What we loosely call "social media" is built on shifting sands. When I first started blogging what now seems like eons ago, blogrolls were a hot topic. Even now I still get the occasional email from someone asking for a “link exchange”. (And if you are reading this, please note, I will link to you as long as you write something worth reading.) 

Blogrolls – those long lists of websites scrolling down the side of a blog were the equivalent of gold, achieving four things at once:

  1. Roll call: It is an easy to use way of reading your favourite blogs. Simply click through and read
  2. Inbound links: Creating an inbound link for another website pushes it further up the Google search rankings
  3. Social capital: When you link to another website it provides an easy way to drive traffic to another’s website. Just like you share your ideas and content on your blog, links on a blogroll allow you to share your readers
  4. Social proof: A link on a blogroll shows your readers (and the authors of linked websites) what you consider worth reading. It’s an endorsement and acts as a form of social proof.

Over the last couple of years, the practice of updating and actively managing a blogroll has fallen away. In my case, it is to do with the sheer number of quality blogs that I read – I have effectively moved my blogroll to a feedreader – so it no longer functions as a roll call of my favourite blogs.

However, the remaining points hold true. Inbound links are still important for website rankings, creating context for your readers via links to other sites is essential and in the great sea of anonymous web analytics, it’s great to know that YOU read ME.

So it is in this spirit that I am making a concerted effort to update my blogroll. Today I will be adding the following blogs to my long-neglected blogroll.

  • Matthew Gain: Writes a great blog on PR and the changing media landscape. He provides deep analysis on interesting topics (well, interesting to me, anyway). His blog (and Posterous) site are a great filter – it’s what you need without the distraction
  • Dave Phillips: The Cafe Dave blog is a lovely mix of personal thinking and coffee reviews. A regular of coffee mornings here in Sydney, Dave is to go-to guy when it comes to getting a latte just right.
  • Gavin Costello: Opinionated and pithy, the franksting blog dissects a range of social media and product marketing topics. You’ll love it.
  • Vocal Branding: The always charming Tim Noonan has a special gift. He can hear the way your brand makes people feel. And if you come to coffee morning he will read back the personal brand in your voice. Scared?
  • Sales Habitudes: I was lucky enough to meet Jeff Garrison during a recent trip to the US. I was amazed to be introduced to an energized group of bloggers and social media folk living and working in and around Des Moines, Iowa. Jeff’s blog brings a refreshing focus on sales – yes, social media + sales. Believe it.
  • Rob James: The blog of local startup Posse’s CTO, is full of tech, gadgets and tips. But I am hoping for some behind the scenes storytelling as Rob helps Posse take on the big players of the music promotion world.
  • My Proactive Life: The energetic Andrew Blanda has stopped talking and started walking. It’s a great blog (and personal diary) about transforming your life … from someone who is in the midst of doing just that.
  • A Cat in a Tree: Cathie McGinn’s intriguingly titled blog muses on topics close to her heart – from work to life and all the things in between.
  • B2B Marketing Insider: Michael Brenner’s prolific blogging on B2B topics is a must read for the serious marketer. How he finds time to also write the B2C Marketing Insider blog as well is anyone’s guess.
  • Happiness We Share: Nicola Swankie has the curious ability to weave marketing, social media and personal history into compelling blog posts. Definitely one to watch.
  • Warlach’s World: Lachlan Hibbert-Wells is a self-confessed geek. More on the cultural studies side of the fence than technology, he shines a light on the strange dance that we people do with the gadgets and technologies we love.
  • Marc Jarman: Promises to blog more. Of course, promises are cheap. I am hoping to see more on the orchestration of social media!