Where are the links?

What is it with blogs these days? Many of them seem very focussed on the ‘brand’ or the blogger themselves. I like the trend towards toned down, greys and whites and limited visual excess on webpages (as you can probably guess), but one thing I really don’t like is the lack of live links to other pages.

Where are the links? Go back five years and ever blog had a little sidebar with a list of the blogger’s favourite links – usually other blogs. These days? All the blogs I’m following (Simplicity/Minimalism mostly) don’t have a single link to a fellow blogger. What on earth is that about? I can see why you don’t want a clutter-y side-bar, but I’ve had a hunt around and there isn’t even a page of links hidden away somewhere.

For me, blogging has always been about community. And not just ‘building’ a community on your page – using your blogging to be a participant in a wider community. A community built on your shared hobbies, or interests, loves or politics or whatever. On previous blogs I was always proud to link to other blogs which inspired me, or amused me, or to which I felt some emotional or academic relationship. It was a statement of identity, of belonging, and an attempt to help readers find blogs related to mine.

All of the blogs I read now feel like end-points. They are designed to be dead-end destinations, rather than flow-through pauses on a journey of exploration. You navigate to them, and they hold you there, refusing to give you any useful directions on to similar pages. Hell, there’s at least a dozen really successful blogs doing extremely similar things in terms of minimalism and simplicity and living-with-less, and yet none of them link to each other! It’s as if readers were precious commodities that might be somehow diluted in value if they also read someone else’s blog.

It feels like a bit of a shame, though I think it’s more related to people who are into simplicity/minimalism and those who are into monetising their blogs into buisnesses – and those two groups seem to overlap rather a lot! It’s nice to note that The Bloggess still has a massive link list, though I find it odd that I like her blog so much and yet find so many of those she links to so unappealing. Though it’s worth noting that The Bloggess is still doing that thing which is so out of fashion in blogging these days – writing journal-like entries about her own life, and not those oh-so-useful ‘Ten ways to quite carbs’ link-baity posts that dominate so many otherwise very good blogs these days. I assume the two are linked, though that does give me faith that the old-fashioned personal blog can still thrive!

Thinking about all this has reminded me to get on with setting up my own link list though! I get a lot of posts through email now, but I will try and set up a list of my regular/ish reads at least. They might be of use to you… but at the very least they tell you a little more about me and the things that I care about and enjoy, which seems a good enough reason!

Edit: You can find all the links etc if you click on the menu button in the top right of this blog (the little icon of three parallel horizontal lines) and scroll down.

Where are the links?