NBI – Playing Blogroll Breadcrumbs

So many people have posted actual substantial constructive advice as part of the New Blogger Initiative that I am actually a bit stunned.

There is a surprising lack of the sort of advice I dislike, the pretentious “one true way or your doing it wrong” sorts of posts that have annoyed me over the years, that I am starting to wonder what I can add.

I have another post under way that is something of a philosophical post on the subject of blogging.  But since I can sum it up in one line… Be the blog you want to read… I wonder if I will ever bother finishing it up.

So while that post gathers moss in my drafts folder… along with about 40 other posts at last count… I am going to suggest you play a game.  And I mean the collective you, both the old hands and new bloggers alike.

This game involves blogrolls.

Wikipedia’s Glossary of Blogging describes the blogroll as:

A list of other blogs that a blogger might recommend by providing links to them (usually in a sidebar list).

The blogroll is a strange beast, both over valued and under appreciated.  It is, to my mind, a philosophical statement by the blog owner about their relationship with the community of MMO blogs.

Some blogs have short blogrolls or just a few key blogs they really like.  Some list only well established blogs.  Others try to call out the more obscure.  Some focus on only a single game, like WoW of EVE, while others are a complete mish-mash.  Some will only link if the other blog links back, and some just throw out links where they feel they are due.  A few blogs try to include links to all the MMO blogs they can find… Kill Ten Rats is noteworthy in this… while some blogs decline to put up a blogroll at all.

And some blogrolls are well tended gardens, while others are so full of dead links you wonder when the last time the owner updated things.

My own philosophy is to have a blogroll that is short enough to be manageable and which sends people to active MMO blogs that post content which I think adds value to the community as a whole.  So I keep an eye on my blogroll, hiding blogs that are down or on hiatus and adding new ones from time to time.

Oy, look at all those words and I still haven’t gotten to the game yet.  So here it is.

Blogroll Breadcrumbs

-Start at your blog’s main page

-Pick a blog from your blogroll and click on it

From that blogs blogroll, pick another blog and click on that one

-Repeat until you are at least ten blogs out

-From that final blog on your outward journey, attempt to find your way back to your own blog once again via blogrolls without visiting any of the same blogs you saw on the way out.  If your blog is new and you fear it might not be in a blogroll, choose a blog you like, presumably one you link to, as a final destination.

-Hints: Kill Ten Rats… or Bio Break… have nice long blogrolls if you get stuck.  Try to get to them.  Tobold’s blog is well linked, but is a blogroll dead end. Don’t go there unless you chose that as your final destination.

-Winning: The journey is the reward.  You can find all sorts of blogs you have never seen before, all of which are connected, at least in one direction, to your own blog.  You will find small pockets of blogs linked together, often connected by a single thread to other groupings of blogs.  You can click through waves of WoW blogs, and suddenly end up in an EVE or LOTRO cluster.  You can find blogs that have been dormant for ages and blogs that have only sprung up recently.  And you will start to get a sense of just how many fellow bloggers there are out there.

Oh, and actually finding your way back to your own blog is pretty cool too, especially if you are lost in a sea of new blogs and suddenly spot that link back to you or somebody you read regularly.

27 thoughts on “NBI – Playing Blogroll Breadcrumbs

  1. Ardent Defender

    I know on my Blog my Blog Roll “isn’t” a recommended list nor is it really there for my readers. My Blog Roll is there for me first because all are Blogs I actually read on a regular basis of some sort and there to provide me a quick link to get to those Blogs. It’s why I call my list Blogs I Read.

    Now once I’ve checked out most of them to see what’s new to read if I’m done on the list I know various Blogs on my read list very well that have more interesting and diverse Blog Rolls and I scroll down their list to find more stuff to read. Occasionally and often I come across someone new or interesting Blog from that list. I may then add that Blog to my Read list. If I don’t I may forget how to get back to it or even where I found it.

    But my Blog list serves me and my reading habbit first. However it serves as a list that readers can maybe find interesting reading from as well. I just try to keep the list at a manageable length as well while adding from a variety of interests. It’s tough to keep up with what’s going on if you don’t read from a variety of sources across a community of MMO’s and Blogs.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Ardent Defender – Looking at your blogroll, I might just put you on the list of good places to head in finding your way home. That is quite a list.

    My own blogroll started as my regular visit list. But Google reader has somewhat supplanted that for me these days, if only because I can watch a lot of barely-active blogs waiting for updates.

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  4. HarbingerZero

    I hit the outer limits of weird before I got to ten blogs out, but it was a fun journey. The return trip only took three clicks though, so I was closer to home than I thought.

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  5. bhagpuss

    I’ll play the blogroll game this weekend.

    I’m going to tidy up my blogroll at the end of May, when the NBI finishes. The whole NBI thing has been extremely useful. I’ve learned a lot. I never really had any useful advice to offer, though, so I just stuck to useless advice. And encouragement!

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  6. rowan

    I’m gonna have to wait ’til the weekend, too. One of the reasons I like my blogroll on Blogger is I can set it to show recently updated first and limit the number showing. Less active blogs drop of the bottom with me having to actively prune. Of course, it requires the targets to have an RSS feed or they never show up. I harped on that in my last NBI post.

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  9. Ravanel

    Was reading through some blogs, stumbled upon this one and thought it sounded like a great idea. What Ardent Defender said: I use my Blogroll mostly for myself to check out what’s up. I had never actively done this, so I followed your advice and went after the breadcrumbs. I started out by click to some SWTOR blogs, since I don’t know many of them at all, and did indeed find some awesome blogs I had not seen before. I was also very lucky that my tenth blog all of a sudden contained rowan’s blog, which I knew, and I was home in two clicks.

    This was fun, I should do this more. :)

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  10. Giddeon

    i liked your rationale behind how you approach a blogroll. i think i’m going to add as many fellow bloggers as i can at first and then pair it down as time goes on (especially blogs that go dark / on hiatus etc).

    the game sounds fun and I’ll definitely give it a go before the end of the month / nbimmo initiative.

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