In the early days of blogging, anything before 2010, building a healthy blogroll is how bloggers formed communities. I would list blogs on my blogroll that had something to offer my readers/followers. If other blogs were listing you then that meant a wider audience, more exposure, and a good sign that you were doing something right. From a strictly reader point of view, if you enjoyed a particular blog then chances are you would enjoy some of the blogs that blogger enjoyed reading and recommended. Blogrolls, Real Simple Syndication (RSS) and blog aggregators were the tools of the trade back when regular folks dreamed of quitting their jobs and blogging full time.
Blogging is not what it used to be. There are still professional bloggers that do this for a living but it’s no longer all the rage and fewer people these days dream of their blog hitting the big time. Communities are built today on social media platforms whether you blog or not. So the question is this: Does the blogroll still need to be a thing? You will still see blogs with a blogroll on the sidebar. I have a couple of designations; Blogroll are blogs that I follow and/or recommend and Useful Resources are more like the reference section of a library. Visit Thinking Out Loud and Internet Monk for lengthy blogrolls divided into multiple sections. The thing is though, with a couple of exceptions most of the news articles, blog posts and videos I watch online are because of links I see on Facebook and Twitter. My blog reader is not the first or even second place I go to find new web content. I follow Paul Wilkinson on Thinking Out Loud (and it’s counterpart Christianity 201) and Jimmy Humphrey (which is more podcast than blog) because those are guys that I have history and repore with. We retweet each other, link to each other’s stuff etc. but it’s the social media platform(s) that we’re interacting on.
So please give me your input. Is a blogroll a throwback to the past rather than the way forward, like giving someone a Rocketmail email address or carrying a Zune? We know that social media works. Is maintaining a blogroll redundant or worse, a waste of time and resources that could be better spent?