Blogrolls are so dead these days. Most blogs no longer have sidebars listing other blogs, indeed most bloggers have given up blogging altogether. But for those of us who plough on a blogroll is a useful way of showcasing what we like to read, and a useful bit of support. My thanks to you if you've added me to yours.
I used to compile this list at the end of July every year. I started by taking the previous year's list and updating it, then you suggested other blogs I'd missed or failed to notice. So long as a blog had published at least one post in the last month, and linked here, it got in. But after 2016 I stopped my annual post because numbers were dropping fast.
I thought I'd give it another try in 2020, there being not much else going on, and numbers have indeed dropped a lot further since. I'm now down to 42 blogrolled bloggers whereas I once had five times that number.
This could be because of the pandemic, so I wondered what would happen if I widened eligibility to "at least one post in the last three months" rather than one. It didn't pick up a lot more. But hello and thanks anyway.
13 almost-current* blogs with diamond geezer on their blogroll
*(at least one post since May 1st, but not in July)
I hope these lists are fairly complete but I bet they're not. 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 55 links to see what you're missing. I can't promise they're all thrilling verbal discourses, but hopefully you'll discover several that are.
What I also thought I'd do is look back and see what happened to the blogs that fell by the wayside. These old posts of mine provide a valuable snapshot of sites that happened to be around at the time, so what happens if you click on the addresses now, is anything still there?
Of those 142 blogs, 29 have vanished. Most of these simply aren't there at all, while others have had their URLs taken over by spammy sites or domain sellers. A couple have been pulled by their owners so they can focus on a different kind of personal webpage. Two blogs with covetable URLs have been taken over by different people called Nik and Rhys. Wordpress is quite brutal ("this journal has been deleted and purged") whereas Blogger merely says "the blog has been removed".
Another six blogs from 2010 have gone private, for invited readers only. They might still be posting daily or they might have given up the ghost years ago, I can't tell.
30 of the blogs are still going, if by 'still going' you mean 'have posted something this month'. That number rises to 51 if you count 'have posted something this year'. I'm quite impressed by this. Who would have guessed that 35% of blogs in 2010 would still be going concerns ten years later?
Of the remaining 56 blogs, these fell by the wayside at a rate of roughly 10% per year.
Most dead blogs just fade away, with a normal-looking final post followed by silence. Only a few deliberately end by announcing their demise, or (as in the case of The London Review Of Breakfasts) finish with a properly celebratory 'best of'. It's a shame to think that in most cases someone just gave up, tired of typing their thoughts or frustrated by a dwindling audience. But I take enormous reassurance from the fact that these 56 blogs are all still intact - their host operational and their content undeleted.
In summary, of the 142 blogs on my list 10 years ago...
• 35% have posted something this year
• 40% have stopped blogging
• 5% have gone private
• 20% have disappeared
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 which require far less effort to update, as well as favouring 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 gifs 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?
More relevantly, 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 very little. 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, over there on the right hand side of the page. 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 themselves, so only a fraction link back, but hey, no problem. Just rejoice that some people still write because they want to, which gives the rest of us a host of great content to read and enjoy.