A new blogrollComments

I have completed the first version of my blogroll plugin and you can view the results here. At present it includes ten people as I wanted to stay true to James Shelley’s notion about value.

Spoiler alert: he made the list.

As previously mentioned, the blogroll stores entries using a custom post type then displays them by way of a shortcode which can be placed on any page. Each time the shortcode is triggered the blogroll.opml file is recreated so it is always up to date.

I have updated the site footer to show links to both the directory and blogroll. The directory is still valuable for discovery purposes but nothing beats explicit recommendation.

The plugin is available on GitHub - usage and styling info is in the readme.

A new blogroll

There's been a bit of talk about blogrolls instigated by Dave Winer (who else) and most recently Richard MacManus who is indiewebifying his personal site.

As you'll know, if you've been reading this for a while, I have taken a different approach and have a directory of people that have interacted with this site via webmentions - both blogs and micro.blog accounts.

Colin Devroe has been considering a blogroll but finds "linking to individual posts with some context provides more value than just a list of URLs."

I can see his point.

Part of the problem with people based following models on social networks is that you follow the whole person so see everything they post whether it is relevant to you or not. There is no filtering system.

Following blogs has the same issue, when you subscribe to a site's RSS feed you get everything unless it is category specific. Category feeds, however, have the problem in reverse - you might miss out on posts you would normally want to read.

But, as Richard says, a blogroll wasn't always just an isolated list of URLs. It was often accompanied by an OPML file allowing you to easily follow each of the blogs within it in your feed reader of choice.

It's then a very personal decision regarding the value gleaned from each subscription as they whether to keep it.

The growth of social and shuttering of Google Reader combined into a perfect storm with many eschewing feed readers, instead choosing to get their updates via Twitter or Facebook. That's fine if you're always on but the more casual social user will miss a lot.

Recently, aligned with the push for the open and indie webs, there seems to have been a resurgence in subscriptions via RSS. It also seems that new feed reader software is being developed and released on a reasonably regular basis.

The passion is returning.

Perhaps it's time for blogrolls and OPML files to make a comeback too.

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