Linking and Community

[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.]

signpostLinks 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.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/katemonkey/ / CC BY-NC 2.0

5 thoughts on “Linking and Community

  1. Marie

    I link with much the same conviction you do. I link to sites I visit regularly, and blogs I read at least daily, if not weekly depending on my schedule. When people add links to me I am flattered, because I do get traffic from them, but even some of them I do not add.
    Some people link to me and state that they love my blog and admire it – they read it, and therefor they link to it. I think that’s good. But I don’t always read every blog run by someone who reads mine, so it’s tough.

    Reply
  2. Richard Windsor

    Hi Mija,
    Thank you for the support and for linking in to the Universe. My biggest problem in the spanking blog world has always been managing to keep up, and I know for a fact that I have missed potentially 50% of posts that I ordinarily would have an interest in, simply because I never knew they had been posted.
    With this new site I kind of feel like the hairclub for men guy, in that I’m not only the President, but I’m also a client 🙂 Every morning I check there to see what sites have updated. There are still a lot more sites to add, right now I am only up to L in the alphabet (Lord knows what will happen when I reach S, lol).
    Now to address another point that you raised, and it is going to be a real tough one to address, and that is blogs that offer substantial content as opposed to blogs whose sole purpose is to make money. Now like many sites, I do make a little money on the side so I can’t be a total hypocrite, however, the object word there is that I make money on the side. My main site has always been about my journey in the lifestyle and has never been driven by the almighty dollar. Originally I had added some promotional blogs, but none of them even so much as offered a courtesy reply. When I thought about it, that didn’t surprise me so I deleted all of those blogs from the list.
    What I might do if this becomes an issue is to create a sidebar where promotional blogs are listed, instead of increasing their ability to cram more and more spam down everyone’s throat due to the increased hits they are getting.
    Rich.

    Reply
  3. Jay Walker

    Hello.
    I just bobbed over from The Spanking Universe.
    I choose my links by :
    A – blogs that I enjoy to read.
    B – Blogs and forums that are useful to my readers.
    My blog is great (im biased) but it may not suite everyone or someone may be looking for a specfic kind of information. With my new wordpress blog I am able to seperate my links into three cateogorys.
    1. My faves – Blogs I regually read enjoy.
    2. Standard blog roll – A long list of other spanking blogs.
    3. Useful sites and forums – these have useful links.
    It makes it easier being able to split up the groups.
    I like this blog so if its ok, I have added it to my 3. Useful sites and forums.
    Take care, jay

    Reply
  4. Mija

    It’s hard for me too. I’ve thought of having, as Jay suggested below, a longer list, but the problem is maintaining it as sites are added or fall away. That’s one reason why I think what Richard is doing is such a great thing. This way I can link to him knowing it will help everyone find each other.

    Reply
  5. Mija

    I’ve never got any problem with anyone linking to me — it’s very flattering of you! I think links are what blogging is all about.
    I like your division and think my problem is laziness about maintaining much beyond the first level. It’s my own quirk about not wanting my blog lists to have broken and/or inactive links.

    Reply

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