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.