I compile this list every year, so I started by checking all 82 blogs on last year's list to see how many of them still linked here. It's great to see several still going strong, punching out the minutiae of life on a regular basis, but several have fallen by the wayside and don't appear this year. Of the missing 18 blogs, two have vanished off the face of the internet, two no longer have a blogroll, and the rest are now on hiatus, either through month-long neglect or deliberately after a farewell post. And that's a shame, but not entirely unexpected. Over the years an incredibly high proportion of blogs have faded away, mainly because the whole idea of regularly writing something on an independent platform is a bit passé these days.
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. The aftermath of the Brexit referendum, for example, seems to have inspired a lot of generally subdued bloggers to outpour their thoughts, and then go a bit quieter again.
Meanwhile I used to be able to 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 eight years ago. Talk about a dying art.
Blogging's a lot of effort for scant reward, so if hardly anybody's reading what you write, why bother? Alternative platforms have taken hold, and take far less effort to update, and get instant feedback. 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. Indeed images have already overtaken text for most, as people spend their days looking at photos of their mates, watching videos of comical kittens, capturing their food on Instagram, making conversation by appending snapshots from TV shows, and responding via emoji. Why bother writing anything, quite frankly, when nobody has time for anything more than swiftly digestible visual nuggets?
Simultaneously blogrolls have become invisible and irrelevant, especially to anyone subscribed via an RSS feed, so only us old-school bloggers maintain them. Indeed many of the blogs in my list compiled their blogrolls years ago and have barely touched them since, bequeathing a list of dead links to anyone who wastes their time clicking through.
The majority of freshly-templated blogs have no blogroll at all, because the modern focus is more about self-promotion than sharing, and because sidebars don't look good on smartphones. Indeed the relentless emphasis on responsive website design militates against awkward lists of tiny text, because only big chunky buttons and drop down menus are acceptable to clumsy tablet thumbs. The future is as uncluttered as possible, because that's what Google ranks highest in its algorithms, so curated links to other sites you might enjoy reading are culled in favour of focusing on the here and now.
Most importantly, new readers no longer come clicking via a long-standing blogroll in a sidebar. Instead they arrive via a one-off reference on social media, if they turn up at all, because Twitter and Facebook are very much in charge these days. A blog is now only as good as its last post, and long-term reputation counts for almost nothing. I'm very much aware that my daily readership is now almost exclusively people who arrived here once and stayed, and all too rarely fresh blood directed in from elsewhere.
I still have a blogroll, of course, I have done since I started, even if you've never used it. 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 72 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.