Social Networks: Friends and Blogroll Additions

friendsaroundtheworldOne of the reasons I joined Blog Catalog (BC) was to come out from behind the wordpress.com garden wall. I wanted to make friends with bloggers from all the different blogging platforms, who blog on a wide range of subjects. I hoped that doing so would increase traffic to both of my blogs, this one and my wordpress blogging tips blog onecoolsite, as well as increasing the possibility that some of these social networking friends would become faithful readers.

Many friends
I do have many bloggers from Blog Catalog who I have marked as friends. I have no expectation that they will do likewise. If I’m particularly drawn to their blogs I join their neighborhoods and their blogs go on my reading list. If I have some commentary on a particular blog post to add to the dialog on a post my friends write I post a comment and if not, I don’t.

I do not choose to limit myself “befriending” only those bloggers who have related blogs and I never will. I live in a small community and I love the way there are no barriers when it comes to age or abilities or even common interests when making friends. I dislike the idea of becoming such a calculating opportunist in the blogosphere that I only befriend those with blogs that are directly related to my own blog and may benefit it in terms of hits, comments and stats. That kind of thinking just isn’t “me”.

Blogroll additions
The criteria I have for placing originally placing a blog link in my blogroll is that the blog must be “related” to the subjects I blog about, I must like it well enough to be reading it regularly and, it must contain no links to bad neighbors. If no reciprocal link is placed back to my blog in the other blogger’s blogroll within a reasonable time frame, I simply remove it and continue to read the blog anyway.

I am poised to begin a new blog reading management system. I find that I every much like the tools that we have at BC and that I spend a lot of time here. I will be un-subscribing from all BC member rss feed reader subscriptions as I can follow them on my BC dashboard.

Update of reference links:
Understanding Backlinks
Understanding Reciprocal and Non-Reciprocal links

Readers:
What is your criteria for adding a blogger as a “friend” at the social networks that you belong to?

What is your criteria for adding a blog to your blogroll?

References:
How to structure a reader and search engine friendly blog
How to maintain and track links

39 thoughts on “Social Networks: Friends and Blogroll Additions

  1. @Tony
    You’re welcome. I admit that I am giving careful consideration to yet another approach which is the one that Robin Easton has in place. She does not have a blogroll AKA Links page. What she does is provide a dedication section at the need of each of her posts with links back to the blogs that she reads. I think her idea has a lot of merit. To see what I mean you can click through to her blog Naked in Eden.

  2. Thanks for directing me to this post, as it’s a subject that I’ve been giving a lot of thought. I often worry about not reciprocating a link if I truly don’t find a particular blog to my liking, and things like that. Understandably, people could get a little upset when you don’t reciprocate, so reading clear headed approach to it has been a great benefit to me. Thanks!

  3. Suffice to say that I have stated my policy. I think this marking BC members as friends, joining their neighborhoods and placing them on our blorgroll is something that each blogger must work out to their own satisfaction. Best wishes to you. :)

  4. I guess I’m still following the old saying “you can’t have too many friends” since I am new. I’ve already started thinking that I may just delete any e-mails from someone who adds me without even looking at my site. It’s still hard for me to tell who will end up being a “real friend”. However, I think I’m starting to figure it out. I’m probably going to start looking more at things like did they at least leave me a shout, comment, or peek at my post.

  5. @Lana
    Thanks for your comment. Although there are some variations, it seems that most of us have a very similar approach when it comes to adding friends in social networks and, that the most common approach is built on the foundations that we have for making friends in our everyday lives ie. common ground. Best wishes for happy blogging.

  6. I agree with your thinking on adding a site to your blogroll. As for “friends” at BC, that exercise seems rather pointless. Although I have some friends there that I’d known before I joined BC, most of the rest (like I mentioned in a BC post,) are just people who add me as their friend. So long as they don’t start spamming me, I’ll leave them on my list. I think the number of one’s BC “friends” has some effect on blog ranking there, which is why everyone just tries to add everyone else.

  7. I always love reading what you write even at BC. There are times I find myself saying as I read “Girl two snaps and a twist!” or “You go girl!” You are so well written and so good at stating your point I don’t know how others can argue w/ you.

  8. @Tony
    Your friendship means a lot to me and I’m humbled by your praise. We’ve been going through some hard times lately on the BC General Discussion forum but I do hope you will stay the course. It would be really unfortunate if the hooligans, bullies, trolls and religious and political zealots win the day.
    Take good care and please stay in touch.

  9. TT is one of the best bloggers around, her contributions to the Blogcatalog community are second to none. She is highly sensible, sensitive and has the ability to see things that others often miss.

    She’s my buddy

  10. It’s funny how different people use different communities.

    I started blogging in high school, at least if you call livejournal /deadhournal blogging.

    Closed communities, privatized for friends if need be. When I moved to blogger it was a whole different thing as it turned out, back then you really had to find blogs you liked and read and go from there. There rally wasn’t much of a link exchange frenzy going on, or at least I didn’t know about it.

    That is probably why I don’t tend to use any of the communities I’m in to gather readers, or people to read – if it happens it happens and sometimes it does, but I still keep my reads on my reader or home page with a few coming in email – though i’ve kind of settled on my mbl group and do read my group there.

    For me most of my blog relationships came before these social networks sprang into action, and most of my connections are though readers who linked to me originally.

    When I joined blog catalog it was just a place to list your blog, and I didn’t look at it again until I saw a widget on someones site, and even at that I didn’t look at it completely until a long time later. I don’t really use the friends aspect of blog catalog for any given purpose at this time.

  11. HI!

    When I like what they write about, and how they write, I add them as friends. That is, if I’m the one requesting for ‘friendship.’ If I am being asked to approve other’s request, I just approve them. No criteria as to quality of contents. Of course, that is as long as the blogs are inoffensive, etc. :-)

  12. The fearless blog
    Thanks so much for your words of your support for my approach to life. It’s good to hear praise for the changes I have made for I was not always inclined to speak as freely as I do now. There was a time when I was paralyzed by fear. I undertook responsibility for my own healing. I underwent a transformation and now I am determined to be forthright and to do my best to remain authentic under all circumstances. I think it’s the only way that I can move forward and avoid self judgment, self abuse and regret.

    I find the way you are managing your links on your blog to be very interesting. I’m quite taken by your monthly Top 5 Blogs Reviews as well as your monthly Top 5 Photography blogs reviews too. In fact, if I do find that my Blogroll policy requires a change en I find a blend of your approach and rainforest robin’s appealing.

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting I appreciate it. Keep up your wonderful and inspirational work. I’ll be visiting your blog again soon and until then best wishes for happy blogging. :)

  13. @Robin
    I think your unique approach of choosing not to have a blogroll and instead to dedicate each post to a blog(s) you admire or to mention and link to them in a post is quite wonderful. IMO you should stick with it. I may even consider adopting it in the future. Best wishes in all you do. dear friend.

  14. I truly enjoy your writing style, or should I say style period. I have great respect for people who are candid and direct and display the courage to express their “true” feelings. This behavior is quite refreshing and perhaps even unusual since so many people find it necessary to pretend or hide behind a mask rather than be who they are. Honesty and directness may not always find favor with those who need to be cuddled and pampered with foolish manipulations of truth. However this reader admires raw courage, raw truth no matter how painful or distasteful the truth may be. So carry on. Pave your way, the way you wish it to be and not the way others dictate. In the end, you will leave unaccompanied anyway and will have only yourself. Enjoyed the post very much.

  15. Hi TimeThief,

    This is such a good post. You have hit into the very issues I’ve been pondering and totally overwhelmed with since I joined BC. I’d never blogged before anywhere…only email with friends and business associates. I’ve had NO idea how to handle all this, nor the overwhelming volume of contact, etc. I lived most of my adult life in the wild, very remote and I grew up in rural Maine, in the woods when not at school. So it is a lot for me.

    What I’ve done is add friends that approach me if I like their site and it’s not offensive or mean or weird. I guess I felt it was a way of honoring the fact that THEY sought me out and added me as a friend. That may be totally naive, but then I’ve lived in the jungles a lot. :) :) I also saw it as a way of bookmarking sites that I might want to go back to when I had more time.

    Then I had so MANY requests for adds to my blogroll and I got so overwhelmed with it and where to draw the line, etc. That I removed my blogroll and my links page altogether. LOL What I do in it’s place is dedicate each post to a blog(s) that I admire. Or I mention them in a post – with a link to their site. I found that more actively rewarding for me.

    I had actaully thought of contacting you to see how YOU deal with all this. Then you wrote this post. I have SO MUCH admiration for you…for your strength of character and sensible thinking and massive compassion….as well as your really grounded and astute sense of how to do all this. I have no idea what I am doing. You have such in depth skills to top it all off. Basically….in a nutshell….You are my heroine. I think you are for many people here at BC. I have to tell you, and it is not without tears in my eyes, that I am deeply honored to be included in your space here. It’s a gift. RainforestRobin

  16. @DocNicole
    Hi there,
    It’s good to heare that my blog is on your blogroll. Thanks. :)
    I’ve found that simply letting all my rss subscriptions to BC blogs that I read go has worked well for me so far and if it proves to be unworkable I can always switch back.
    Happy blogging Nicki :)

  17. I recently just added YOU to my blogroll! Hooray!! My blogroll has to be high quality self help content that my readers will appreciate. I also add all the blogs that I regularly read and keep up to date with for efficiency purposes. I am going to have to agree with you on the BC thing. But since they changed the site around I can’t figure out where my new neighborhood posts are…that was so much easier of a way to keep up with my fav bloggers!

    http://kitchentablemedicine.com

  18. @Dark Angel
    I like your blog too and enjoy our forum dialog. So okay you twisted my arm. I’ll add your blog to my humor section of my blogroll. :)

  19. I was pretty much a lone-blogger before i got active on BC.

    I have met very great writers and fun people. If i ever get fired for not working and spending too much time on the internet, I will still love BC :-)

    And whether you like it or not, you are on my blogroll!

  20. @CJ
    I’m glad that you like BC because it shoots my theory all to heck. My theory was that wp.com bloggers will either stay behind or return to behind the garden wall, despite the fact that no sense of community has existed in the forums there for some time now.

    There’s an aversion that we wp.com bloggers share. We find the make-money-online salesmanship spiels to be intolerable. I’ve been able to rise above my prejudice to some degree and I’m thinking that over time I just become immune to the rah! rah! rah! stuff. The good part is that those folks are a minority on the BC general discussion forums.

    I believe that your criteria for adding blogs to your blogroll is by far the most commonly shared by all bloggers. If you like the blog and read it, you add it and it’s nice if there’s a reciprocal link but it doesn’t really matter.

    In my case I will be using some SEO I have learned so if a month passes without a reciprocal link being put in place and/or a comment being made on my blog I will delete the link and continue to read the blog without having my blog’s page rank leaking out to a non-reciprocating site.

    Here’s some Blogroll wisdom. It’s a fallacy to believe that a long Blogroll is an asset. Consider that if you have a Blogroll with 100 external links displaying on every page of your blog ( some themes are structured to display Blogrolls on every page) then you need just as many internal links and reciprocal links to retain your Page Rank.

    * Every single one of those Blogroll links is a live external link leaking Page Rank to another site so, unless the other site is reciprocating by linking back it’s a Page Rank drainpipe.

    * Add nofollow to all the blogroll links that are not reciprocating or that you don’t want to be overly close to. Or delete them and read the blog anyway.

    Until we meet again stay well and happy. :)

  21. @Lydia
    It’s great to hear from you. Blog Catolog is a social network and blog directory with community forums. It’s not like Google reader at all. If you click this link you can see what it’s like http://www.blogcatalog.com/ “Bloggers, BlogCatalog is the place for you to connect with other bloggers, become a better blogger, attract more blog readers, participate in groups and discussions, find the latest tools for your blog, and much more!”

    I feel a kinship with you too and I’ll be over to read your blog again on the weekend.
    Cheers

  22. @Larry
    I’ve visited your guitar blog and was pleased to see that it’s coming along very nicely. I do hope that joining BC will bring your blog more traffic because your blog deserves it.

    I find BC to be a wonderful place to meet a diversity of bloggers. I also find that I’m readings blogs on topics that I never would have thought that I would have had an interest in.

    If you are looking for some good humor writers then check out the Humor section in my blogroll. And sshhhush … don’t tell … but I’ll be doing an upcoming post on how much difference humor writers have made to my life.

    Best wishes for happy blogging :)

  23. Hi Teck
    Somehow when reading up this list I skipped your comment. Thanks for answering the questions. Your approach makes sense to me. One of your blogs is on my blogroll here and after I get my camera I will start a photo blog. So at that point I’ll be linking back to yours and asking for all kinds of advice.
    Stay well and happy my friend. :)

  24. Interesting post, TT. I’m not a big user of social networks, although I do like BC; I use it to discover new blogs more than the community aspect and have found many away from WP.com that I like reading. The other one I use a lot is Twitter because of its convenience; I blog less frequently now, so it’s a good way to keep up to date.

    I’m usually quite cautious about online friendships; I think it takes a while to build up to that level of trust, like in any relationship, but once you have it, it’s as real and close as any off-line friendship. Most of my other friends find that hard to understand, though, so perhaps it’s not an attitude everyone shares yet.

    My criteria for adding a link to my blogroll is fairly simple; I need to like their blogs and their topics and see that they encourage discussion (answering comments, etc). I don’t mind if they don’t reciprocate; it’s just a nice feeling when they do! ;)

  25. @MusEditions
    Thanks for stopping in and sharing. Thanks most of all for you commendation. Strangely enough most wp.com bloggers rarely seem to venture out from behind the garden wall. That’s really too bad because there are many more interesting bloggers to meet everywhere else in the blogosphere. Best wishes for happy blogging :)

  26. @Dani
    Hi there you lady with the crazy life. Now that I can actually read your blog look under “Friends” and find your link in my blogroll. I could not read it when the background was black. :)

  27. @Rob
    You have said: “In my online life my social circles are just as real and just as important to me. However, my friends are very diverse in opinion and perspective and values. I value their friendships. BC facilitates communication and is the center of my online social circle. Finally I am proud to count you, timethief as one of my online friends.”

    The social circle at Blog Catalog is as important to me as it is too you. I value the opportunity to hear different viewpoints on the forum and to create community there and on my blog. I’m likewise proud to call you my friend. Thanks so much for all you do for others at BC and best wishes to you in all that you do. :)

  28. TT, I haven’t created my blogroll yet. Still trying to make sure that I go about it in an intelligent way. However, you can bet your “bottom dollar” that you will be on mine! I will be strategic and will definitely make sure that it is manageable. – Nards

  29. You are much more current than I am on social network structures (just looking at your “my communities” makes me realize I need to find out what those things are!). The only community I’ve joined so far (been in the blogosphere since Feb.) is a yoga group. I like everyone in the group but haven’t taken the time to add them as friends, only a few. I think it’s because I don’t visit it regularly.

    I have no idea what BC is but it sounds similar to my Google Reader (?). To be honest, I’ve added blogs to my reader and then I never go there. I don’t like the way they look in the reader, as I miss the totality of the blog itself. Therefore, I’m still using my own system in Bookmarks-Blogs-Best & Good. If I find that I haven’t visited one for a few weeks I look at it once more to see what initially attracted me to it. If the feeling still isn’t there I delete it from my Bookmarks to keep it a real list of favorite blogs.

    I have some on my blogroll who haven’t listed me, or who simply don’t have a blogroll at all. But I feel a special kinship and, yes, friendship, with the ones who have reciprocated the blogroll listing, like you!

  30. I joined BC just recently and love the access I have to so many points of view and ideas. I would have never stumbled upon such interesting writers such as yourself and rainforestrobin without it. Which leads to my second point of criteria. I’ve been with Blog Catalog for almost a month and if you look at my short list of contacts, I love good writing. Writing that is passionate and thought provoking with some occasional humor.
    As far as blogrolls, I’ll add a site if it’s somewhat related and something I really want others to read. I don’t expect a reciprical link but it’s encouraged.
    Once again, great post!

  31. As always, I loved your thoughtful post. They cause me to be introspective. What I find interesting about myself is that in off-line life I tend to move in social circles similar to my own. I hear the opinions of folks who primarily agree with me and with whom I share similar experiences and preferences (religious, political, social, etc.) In my online life my social circles are just as real and just as important to me. However, my friends are very diverse in opinion and perspective and values. I value their friendships. BC facilitates communication and is the center of my online social circle. Finally I am proud to count you, timethief as one of my online friends.

  32. @ian in hamburg
    IMO online relationships are just as real as those I have face-to-face. I really do like the bloggers that I do mark as friends, even if they are make-money-online bloggers. I enjoy dialog with all kinds of bloggers in the BC forums and those that I most enjoy discussing things with I mark as friends. If they blog on a subject I don’t have any interest in then marking them as friends does not mean that I will join their neighborhoods and read their blogs. However, if they do I will go that route and I will comment on their blog posts and grow closer to them as I do.

    My pattern for befriending people in the blogging world doesn’t really vary from the pattern I have in my actual face-to-face life. I have many people who I call friends. They attend the same aerobics, yoga and fencing classes or the work with me in various organizations. Calling them friends does not mean that we are close enough to get together for dinners in each other’s homes or, that we are close enough to share personal confidences. We are more than acquaintances but less than close friends.

    With my close friends I do share personal confidences, we do things together, frequently have meals together, we celebrate together (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and we support each other in times of trouble.

    I have developed a few close friends in the online world. Although we cannot meet and do things together face-to-face the emotional investment we make into our relationship is similar to the emotional investment I make into relationships with close friends living here in my own community.

  33. Hello tt,

    My criteria for some ones blog to be on my blog roll widget

    1.They don’t have alot of ads around there post

    2. I read there blog on a regular bases

    3. They add my blog to there blog roll in a reasonable time…
    or they will be removed from mine…

    P.S. I have both your blogs on my blog roll but don’t expect you
    to do the same for me I add you because you have been a great friend to me… :)

    ~Teck~

  34. I pretty much agree with Ian. I haven’t joined BC yet (although I do support their “Bloggers Unite” days), mainly because I find plenty of diverse blogs to read through WordPress tags. Online friends are hard to define—I guess I would consider them to be people I correspond with other than just through comments, at least occasionally.

    As for Blogroll additions; they are to bloggers I both like to read and in whom I have some emotional investment. I don’t mind whether or not they put me on their own blogroll, as people have all kinds of different criteria for that. Sometimes I will notice a blogger has put me on their roll, and I’m usually pleased about that, and if so, makes me more likely to add them. Not a hard and fast rule, though. I commend you for reaching out in new ways!

  35. I guess I’m old school – but I have a hard time with the terminology of friend in the online world. I can’t just accept a BC friends invite from a marketing blogger a make-money-online-blogger if I know for a fact I would never visit his or her blog in a month of Sundays. Nor would I pretend to be interested in their blogs by befriending them. Is this so bad? Aren’t relationships in the real or online world about finding people to connect with in some way? For that, doesn’t there have to be some basic common ground?

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