I compile this list every year, so I started by checking all 113 blogs on last year's list to see how many of them still linked here. About one in three have fallen by the wayside and don't appear this year. Most of these are on hiatus (either deliberately, or through month-long neglect) which is a shame. A few have simply vanished off the face of the internet. Several have removed their blogroll altogether, usually after updating to a revamped template. And one or two are still going strong but have removed me from their blogroll, which I guess is the way it goes. I used to be able to refresh my annual list with several new blogs, but this year there aren't many to find. My list is ever-shortening, and is now less than half the size it was four years ago.
Maybe this blog is past its prime. These collapsing numbers could be explained by an increasing lack of interest in what I have to say, and far fewer people linking as a result. Who wants to read the verbose ramblings of a self-indulgent non-professional when the web now has so much more varied content to enjoy? And it takes effort to read 800 words a day, a length which I'm sure scares many potential visitors away. So much quicker to read a pithy 140 character summary, or to look at one lovely photo, rather than taking time out to plough through seven potentially irrelevant paragraphs.
What's clear is that blogging is evolving, shrinking, retreating. Fewer people blog these days because alternative platforms exist (and take far less effort to update). Blogrolls have become invisible and irrelevant, especially to anyone subscribed via an RSS feed. The majority of fresh 2012 blogs have no blogroll at all, because sidebars don't look good on smartphones. 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.
Anyway, I hope that my list 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. As for the rest of my readers, maybe you'd like to click on a few of these 99 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.