Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Amnesty Day

Blogroll Amnesty Day has come again, an idea I first learned about via Skippy.

Via Technorati, I spotted two blogs that included this site among those they promoted on Amnesty Day. One was Kiko's House, the home site of the middle-left-leaning Shaun Mullen, who manages the neat trick of being able to forcefully disagree with you without getting out the flamethrower. Probably because he's older than this medium and learned to write with a pencil, not a laptop. You youngsters on the left should take a lesson.

The other was new to me, Liberty Street, and if being thought of by Shaun in that context was an honor, this was a delight. The blogroll over there seems to start at Sullivan and go left from there. Yet they were able to appreciate the writing here as something worth noting. That or they could spot the classical liberal roots showing through my post-9/11 doo.

The idea of making room on the blogroll for blogs smaller than yours, in a nominal bid to boost their traffic, transcends political identities. But this movement began with a dispute among the left-side blogs, and it still seems to be stronger on that side than on the right. It's also possible that the right takes more of an "every blogger for himself" attitude toward the whole thing. You know, "Give a blog a link and you've fed him traffic for a day; teach him to get his own damn traffic, and he'll get Google ad revenues for a lifetime."

I'm an agnostic on that. I really don't find that being linked on someone's blogroll gives me any more traffic. Either that or I can't read my own sitemeter for shit. I'm on the rolls of some of the big moderate blogs, for instance, but I never track a single hit from there. If I get a specific link within a post by Andrew Sullivan or Glenn Reynolds, that's a different matter.

I suspect a link from me, even within a post, wouldn't mean much to anyone out there. I get about 800 hits a day, and from what I can tell about half of them are from people looking for Keira Knightley porn pics of one sort or another and the other half are the beloved regulars of DWM. Also known as " 'Our Gang' meets 'Dazed and Confused.' "

That's not a complaint, by the way. I have passed up chances to join larger blog networks and dropped out of the few I did join, in part because a low profile helps keep my shabby anonymity in place (and thereby saves me from unemployment), and in part because I really don't want to put any more time and libido into this stuff than I already do. Being aware of a wide readership and a larger commentariat would make me feel obligated in that direction. As it is, the commenters here do a splendid job of whacking each other's moles, so I don't have to.

And I really don't buy the philosophy that says you always should link to everyone who honestly link to you. Most of the blogs I link to are ones I actively read, or occasionally visit, or used to read. They are a record of the influences that went into what I write -- as well as a utility for me. Whether they link to me is immaterial. When I buy a Civil War history book, I don't look at the footnotes first to see if my books are quoted in it (but it helps open my wallet if they are).

There are exceptions to that philosophy. After Andrew Olmsted got killed in Iraq, I was reading his site and I was mortified to see DWM on his comparatively short list of rolled blogs. Mortified because I didn't at the time have him on mine. I had had him there before, and had moved him into the Watchers Council section when he joined it. Then when he left it he stopped actively blogging because he was redeploying. So I never put him back on the roll. And it's too late now.