Why Glenn doesn’t blogroll Vanderleun

Has anybody else noticed how much the blogosphere is like high school? It has all the cliques, crazes, fads, fashions, shibboleths, and must-haves of high school. Everybody (or nearly everybody) wants to get noticed by the “cool kids” i.e. get linked by one of the silverbacks of the blogosphere: Instapundit, The Daily Kos, or Atrios, or a few others.

In his recent, naked plea for an Instalanche, Gerard Vanderleun of American Digest has a nice post on the immaturity of the blogosphere as a medium:

In this posture blogging underscores daily that it is not yet ready for the prime-time itself. In the main, this has to do with 4 factors: 1) The extreme youth of the medium measured against the other three; 2) The extent of blogs penetration of the mass market which is, to say the least, scant at best; 3) The sheer weight of millions of
“blog-channels” from which to choose or even find; 4) The lack of resources, staff and talent (funds, foot-soldiers, finesse) that it takes to pursue and report stories on a wide range of issues on a daily basis.

He concludes the post with I think is a vain hope for a newer, better means for unlocking this new medium. I’m afraid we’re stuck with what we’ve got: search engines like Google, gatekeepers like Glenn or Atrios, blog digests like memeorandum, which, as the folks at Samizdata point out tend to be short-lived because of the enormity of the task.

I think the gatekeeper function in the blogosphere, too, has limitations. When I started reading blogs three or four years ago, Instapundit guided a lot of my reading. When I started blogging myself, I shamelessly asked for (and received, for which I am thankful) links from Glenn. As my blog reading and writing has matured so have my other blog-related habits. Nowadays I find that I’ve frequently read what Glenn links to hours, days, or weeks before he has. And linked to them myself. And I rarely solicit links from him. If I email him, it’s to bring something I found interesting or important to his attention that I just don’t have a high enough platform for. And I continue to read Instapundit but mostly just to read Glenn for Glenn’s sake.

But I’ve digressed. This post began as an explication of the mysterious absence of American Digest from Instapundit’s blogroll. To understand this I think you have to go back to high school again (or even junior high). For many blogs the analogy I find to blogrolls is taste in music, much of which seems to be formed quite early. You keep listening to the groups or artists you did in junior high (or new artists who remind you of them in some ineffable way) long past their prime.

Blogrolls are like that, too. Many bloggers build their blogrolls when they build their blogs. Updates may occur periodically but if pruning takes place it’s generally to remove inactive blogs. I’ve seen blogrolls of big-time bloggers of which at least 25% of the links were either inactive, moved, or hadn’t posted anything worthwhile in months or years. The blogrolls continued to reflect the interests of the blogger when the blog began, the blogs that satisfied those interests at that time, and the quality of those blogs then. They’re an historic record.

If it’s any solace to you, Vanderleun, you’re on my blogroll and you’ll stay there as long as you write the great, interesting posts you write. Probably longer since I’ve never pruned my own blogroll, either.

UPDATE: Gerard Vanderleun of American Digest has a follow-up post and, I notice, has latched onto my suggested term of koinonia for groups of affiliated or associated blogs.

13 comments… add one
  • Interestingly enough, I’ve just finished an item on blogrolls and the roll they might play in the future — derived from you and from (mostly) Medcalf at Caerdroia.

    The Koinonia of Blogdom

    Must have been writing it along about the time you were writing this. We are talking synchronicity here, big time.

  • Remarkable synchronicity since I was over at your blog reading that post while your were making your comment here.

  • Indeed.

  • Started over here to offer you a recipe with a twist and then was pleasantly surprised to see you posting on one of my most treasured sites.

    I love American Digest. He’s one of those writers who touches me in some deep recess of the writer’s heart; he ignites my own desire to write again, right now, this minute…

    I don’t think I derive my material from him; our experiences are too different. But his writing moves me and makes me want to be more humane, wiser than I am.

    I presumed he was way up there in the Mt Olympus levels of the ‘sphere. I never looked — just jumped to conclusions based on the quality of his work.

    When I’m less befuddled (I have house mold problems that will take some time to fix and they make me tired and dumb) I want to look more carefully at what you say here, Mr. Eye. Being on the fringes of the universe, this kind of news doesn’t come my way.

    SO thank you.

    In gratitude, I offer you what I came to leave anyway: my recipe for making a bomb…in case you need one for flamers or something.

    Bomb(e) With a Bang

    This is not to suggest you would ever make such a thing. It’s too passe for you bon vivants. I used to make them for the children years and years ago…

  • Dymphna, this is synchronicity since I was toying with the idea of submitting a recipe for a bombe to the Carnival of the Recipes this week. I have dozens, possibly hundreds, of recipes for bombes, I love them, and I’m pleased to add yours to my collection.

    Yes, Vanderleun is clearly one of the best essayists in the blogosphere. Most (but not all) of the essayists in the blogosphere whom I most admire are in my blogroll. And, may I say that you’re rapidly becoming another one of my favorite blogospheric essayists?

  • Thanks you, kind sir. I think I am still finding my voice. Or voices. I tend to be either ponderous or flip or sometimes too clever by half. And I can’t always judge that too well.

    The advantage of a co-blogger is that they can serve as an editor (if one is willing to listen and willing to delete one’s favorite “inspirations” in the essay). My rule for the Baron is that he may not lay his head on the table and complain whilst I use my blue pencil on his gems. I, OTOH, have to promise not to harumph over his advice…not easy.

    BTW, let me come up with a real bombe recipe rather than that one. I was looking at all those “how to make a bomb” searches on our site meter and as I was writing the post the word “bombe” floated up to consciousness. So I googled it quickly and what you see I found on a Kraft website. I amended it some, but still –instant pudding??? Ughh. That’s why I added some cocoa.

    You have inspired me: I’ll find a REAL one. One sublime enough to turn a jihadist’s heart.

  • My blog was started and run for about a year by one Howard Fienberg. I began guest posting and eventually he turned it over to me. For many months it was still listed on Glenn’s blogroll as “Howard Fienberg” rather than “Kesher Talk.” I think it is still that way on LGF. Meanwhile Howard has been gone from the blogosphere for at least 18 months.

  • I agree with the high school analogy completely, but I wonder how many people actually read the blogrolls . It’s not my habit. I build my favorite sites by following specific links. Might be just me, though.

  • That’s a very good point, Jim Bass. When I started blogging I frequently followed other people’s blogrolls, particularly Glenn’s. Now there are still some blogrolls I use for reference particularly Joe Gandelman’s The Moderate Voice’s. At this point I have 300-400 blogs in my favorites list—more than I’d want to put in any blogroll.

  • erp Link

    Why Glenn doesn’t blogroll Vanderleun?

    Inertia? Careless disregard for his blogroll? Probably not.

    It’s more likely Gerard’s legendary thin skin.

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