Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Blog Roll - The Internet equivalent of your high school lunch table

Let's face it. Who you were in high school was defined as much by what you did and how you dressed as who you sat with - at lunch.

FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMNONT HIGH certainly made that clear. The Dorks sat at the Dork table. The Jocks at the Jock table. Preps with Preps. Freaks with Freaks... and so on.

Today, this high school mentality is mirrored in the blog roll. It says, I read these people. I look at these pages fairly regualarly. And, most importantly, look at me and my cool friends.

It's quite natural. But it's also interesting since people make a big deal of updating their list of friends. Those who get on are given special status. Do those who don't make it continue to buzz around with trays of grilled cheese sandwiches looking for a place to sit? The recent need for a "blogroll amnesty day" (thank you Mr. Excitement) suggests they do. Afterall, why else devote a day to remove names from the rolls without feeling guilty? You wouldn't if feelings couldn't get bruised by such things.

Some people are very persnickety about who's on their list.

Some people aren't.

Some lists are made early in a blog's life and then forgotten about. Links that linger and ossify long past their expiration date.

I imagine there will be books about the history of the blog that go into the social and intellectual implications of this phenomenon.

But for now, in the theatre world, looking at these rolls, you also get an idea of what theatre cliques people belong to. Because who is not on that list says as much about a particular blogger's tastes and attitude as who is.

Just like the school lunch table.

My policy is simple. I try to put people on my blog when:

They comment on my blog.
They put me on their blog roll.
I read their blog and think it's interesting.
I know you and I discover you have a blog.
I find a blog that I feel has particular relevance to the idea behind my blog (working and finding my place as a writer in the United States with a more than strong interest in theatre).

I remove you from the roll if it looks to me like you've stopped posting.

Or you send me an email that says you don't want to be friends with a dork like me anymore.


EDIT: Interestingly, I've also noticed that I often navigate to other pages/blogs through my own blog roll but rarely use other people's blog rolls to get around. I suspect I am not alone in this.


Blue Gal said...

That's a lovely post you've got there. My rule is, if you've got more than 70 rss subscribers, you don't need to be on my blogroll. I make a few exceptions, but hey, small blogs rule.

I'm sending your URL to a writer friend o' mine, Doug at You might like his network. Supportive group there.

Doug said...

Yup, you guessed it, Blue Gal sent me.

My blogroll is a convenience. These are people who read me, and/or I read them. On occasion, I've dropped folks from the roll for some unforgivable sin or another (racism, rampant sexism, that sort of thing) but since I'm a halfway decent judge of character, those folks usually don't make it onto the roll in the first place.

If someone hasn't updated their blog in more than, say, six months, I'll drop him.

Unlike Blue Gal, I include a few heavy-duty players, but that's more for my convenience than anything else.

Fred Wickham said...

Malachy -- I still want to be friends with a dork like you, so keep me on your blogroll. I've always felt a little guilty about the placing my blogroll at the bottom, but I'm so fussy about the "look" of my blog (don't want to clutter the clean lines with useful information, you know). Anyhow, it's nice you wrote about this subject. Blogroll politics, etc, is something I've often wondered about. You may have opened up an interesting discussion.

Adam said...

a friend infected me with a peeve re: the expression 'i've got...' do you have got anything?

not to be persnickity, 'natch.

Malachy Walsh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malachy Walsh said...

Adam, I've got no freakin' idea what you've got on to.

But I'm glad to know that "Persnickity" has more "i"s in it than I originally thought.

Adam said...

My comment ended up on this post, when it was intended for the 2/28 post (read the first sentence on that day's post).

BTW, love the blog.

malachy walsh said...

Ah, I see. It all makes sense now.

(This leaving a comment on the wrong post has happened to me before, as well. FRUS-trating.)

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