Plowing through the blogroll field

Tractor and hay-bailing equipment

I don’t suppose that headline makes sense.  Here’s the inside scoop.  I want to talk about blogrolls, but my only available photos consist of tractors, fields, hay rakes, gear mechanisms, hay and deer skulls.

Therefore…(do you get it now?)…let’s talk about Plowing through the blogroll field.  You know, loosening the soil around the subject of blogrolls and perhaps getting some discussion seeds planted.

Glimpse of red tractor from road

First, I am interested in how you other bloggers decide to add blogs to your blogroll.  Is it all random?  Do you simply add everyone who interests you?  Your friends only?  People who comment on your blogs?  What is your criteria?

Chain and sprocket

When I started a blogroll in December 2008, I added everybody who even blinked at my blog.  Anyone who wrote an interesting blog (or who took fascinating photos) entered the list.

Old-fashioned hay rake

I looked at it this way–if you stopped by to visit and comment–I would stop by to reciprocate.  So many of us developed great relationships over the last fifteen months (OK, give or take those 10 days when I deserted blogging.)

The blog roll (ummm, I mean the blog field)  became an interactive tool, a way to stay in touch with commenters.  To develop relationship.  To remember to give as much as one shared. Without the blogroll, I would forget folks.  With the blogroll, it was easy to scroll down the list and go a’visiting other farms.

Gentle curl of hay

Lately, I went through the blogroll and pruned away bloggers who A) have quit blogging or B) lost contact.  It felt a little nerve-wracking, because you don’t want to prune away folks who may return to the blogging-world.  But hey–if any of you prunees are reading–if you start commenting again regularly and I see you’re writing again–we’ll be blogging buds and harvest hay together again.  Honest.

Bleached deer skull hanging in tree

I now have thirty-six blogs I’m following regularly.  Some of you have shared that you don’t keep a blog roll any more because it gets too complicated to say “yes” or “no” to bloggers.  Others have an entirely different blog roll formula.  You’re on the list; you’re not.

Here’s my scoop:  If you comment regularly or you’re a personal friend or you have a blog I love–you’re on the list.  Otherwise, I may file you in my “Favorites” for awhile to see if we develop a relationship.  There are about seven blogs sitting in Favorites right now waiting to see whether we connect at a more-than-waving level.

So what about you guys?  What do you think?  How many blogs are too many to follow before you start going crazy?  Do you even think about your blogroll at all?

As for the deer skull photo…don’t know how that fits in.  It was hanging in a tree near the tractor and looked interesting.  If you figure out how that fits into this blogging discussion, let us know!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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51 Responses to Plowing through the blogroll field

  1. Fountainpen says:

    My thoughts about how the deer skull connects with your words on
    bloggers…….well, I guess some bloggers are just hung out to dry just
    like the deer skull was hung out to dry, out there…..makes sense to me….

    Foutainpen

  2. Lona says:

    It’s gotta be mighty important to hit the blogroll on my sidebar. (Which reminds me I should do some prunin’ too.) But, OTOH, I follow TONS of blogs. Always good reading showing up in my bloggy reader. Including yours…

    • Kathy says:

      Lona, I am curious what a bloggy reader might be. (Dawn mentions Google reader, maybe I should check into this. Might be easier than using the blog roll for this.) Lovely to see you here! Love hearing what everyone is sharing about their blogrolls.

  3. Dawn says:

    It’s random for me, the blogroll, I check on other people’s blogs and click on some of their blogrolls if something sounds interesting. If I end up engaged while reading I sometimes add it to mine. But mine needs weeding too…too many and it takes too long to check them all out each day.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn–oh my goodness, I can’t seem to manage every day. Two or three times a week at the most. Or sometimes a few each day. I just don’t want to miss anyone–but don’t want to get overwhelmed either. Can you imagine if you had 50 blogs you felt obligated to read EVERY DAY? Wouldn’t we go bonkers?

  4. Kathy – If it’s on my blogroll, it means that I the writing and/or photographs of the author engage me. They make me think, make me laugh, make me laugh, or dazzle me with their photography. You’re on my blogroll.

  5. Marianne says:

    I think you set that deer skull picture up nicely with your comment about prunning the blog roll, but then, I have a weird sense of humour! Great pictures, as always.

  6. janet says:

    My blogroll, which I call “Poets & Rebels” are mostly haiku blogs or people with great rebellious attitudes- like you 🙂 They are people I visit regularly and really enjoy.

    Then I have the “Travel Guide” which are other sites, some blogs, that I like for one reason or another.

    Periodically I go through and make sure they’re still active and that I still like ’em.

    • Kathy says:

      Janet, thank you (bowing low). A rebellious attitude! Hurray! Let’s rebel against complacency, non-creativity, ordinariness….no, forget that last one. We should never rebel against ordinariness. Only when it’s a dull ordinariness. I love your haiku blog http://jaleeza.blogspot.com/ because it’s so interesting to prune words that much. (Not that I can do it. I just admire others who can.)

  7. I have three blogs, and only one has an outdated blogroll. The others, plus redoing that one, are down on the do do list, though working their way up! So I guess you’d say I’m a blog roll wasteland, aptly represented by the deer skull.

  8. Dawn says:

    I have taken to including all my daily reads into Google Reader. It allows me to stay current on everyone. There are big downsides – I suspect some of my favorites (like you) may think I’m not reading because I don’t show up as a unique visitor – but thru Reader. I love the idea of Blogroll because it’s a way to visit the friends of friends – and get more cool friends.

    I need blogroll maintenance… 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      OK, Dawn, I would love to know more about Google Reader and how it works. I’ve loved meeting lots of folks through other people’s blogrolls. That has been fun! However, lately haven’t had the time to go Blogroll Cruisin’.

  9. Jeff Stroud says:

    Thus far I only have three people on a “blogroll” so to speak, since I don’t have a blog of my own, though I have been contemplating it more and more…
    Kathy, thank your honesty and your asking of all those blogger out there… The three people are friends from Gaia.com, this far, so I may add more, I have followed many of your links to other, and many links of others to creative, artistic blog through the last month or so…

    The dear skull has to do with what will happen if you no longer connect with your blog… left to hang out to dry… or something like that or the dear skull was just and interesting subject to take a photo of?

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, you should start a blog! On WordPress or another venue. It’s been fun to have this space…especially since Gaia.com bit the dust. Glad to hear you’ve followed the blogroll links to other cool, exciting places. Like your interpretation of the deer skull! Thanks. It’s a joy to see you here.

  10. Barbara says:

    The blogroll feature is new to me as I just started my current blog at WordPress in February. Before this I had a blog on a domain my husband created for me, but the guest book kept filling with spam that was overwhelming to keep weeding out, and when I removed the guest book I lost all feedback. Then came my blog at Gaia Community, where I loved knowing that people would comment and I could reply, and then zip on over to their blogs. But only folks in the community. When you introduced me to WordPress, Kathy, it seemed like the perfect solution to all these problems!

    I spent the whole day Sunday, and big chunks of Monday and Tuesday, exploring the options here at WordPress and creating two more blogs. So far I’ve added my friends’ blogs to my main blogroll. To my quote collection blogroll I added some of my favorite links to things that interest me locally and spiritually. To my family history blogroll I added genealogical websites. I spent a little time yesterday looking for other genealogy blogs and added a couple of those to that blogroll. Perhaps a point in time will come when I begin weeding out the rolls, but so far I’m still browsing around in hopes of finding a few more to add.

    Hopefully my blogrolls will eventually come to be like yours, Kathy, interactive tools, and a way to stay in touch with people and make friends. Not too long ago, when a new grocery store opened up very close to home, I decided that it would make sense to start shopping there and save a lot of gas. It was so overwhelming at first, trying to locate everything I needed to buy. It took some time, but finally, after many months, I feel at home there. Now that experience seems to be a metaphor for making myself home here, too. Sooner or later I will find connections with others!!

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, this is fascinating! I love to hear your take on your new blogs and blogrolls. (My “baby” blog Simply Here http://risingnow.wordpress.com/
      doesn’t have a blogroll. I don’t know if it ever will.

      Interesting that you’ve started a family history blog and a quote collection blog. You know, it does take awhile to find your way around a new site and feel comfortable and at home. I think sometimes folks give up too quickly. If you keep reaching out and commenting and connecting, pretty soon your readership will build up. And a small readership can sometimes be more intimate and sweet than a big one… If Simply Here gets 23 hits in a day it’s a big day. And I love it! It’s like a little tiny room with a window open to the sea breeze. Love that you’re on WordPress now, Barbara.

  11. Cindy Lou says:

    Since I don’t have a blog (yet?!?), I have no blog roll but must say that I have used you guys’ rolls to discover new sites, friends and adventures. So thanx to all of you who do keep a blog roll as it’s been my way of branching out to people/places I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

    PS – Fountainpen, I don’t know if I ever said thanx to you and Kathy for the lovely notecard with my granddaughter, Kenzie, and her dog, Macy…..it was such a treat to receive and now sits in a place of honor on my desk at school. Not only a reminder of her, but of the connectedness I’ve been blessed with by sharing this journey with all of you! Your card came tucked in a card that Kathy had made – a beautifu fall leaf on creamy parchment – two treats in one! What a deal 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, yep, and when ARE you going to start writing that blog? You and Fountainpen should get a’movin’! Glad our blogrolls have helped move you outward into a lot of new & exciting places. And how sweet that the card Fountainpen made is sitting on your desk at school. And here I thought you would send it to someone!

  12. lesdaprez says:

    Don’t prune too much, Kathy… Like you say you miss those ones who return to the blogging world… Great photos, too…I like the chain and sprocket… To me, it displays a writing connection. A need to write…. GOD Bless…

    • Kathy says:

      You are so right about maybe missing the blogging returnees. Maybe I should put them in “hidden” mode. that way they’re still there and I could check ’em privately from time to time. God bless you, too!

  13. amy says:

    Oh, good. I was hoping you’d still keep me on your blogroll.
    My roll consists of crafting sites that have frequent ideas/projects/ and updates, a few noteworthy U.P. sites (upwoods, of course included), and family sites (the fam. I don’t have the heart to take off the list, but they know they’re slacking). I did just move a couple sites strictly just to my private favorites, because they were lacking current updates and their subject matter didn’t connect readily to my readers.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Amy, don’t you worry! You’re a fellow U.P-er! I wouldn’t take the chainsaw to your blog…at least not until we need some wood. (OK, excuse that one. That was a really bad joke.) I am liking the idea about moving some sites to private favorites. What a good idea.

  14. Aphrael says:

    I find that the WordPress “Blog Surfer” is a handy tool. That and the “Tag Surfer”. What I do is surf the latter and then comment on blogs I find interesting. If I read further and like the blog as a whole, it gets added to my blog roll, and then to the “Blog Surfer” as well. So even though it may look like I’m not visiting that often, actually I am. I just don’t always leave comments.

    • Kathy says:

      Aphrael, in the early days I liked to use the Blog Surfer and Tag Surfer, too. It’s funny–there used to be too few blogs to read and I desperately wanted more. Now there are lots of blogs to read and too few hours in the day!

  15. I have three blog rolls on my blog.

    I’ll talk about the 2nd and 3rd first. The 2nd is a short list of professional photographers whose blogs or websites I have and do find very helpful and interesting to me.

    The 3rd is a list of photography websites and blogs which give very useful and timely information about photography which I think other people visiting my blog may find useful.

    The 1st is a list of favorite blogs of friends and people I have found via comments left or searching other photo related blogs. The person/people running these blogs have become “blogmates” of mine via comments and interacting with my blog over the last two years. Some are no longer blogging so they are hidden to the public. I always hope they may come back. The current list has very active people I really enjoy. Like you, Kathy. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Scott, I noticed your blogroll. It looks as professional as your photographs! I’ve noticed that some other people like to organize their blogrolls by subject. Like “photography” or “nature” or “writing” or “personal” or “Haiku”. That’s always an idea for folks to try.

      Love the term “blogmates”! We’re blogmates, Scott. 🙂

  16. Nicole Smith says:

    I’m really new to this wordpress scene so confess I don’t fully understand what a blogroll is, though I am starting to have an inkling. I am finding it challenging to keep up with blogs all over the place after having been used to finding almost all my online friends on a single site . Sic transit gloria mundi… change is inevitable and I am trying to be Borg and adapt well 🙂

    Love you muchly, Kathy,

    Nicole

    • Kathy says:

      Nicole, I am absolutely thrilled that you’re a’visitin’ WordPress and stepping out into the blogging world. On Gaia we kept track of our friends through our friends list or through group activities…in this WordPress world you kind of keep track of people through a “blogroll” which is listed on our front page. Although some people subscribe to blogs and others utilize (just found this out) a Reader. Heck, I’m learning along with you! Adaptively yours with love, the former Centria

  17. Dearest Kathy,

    I love this question. I do link to other websites that I enjoy, that I hope my readers will take a tour of. I just linked to a woman you would love- her site is called Nellie Windmill- she asks some great questions and posts beautiful art. I link to people whose work I want to support, who have inspired me. I put in my own bookmarks bar blogs I want to return to. I don’t necessarily put those on my website. I love seeing what other bloggers are interested in. I learn so much about new things that way. I like that about the blog world. That is how my work has expanded.
    And the skull? Perfect for this time of year. Evidence of life, a long life lived in a beautiful place. This planet. I have been squatting in the vernal pools spying on wood frogs, peepers and salamanders all week. Look for a new post today about that. Maybe photos too.
    Hugs to you and blessings on the day! Yours, S

    • Kathy says:

      Suzi, you always have such fascinating things to add to the discussion! (I am working my way through the blogroll and should be at your blog –Laundry Line Divine http://laundrylinedivine.com/ –hey!–you’re next!
      A post about wood frogs, peepers and salamanders sounds wonderful. See you soon!

  18. Cindy Lou says:

    I might send it on to someone special, but I can’t quite bear to part with it yet! 🙂

  19. Lona says:

    Kathy, I blog on blogspot. Blogspot (while less than wonderful in many ways–I don’t suggest you switch!) has a blog reader built in. I can “follow” blogs, and they feed into my blog reading list. I get the title and the first few sentences. If my interest is piqued, I click on it, and am taken to the blog post itself.

    That’s the “bloggy reader” I spoke of upthread. Maybe wordpress has such a thing?

    • Kathy says:

      Lona, that is interesting about blogspot and the blog followers. We’re learning so much here! I will check out the possibility of a bloggy reader. Perhaps there’s one here, as well.

  20. Barb says:

    Oh, Gosh, Kathy! I had no idea! I see I’m on your roll – and I don’t even have a roll on my blog… Now what? I do come though – I observe closely, I think before I comment. Does that count? I hope so. (I visit several blogs – yours included – on a regular basis. I just don’t “roll” them.) That eliminates having to roll them off the sidebar when I lose interest!

    • Kathy says:

      Barb. It counts! It truly counts! One of my goals in life is to think more before I comment. Or just to settle in deeper and listen deeper to what folks say. It’s easier to do in real life than on-line. Because I’ve always been a skim-reader. I have heard other bloggers avoid having blogrolls for the same reason as you. This is so fascinating.

  21. Scott says:

    Since I’m kinda new to this whole personal blogging thing I can’t provide much input. But I like people who do keep blogrolls because if the name of the blog sounds interesting or piques my interest I’ll check it out. I wouldn’t necessarily go Google for someone’s blogs.

    Alas, I’ve been so busy with a couple other ventures that I haven’t been able to touch my blog in over a week. I think that that’s the way it will go though. A little here, a little there.

    But thank you for keeping a blog roll. I found a couple of great websites because of your keeping a blogroll.

    • Kathy says:

      Scott, your approach is interesting, too. It will be interesting to see what you think in a year from now. If you feel the same way about blogging or if it’s changed. I am glad you were able to find some good websites through the blogroll! That’s an important reason for keeping one…to link others to great places ’round the world.

  22. Jessica says:

    I see you have a lot of comments on this subject. My blogroll consists of folks who I have a relationship with (ie friends, family, etc), blogs that I read on a regular basis and blogs that are similar in content and that I think my readers would enjoy. I will add commenter blogs to my blogroll if they are regulars but I participate in a lot of the blog prompt sites so there is now way I would add every random commenter. I wouldn’t feel too bad about pruning. I regularly do it too. There is no reason to direct my readers to a blog that isn’t maintained.

    Jessica

    • Kathy says:

      Jessica, yep, lots of folks want to “plow through the subject of blogrolls” too! (Kind of a lame headline, yes? LOL) Sounds like you and I have similar blogroll views. When I wrote that big zillion hits blog (a zillion years ago–was it really the beginning of March??) lots of people said “add me to your blogroll”. But I didn’t because who knew if we’d ever say howdy ever again? But if they came back…or if their sites looked really interesting….now we’re buddies.

  23. flandrumhill says:

    Just this morning Kathy, I had blogrolls on the brain… wondering if I should eliminate mine altogether. Perhaps being blogmates means we’re a bit on the same wavelength.

    I make use of my blogroll to systematically check for updates and often use others’ blogrolls as a starting point for visiting something new.

    I really like the widget/tool that I see on some sites, ie. Books in Northport that shows a list of recently updated blogs. Not sure if that’s available on WordPress. Do you know?

    • Kathy says:

      It’s so interesting (I keep saying that) how some of us can get so in synch and think about the same things. Are you thinking about eliminating yours altogether because its gets too hard who to add and who to delete? Yes, I really love that list of recently updated blogs that appear on some sites. I think Gerry might have one. But can’t figure out how to do it here. Haven’t spent the time to figure out how to do it. And then comes another problem…do you go through all 35 or 50 blogs on your blogroll and have everything come up that way? That seems like a lot of work. (Which is the only reason I haven’t pursued it more.)

  24. p.j. grath says:

    I add blogs whose writers whose interests I share, as well as those who are geographical neighbors. If a blog falls inactive over several months, I remove it from my list. Amy-Lynn noticed that in my list the most recent updates show. The most recently updated also rises to the top of the list. This helps me keep current by letting me see at a glance what’s new that I haven’t read yet. You on WordPress have other features we on Blogspot don’t have, though. I’m envious of the way you can caption your uploaded photographs, rather than explaining them in your text.

    Well, happy blogging, all!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, hello! It’s good to hear how your blogroll with the recent updates works. That sounds ideal! Actually, it sounds like Blogspot has some wonderful features and WordPress has other great ones. We’re learning so much about each other!

  25. pearlz says:

    Yes a very interesting question. I have a blog roll made up of soul fooder writer friends who’ve made it onto my list and I read their blogs and they tend to read mine. It does remind one to read blogs if they are in the roll.

    Pruning is worth doing as you say, to make sure that the blogs are active. I have slowly begun to add blogs like yours that catch my eye, and have an interesting take on the world, often a very different world climatically or otherwise to my own.

    Anyway enjoying your blog, and will be back in future. Glad to have come across it in the blogosphere.

    • Kathy says:

      pearlz…Yes, that’s what the blogroll helps so much. We remember everyone! Sometimes I don’t look on the blogroll. Sometimes I just click on regular commenters and go visit them through the comments. I am glad we’re getting to know each other!

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

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