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Why I won't have a blogroll

2 min read

Dave Winer has been talking a bit about blogrolls lately: lists of blogs you like to read that typically sit on a sidebar or separate page of your site. I definitely used to have one, back when I had my Movable Type blog a million years ago, and I always found it a useful way to discover new people to read.

I’m kind of ambivalent about them today, though. I sat down to try and write one the other day, and realized that figuring out who to include gave me enormous anxiety. I read thousands of sources via RSS, most of which are blogs.

There’s a huge distinction in my mind between a following list — here are the people I’m actually following and reading — and a list of people who I’m choosing to highlight. The latter implies an unpublished list of people who I’m not choosing to highlight. Yikes.

I wonder how I would concretely go about building one. Would I organize them by whose writing I find interesting? How people post ebbs and flows, and what might be interesting one month might be devoid of content the next. Would I include the people who I consider to be friends or acquaintances? That kind of feels shitty and in-groupy. Would I just try and categorize blogs? There are sites for that.

So, I don’t have a blogroll, and I don’t think I’m going to build one. Instead, my Sources page is powered by my actual RSS subscriptions and updates every 5 minutes. That’s probably as close as I want to come. But, I’d love to read other peoples’ subscriptions and discover great new writers that way.

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