stopped being interested in them or because they post so infrequently that it's not worth the effort of checking them regularly. I announce new additions with a post. I do NOT announce when I remove someone.

I do not send emails asking to be linked. I'd much rather be given a permalink by someone who reads A.L.A.N.H.A regularly than by someone who just has a long list of links.

Anyway, those are the rules I play by.

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