Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Blogrolling

Anyone ever realize that the word "Blogroll" sounds remarkably close to "Bogroll", a slang British-European term that refers to toilet paper?

Heh.

It's recently occurred to me that it might be time to clean up my blogroll. I don't have such a thing on this site, yes, but I do maintain a good-sized list among my "Favorites" links. I find myself starving for reading material every now and then, you see.

Then again, maybe "good-sized" isn't the way to describe my blogroll. "Long" is more like it -- I've got about 32 entries in there.

Yeah, some of the more established or more popular people have lists that are longer than that. The difference is that I actually go through mine. Every single site. Twice a day. In the middle of work. (Although I make sure I'm on break first.)

Exactly how or why a blog makes it to my list has always been a complete mystery to me. Weblogs hardly strike me as centers of personal interest, so it's altogether possible that I just have a stake in one blog or another. But that doesn't really take into account the blogs run by people I don't know, or for that matter, people who have known me through my visits.

I'm going through the list right now, actually -- artist's blogs, tech blogs... you name it, and I've probably got it somewhere here. Maybe it's best to break things down into statistics in this case, despite the constant threat of overlap:

Artists' Blogs / Comics Blogs: 6
I've observed before that artists' blogs tend to be popular. Maybe it's the argument of effort -- it's a lot easier to look at great art than it is to read rambling text. I believe that writing serves as a more comprehensive indicator of a person's true self, but it is the art that gets people reading to begin with.

Comics blogs are more of a mixed bag, I think. Much of the webcomic audience reads online strips for the pleasure of it -- the comics are more of a stress reliever in that regard. Couple this with the fact that comic strips are, as a whole, not quite fine art, and you get a blog that people will read but not necessarily leave comments on. I imagine that a similar situation exists for blogging fiction -- what else can one say, other than the usual short compliments or criticism?

Writing Blogs: 7
In my mind, the difference between a writer's blog and an online journal is that the writer's blog will carry entries that specifically cater to an audience. Their existence may be a singular release from the mind of the author, but more often than not, these articles simply exist to be read by others. Pieces of short fiction, novel excerpts, essays, formal political commentary, features... there's a wealth of information out there that we're perfectly welcome to read for little expense.

Online Journals: 13
Most blogs, of course, are still online journals that just happen to be accessible to the public.

With the advent of self-publishing, open performances and reality TV, one of the questions being asked by modern society involves exactly why we read or watch this kind of stuff. Explanations range from the curious and voyeuristic ("We just like looking at other peoples' lives") to the literary and dissociative ("We think of it as a story to which we have no direct bearing").

I find it strange, though, that we hardly ever ask ourselves why people attempt such methods of self-expression in the first place. Is it because we constantly crave for attention no matter who we are? That would be funny, really, because I never thought of personal acknowledgement as being high on our list of needs...

Tech Blogs: 4
The techie people have long used blogging as a method of operation throughout the Net, and although I'm not much of a technical person, I still retain some of their sensibilities.

Besides, the chances are good that, if you're bloghopping, then you have some interest in the Internet and at least a passing fancy to technology as a whole.

Blogs under surveillance: 4
Hey, let's be honest: The Internet is a bastion of secrets. In a place where any person can create multiple identities for themselves and where any person can pose as anyone else, it is all too easy to hide in its alleyways and dark passages.

Earlier this year, I learned of a few bloggers who were taking advantage of this consideration and were going around passing themselves off as other personas. While this isn't a bad practice per se, it can turn offensive really quickly. I've seen people assaulted by the wrath of multiple users, and I've seen people given effusive praise by multiple sources -- with the multiple identities in question all coming from the same person. It's a disgusting practice, and I'd rather see it muzzled, if not stopped outright.

One's writing skills come into interesting use in this regard, though. It's easy enough to identify whether or not multiple pieces of writing come from the same person, and it's even easier to point out pretend-authorship blogs that are actually written by more than one entity. And that doesn't even consider the more technical means of identification.

For now, though, I'll just stick to observing peoples' writing style. Sometimes it's even fun.

Sex blogs: 1
Yup... that might be a controversial one. I don't read this one for the sex, though. It doesn't have much in the way of detail to begin with.

I found this particular blog through a single comment posted for one of my earlier articles, and it grabbed at my curiosity. It doesn't get updated often, but its author appears to be a very articulate person (if it's a real, single author to begin with, that is). She would make an excellent writer for more mundane articles, I think.

That, incidentally, is what intrigues me: If she's such a good writer, then why does she choose to blog exclusively about sex than other things? Different strokes for different folks, I presume.

But the blog's still bookmarked as part of my list, and I'm still reading it. One finds literary potential in the strangest places...

...

Yes, I'm fully aware that that makes a total of 35, when there are only 32 blogs in my roll. It's difficult to classify these things, really. Some sites were inevitably lumped into more than one category as a result.

Ultimately, exactly what weblogs we choose to read or monitor is up to us. Some are just good for a passing interest, while some are worth reading even when you're smack in the middle of work. The practice of bloghopping has been a boon in this regard. I visit blogs based on the comments placed in peoples' articles (another reason why I balk at allowing Anonymous responses), through other peoples' blogrolls, and through the occasional direct reference handed to me by a friend or fellow blogger.

I've implied earlier in this article that we, as humans, tend to seek the acknowledgement of others. What interests me now, however, is that a good number of us are more than willing to give others the acknowledgement they so sorely want -- simply by looking for and reading their respective weblogs. That's good, right?

It means more reading material for us, in any case. That, I am certain, is always good.

6 comments:

gumdrop said...

I found one missing letter and one missing word.
I'd like to go through your blogroll, if you don't mind. I also visit every site, everyday. This included :)

Katz

Sean said...

Gumdrop: Busy day today. :)

I didn't have any time to edit this entry after the first draft, as a result. For the record, I found four missing letters, one missing word, one wrong letter ("be" instead of "me"), and one pair of exchanged letters ("indicentally" instead of "incidentally").

I might post my blogroll sometime, but I'm more likely to include passing references to these sites in my blog posts. I figure that, if I recommend a weblog to anyone, then I'd better have a good reason for doing so. Otherwise it would be just another link. :)

Arashi-KIshu said...

Hmmm, I want to read this blogroll of yours. I wonder in what category you put me in? Mine isn't exactly an online journal, not exactly a writing blog, and not exactly a sex blog either!

Sean said...

arashi-kishu: I think I lumped yours in as a writing blog/online journal hybrid. Believe me, yours doesn't fit my definition of a "sex blog". :)

Carl said...

At the risk of making it sound like you have too much time on your hands, I'd like to compliment you on the categorisation of your blogroll. I find it extremely interesting that some people are in the habit of doing this, which means that the actually care about what they read; a gratifying thought in an age where people dismiss blogs as glorified opinion columns. =)

I still have "The Tasks of Tantalon", by the way. What address should I send it back to? I accidentally brought it with me in the rush to get relocated. =(

Sean said...

Hey, Carl! Actually, I don't categorize the blogroll - it's all just one huge list, and I really did happen to have a lot of time on my hands then. :)

Drop me an e-mail at saito_ichikawa (at) yahoo (dot) com so that we can discuss The Tasks of Tantalon. That book really needs to get republished one day. :)