Can blogrolls build communities online? I think so

9 May 2024

A screen cap of disassociated's links page, circa November 1999.

A screen cap of disassociated’s links page, circa November 1999. Them were dark days…

Daniel Prindii asks, could blogrolls form the basis of community building online? Well, once upon a time, when they were known as links pages, that’s exactly what they did.

But with the development of AI tools, spam, and SEO-optimized articles the experience of the web search is a horrible one, where the chances to discover something new minimal. The 404 Media team has made a good analysis of this change. Everyone goes online to learn new things, and to connect with close friends. When your search or feed is clogged with spam and bots, it defeats the whole purpose.

In a way, the early search engines defeated the purpose of link pages and blogrolls. Later, some of them penalised websites carrying blogrolls, as they believed they were made up of paid links. And that was the beginning of the end of blogrolls. But not in the Indie Web/Small Web corner of the web. Here they are common, and serving their original, and perfectly innocuous, purpose of sharing websites a blogger likes, and thinks their readers will enjoy.

With discovery becoming ever more difficult by way of the search engines, the day of blogrolls has come again. To that end, I’ve set up, or maybe reinstated after a long hiatus, a blogroll here. It’s a start, and something I’ll add to over time.


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