Playing Kevin Bacon with the Internet

The wild and wooly world of the internet is like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon— the point isn’t where you are, but where you can go from here to that matters.

And right now, I’m not offering my visitors much in the way of a map…

The blogroll is a list of the websites and blogs that I visit on a frequent basis and that I think have value for the rest of the websurfing public. (Or at least the bits of the websurfing public that wander by my own site.) It’s supposed to be a useful tool for readers to find things that will interest them, plus share a little link love back to the websites.

Right now my own blogroll is a bit unorganized and incoherent. With the value of ‘a bit’ being roughly the size of Newark. (sigh)

Thus it’s time to try something different!

I’m taking a three-pronged approach to making my website a bit more link-social. This should help boost the relevance of the static and dynamic outbound links.

A Page for Everything and Everything in its Page

First, I’m making a separate page for each mini-blog’s links and resetting my link count to zero on these pages. As I visit the blogs during the day/week/month I’ll add them to the page. Every three months I’ll move everything down a notch to ‘Last visited in [Month]’ and go from there.

Having individual pages instead of listing everything on the sidebar will allow me more room and hopefully little more coherency when sorting things out. It should also make it much easier for folks who want to wander to find things that will interest them.

Front Page Love v.s. Front Page Chaos

Secondly, I’m going to do away with the blogroll in the sidebar (although I’ll keep it until all the rest of the work is hashed out.) It’s too long and too complicated and I’ve only had a handful of outbound clicks each month.

Instead I’m going to add a link to the new blogroll pages and a list of five random websites from each master category. As soon as I have functioning code, I’ll do another post so that everyone else can play around with it if they wish.

This should clean up my sidebar and put a spotlight on those random links.

DoFollow Friends

Thirdly, I’m going to start writing blog posts that offer shout-outs to those blogs I visit. It might be in the form of link-love posts that let readers know what’s new on the list, or links back to useful older content, or even as responses to topics that other blogs are talking about.

While some of the websites I visit don’t need the traffic (like CopyBlogger), I’m hoping to have just as many links to the smaller personal blogs as I do to the ‘Big Names.’ After watching this TED video (Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”), I’m much more aware of how limited our surfing choices can become.

Time Enough At Last

Redoing my blogrolls and keeping them current will also force me to be a bit more conscious of how much time I spend wandering the webs. I uninstalled StumbleUpon because I could lose hours looking over what everyone else found interesting. I need to take a better look at what I’m reading now and how valuable the content really is.

I’m hoping to see a lot more outbound traffic once things are up and running!

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!