I Am My Blogroll

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As we at RedMonk have transitioned from the old infrastructure to the new, I used the opportunity to do some housecleaning and a general refresh. The Blog, in particular, needed a ton of work. From the time we implemented our former kluge Blog setup – perhaps a year or year and a half ago – the Blogging world has evolved dramatically.

In redoing our Blog I not only looked at hundreds of other blogs, but also a lot of “How to Build a Blog” sites, none of which I kept the links for, unfortunately.

One thing that did surprise me, however, in all of this research was the lack of focus on the Blogroll. I couldn’t imagine that – apart from the Blog content itself – there was anything more important than the Blogroll. Tons of content about “About Me” pages, Atom v RSS, etc. But very little that stressed the Blogroll.

This stemmed from a failure on my part, I think, to understand the nature of the Blogosphere, not to mention the true value of Technorati, Feedster, etc. Of course I was aware that they searched and indexed Blogs, but for the most part my Blog consumption was visiting the Blog of someone I either knew or knew about, to get their take on an issue. And to follow the links that they deemed of value.

And actually, that’s still primarily the way I use them. I’ll search occasionally to get a feel for the zeitgeist on an issue, or to see what people’s reaction is to a singular event (like today’s Cloudscape news) but more often than not I’m reading the folks on my Blogroll, or the people they link to rather than what one of the Blog indexers turns up.

Perhaps this will change – and certainly the indexers have their place – but the Blogging world to me is a different animal than the web at large. Rather than straight facts or raw data, I’m looking for opinions, angles, impressions. Given that I have a tough time determining the value and uniqueness of a post or insight, I can’t imagine it’s any easier for the indexers. Rankings and search algorithms help here, of course, but to me crusining the Blogosphere is a personal experience. One man’s trash and so forth.

So what does this all have to do with my Blog? Well, you’ll note the abbreviated about me section. That may or may not be expanded later. Because I’d rather have people judge me by who I link to (and what I say), rather than what some 2 line sentence about myself. That should serve as a quick test for relevance, should you end up here and not know me or RedMonk. Just as you can often tell a lot about a person by their knowing their friends, I am my Blogroll.

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