I compile this list every year, so I started by checking all 95 blogs on last year's list to see how many of them still linked here. More than one in four have fallen by the wayside and don't appear this year. Of the missing 28 blogs, three have vanished off the face of the internet (or have been replaced by something spammy-looking). Four have removed their blogrolls after updating to a revamped template (which appears to be 'a thing', as the mobile-friendly web gets less cluttered). One blog is still going strong but has removed me from their blogroll (most years it's more than that, so I must be doing something right). And as many as twenty are now on hiatus (either deliberately after a farewell post, or through month-long neglect) which is a shame. Over the years that's an incredibly high proportion of blogs that have faded away because, well, it's all a bit passé innit?
A few blogs have returned to my list after a year or more off. They slipped out because nothing was posted when I ran this survey last July, but something's appeared again this month so now they're back in. For some, it seems, their blog has become somewhere to publish thoughts occasionally, when inspiration strikes, without feeling pressured to post something more regularly. Meanwhile I can usually refresh my annual list by adding several new blogs, but this year (although I've hunted) there don't appear to be many to find. My list is ever-shrinking, and is now barely a third the size of the 200+ it held six years ago. Talk about a dying art.
Alas this is evidence of the continued long-term decline of blogging as a means of communication. Fewer people blog these days because alternative platforms exist (and take far less effort to update, and get instant feedback). Blogrolls have become invisible and irrelevant, especially to anyone subscribed via an RSS feed, so only us old-school bloggers maintain them. The majority of fresh 2014 blogs have no blogroll at all, because sidebars don't look good on smartphones, and because the modern focus is more about self-promotion than sharing. Most importantly, new readers no longer come clicking via a long-standing blogroll in a sidebar, they arrive via a one-off reference on Twitter/Facebook/whatever. A blog is now only as good as its last post, and long-term reputation counts for very little.
A bunch of the UK's longest-standing bloggers started getting nostalgic for the old days yesterday, on Twitter. Remember the times when blogs actually got comments, they said. When blogs had readers, and those readers spoke to one another in tight-knit conversations, and you felt like you knew everyone? No longer. Online conversation has exploded somewhat since those pioneering years, now with the majority of the country jabbering away rather than just the few dozen early adopters who were around at the turn of the century. Self-broadcasting is no clique any more, it's a universal collective, which leaves those of us who still create long-form prose down something of a cul-de-sac.
I still have a blogroll, of course, I have done since I started. It's over there on the right hand side of the page, assuming you're reading this page as I intended rather than just the stripped-out content elsewhere. I link to 20 blogs I like and admire, partly to showcase them to others, but also so I have a quick means of reading them. Less than half of these blogs have a blogroll, so only a fraction link back, but hey, no problem.
Anyway, I hope that today's list of blogs with diamond geezer on their blogroll is fairly complete, but I bet it isn't. Let me know if I've missed you/anyone off the list, and I'll come back and add you/them later. And maybe you'd like to click on a few of these 85 links to see what you're missing. I can't promise they're all thrilling verbal discourses, but I'm sure you'll discover plenty that are.