A reader noticed that I'd recently deleted CMR from my blog roll, and thought I was "excommunicating" the CMR guys over my disagreement with Patrick Archbold. No worries--they're still on my Google Reader feed along with all of my other must-read daily blogs; I was actually in the process of paring down my blog roll, and had removed about five (including CMR) the other day before getting interrupted and forgetting about the whole thing.
The truth is, there are several key Catholic blogs I read daily: CMR, Catholic and Enjoying It, Acts of the Apostasy, and about a dozen others, in addition to a handful of Christian blogs and blogs that are more news-oriented or political in focus. All of these blogs are on my Google Reader, because that way I don't have to waste time checking them when they haven't updated. Not only that, but all of these are quite popular blogs--nobody's going to come to my tiny and insignificant blog, see a link to CMR or CAEI, and think "Oh, I've never heard of this blog--I should check it out." Which is why I started wondering recently why I had such a large blog roll, and whether anybody even uses blog rolls anymore.
I talked to my sister-in-law, who said she hasn't used one on her blog in years. Glancing around, I found that some blogs have them, some don't, and some have a small list of unusual blogs or family members' blogs or some such thing. I realized that I'd be a lot more likely to click on a link in the middle of a small list of blogs I'd never read than to scroll through a list of dozens of popular blogs in order to find one I'd never seen before.
So, as I said, I started the process of paring down, but got interrupted, and forgot to come back and finish.
When I resumed the paring process--brought on by my reader's comment, which reminded me what I was doing in the first place!--I realized that approximately six blogs on my list were no longer active at all, and two or three others had been changed to totally different blogs by their authors. A handful more had updated approximately once or twice a year for the past three or four years. And, as I said, the popular blogs certainly didn't need a link from me (my CAEI link existed only because I had problems loading Mark's blog for a while if I tried to come to it from Google, but that's no longer the case).
Right now the list contains my husband's blog and a few other small blogs that I find interesting; I plan to keep the total number to fewer than ten, with the notion that more people will look at ten links than a hundred. I'm adding a new blog, too; the Far Above Rubies writer is so consistently interesting and thought-provoking that I hope she'll gain a wide readership.
Tell me, in the comment boxes: do you make use of bloggers' blog rolls? Do you use them frequently enough for them to be an important feature of any blogs you visit? Do you find them a convenient "short cut" to good blogs, or an annoying page clutterer?