Sunday, November 19, 2006

Selfcontained blogs

Recently I have discovered a few blogs which are actually pretty good, but which are, oddly for a long time blogger, extremely self contained. Some of them have no links in the text, some of them link to themselves.

When news media moved into the net, they tried to avoid links in order to hold the reader in one spot. It didn't work, people got bored and used search engines. So the news media, not being totally stupid, started working with the power of the links and made several different types, both to their own archives and to other sources.

But these new bloggers, who do serious and nice work, so they are no spammers of marketing blogs or anything like that, they link to themselves, don't share the link love, and when they write comments on other peoples' blogs they put in links to themselves. This is a way to use the gift economy of links which I find is ungenerous and selfish: use other peoples' sites to link themselves, but not link back.

I don't know what I'll do yet. So far I am reading the comments, checking each blog carefully, and if it's unique and interesting I let the comments pass. But I am a little surprised at this isolation, this way to use a weblog as a place for display, not for connections and sharing.


Si said...

Hi--I haven't read your blog in awhile, but thought I might comment on this post. I have a "self-contained" blog, it is read by maybe four or five people and has very few links in it. I stopped updating the sidebar links long ago, and eventually just dumped them. I never used them myself, and I never seemed to have enough time to keep them up-to-date. The URL to my blog shows up automatially when I post comments to other blogs that require my .blogspot login; it's not as if I'm trying to drum up readers for my blog. I doubt there are any blogs out there that link back to my blog (this is fine with me). I'm not sure I see this as a selfish move. I have a short list of blogs I read, I add a comment when I want to have a conversation, I don't respond within my own blog. Does that make sense?

Torill said...

Of course it makes sense. And how you use your blog is your concern, really.

I do however get comments which ask me to look at other peoples' blogs. They are not really saying anything about what I write except perhaps "hello, this was interesting and cool, now look at my blog!" Some of these blogs really are interesting, and I don't mind letting the comments through because I think their sites deserve more attention. But in many other cases the practice leaves me feeling uncomfortable.

Links are currency, as Jill Walker has argued, and when people want to create links to their own sites from my blog, without contributing constructively, they are not using their blog the way they want, they are trying to use mine. Si, your contributions to discussions are the opposite, you contribute to creating more comments and so more interest on the blog where you participate. That is not a selfish practice, at least not in my book.

Si said...

Okay, I see what you mean now. I, too, sometimes get e-mails saying, "I looked at your blog, will you link back to mine," and I often can't figure out why they were looking at my blog in the first place. There never seems to be any common ground, at least none that I can see.