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Monday, May 19, 2003  


•Personal bloggers

There is buzz in the blogosphere about personal blogging currently because of a story in the New York Times on the topic: "Dating a Blogger, Reading All About It." By personal blogger, I mean bloggers who write mainly about themselves. You have probably happened across them. There will be items about the hair on the hubby's back, what the blogger had for dinner and which team won the big game, but nothing about current events or a focus such as law or economics. The NYT story explains the hazards of personal blogging.

While blogging journalists like Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus and Eric Alterman get a lot of attention, a vast majority of bloggers are average citizens like Mr. [Rick] Bruner, who draw from their personal experiences and often the personal experiences of relatives, friends and colleagues to create a kind of memoir in motion that details breakups and work and family issues with sometimes startling candor.

While personal blogs have been around for years, their proliferation has caused a wrinkle in the social fabric among people in their teens, 20's and early 30's. Inundated with bloggers, they are finding that every clique now has its own Matt Drudge, someone capable of instantly turning details of their lives into saucy Internet fare.

I prefer blogs that include some personal information for the sake of humanization, but not too much. The hair on someone's hubby's back is not that interesting to other people. Well, at least not to one other person -- me.

•The blogroll

Maintenance. It can be a pain in the arse. I started out doing it by hand, but then switched to Blogrolling.com. That meant importing each blog into the program, which requires going to the page and bookmarking it inside BRC. The payoff is that future additions can be automated.

Who's on first? My blogroll contains many bloggers I became familiar with as a commenter and contributor. A lot of these people put my blog on their blogrolls as soon as I began blogging. That is a big boost for a new blogger. The others are finds I located through being blogrolled by them first or ecosystem data. They write blogs that consider current events, especially politics, though other topics are addressed, too. Most are liberals.

Who isn't on it. I haven't added many Right Wing blogs because so many of them are not just contrarian, but also overtly racist. I draw the line there. One conservative, John Cole, is from my commenting days. Two others, Jim Henley of Unqualified Offerings and Tobacco Road Fogey, were added because I found areas we do agree about.

There are other, smaller reasons for someone not being on my blogroll. I haven't been able to reach some folks because they either don't publish or obscure their email addresses, so I can't ask them if they want to be included. The practice is a way to avoid bots that collect email data for spammers. However, it also shuts out people who have a legitimate reason for wanting to reach the blogger.

One blogger is not on my blogroll because she excluded me from hers and barred me from emailing her. The funny aspects are that I had no idea she had done so for a week or longer and I have no way of finding out what her tantrum is about. The bright side is she opened up a slot for someone else on my blogroll.

Size. I would prefer to 'grow' Mac-a-ro-nies with a balance of blogrolling and temporary links. It is possible to weight a blog by having a huge blogroll and next to no blog entries worth reading. Doing so creates the impression the blog is more successful than it is. That's not something I'm interested in doing. Currently, I have less than 100 blogrollees. I will probably keep the number in that vicinity.

Appearance. My blogroll looks too cluttered in my opinion, despite the fact it is not particularly large. I would like to break it up so individual blogs stand out more. However, Blogrolling.com is invisible in the template, so that would be difficult, if not impossible to do. A step I have taken in that direction is to create a 'Resources' blogroll for sites that are mainly informational.

Exclusion. Why isn't Mac-a-ro-nies on some liberal bloggers' blogrolls? In most cases, I don't know. That would include The Rittenhouse Review, Counterspin and Matthew Yglesias, as well as Hullabaloo and Mark Kleiman. I've done nothing to offend these people as far as I know. And, Mac-a-ro-nies is a good blog, i.e., well-written, constantly updated and not afraid to tackle controversial issues, sometimes at length. Go figure.

•Ecosystem statistics

I am pretty satisfied with this blog's standing in the ecosystem. In its second month, it climbed into the 100s at The Truth Laid Bear and ranked 160 today.

I don't understand why some blogs, including mine, often double list. I've been meaning to ask Bear.

Venomous Kate, a keen observer of the blogosphere, says a blogger should expect to change circles to an extent and lose some blog buddies as she moves up in the ecosystem. She believes that is because successful bloggers become less likely to blogroll or link to their initial friends as they improve. They come to prefer high quality bloggers and drop friends who aren't. That creates resentment. Kate says she heard much caviling when she trimmed her blogroll to get rid of deadweight. I started out communicating in elite blog circles, so I haven't encountered many instances of such behavior. I can count the other bloggers I know are jealous or resentful on one hand.

9:17 AM