[This entry is inspired by the work Richard Windsor is doing in creating and maintaining his new Spanking Universe, blog of blogs site. If you haven’t been there, do go see. It’s an impressive work in progress. Now that the Forth Bridge is almost painted, Richard has found the next endless task — blogging spanking blogs. Just so he can’t call it thankless though, I’m thanking him now for his time and effort.]
Links are real important — they’re how we find each other and thus are how community is created. Links are hugely important when a blog is new and it’s hoping to find readers. Because without readers we don’t need computers to do this, we could just keep a journal in a notebook. At their best, they function as signposts for the ‘net, especially within the BDSM and spanking subcultures.
Yet I’ll admit to having a hard time deciding what to do when someone writes and wants me to link to them or suggests we do a link exchange. Part of my discomfort is that I’ve backed myself into a bit of a corner by even having links in my sidebar. So if I’m linking to those people, why not link to this new one? Mainly it’s that I’ve always liked my links to mean something. I’ve never felt comfortable linking to sites or products I don’t use. Even more so with blogs, it seems like I shouldn’t link to sites I don’t read regularly. So there’s that. Add to that, the nature of writing is that sometimes people do it for a while and then stop. That’s fine with a website — The Treehouse is currently more of an archive than anything else, and has been for a few years now. But blogs feel like they should stay relatively current (with posts within the last year or two) — otherwise they seem to have died. Even with my relatively short links lists, I generally find a few broken ones when I check them every few months. I don’t want to do the work needed to maintain a longer lists (though I admire bloggers like Bonnie who do so), so I suppose that makes laziness my other reason.
So how do I decide to link to something? Generally if I go to a blog and read through a few months worth of entries and then add them to Newsfire (that’s an RSS reader). Then I’m pretty sure I’m likely to keep reading. At least in bursts. Another way would be if I know the writer in person on some level. Again, then I know I’m more likely to become a consistent reader. My link list is one of blogs and sites I admire and enjoy.
Blogs I like tend to be text heavy and not present too idealized a version of life. I’m more of text person than a picture one (old school, me) and am a sucker for introspection and good writing. I always think / hope that if I enjoy reading something, someone who likes this blog will be interested in that one too.
So, I’m wondering, how do you decide who and how you link? And, while we’re at it, what do you find useful in a link list.