I miss blogrolls


Alt title: I miss The Deck Network

In my likely tiny bubble of the internet, people are having sprawling discussions about where content should go. Should it go on social media? On blogs? On social media that looks like blogs?

I’m firmly in the blog camp, but I’m hitting a wall. I want to find independent content written by passionate, slightly zany individuals on independent websites, but I don’t know where to find it. I know it’s out there, but I’ve been trained by Facebook, Twitter, and even aggregators like Techmeme and Hacker News, to expect content to just appear in my lap. Like, somehow the creme of the crop will find its way to me — I just need to show up.

But how much great content am I missing because osmosis didn’t steer it my way? And how many indie bloggers have simply stopped writing because the internet overlords didn’t deem their content worthy of Big Algorithm?

What I miss is a good blogroll. Every once in a while I do find an indie blogger I like, but the trail usually ends there. People are social animals though, and people who write often know and appreciate other people who write. With a good 90’s-era blogroll, I could go down that rabbit hole. Without one, I’m back to the algorithm.

On a related note, it’s not just indie bloggers who should be participating. Companies (like iwantmyname) are also social animals, too (although maybe more like Voltron than real animals) — they tend to succeed through relationships. We’re doing our part in a small way with our plugins page, which I’ve written about using in the past as a discovery tool before being employed here. But one company — one that sadly doesn’t exist anymore — basically had the blogroll as a business model.

The Deck Network was an ad network that pieced together a wonderful collection of bloggers, websites, and brands, and changed the game as far as what display ads should look and act like. Because the network was selective, I found myself on their website quite often to find new blogs, and mind-bogglingly, to discover new startups and brands through the advertisers list. I figured that if you’re a brand advertising on the Deck Network, you’re in the business of supporting the content I enjoy. And that made me, if anything, a passive fan. (I really drank the Kool-Aid.)

I suppose something is very broken when your favorite non-creepy tool to find blogs and brands that align with your interests is a defunct ad network. The open web needs visible connections in a bad way. We need more blog rolls.

(Perhaps iwantmyname should have a blog roll…)