If you have followed my web publishing career for a long time (by "a long time," I mean at least fourteen dog years), you may recall the tall, vapid list of links that became a staple on my earlier blogging endeavors. These scrawling shout outs cluttered the page unnecessarily and camouflaged new content to such an extent that readers had to hunt for actual posts. I thought I'd created a website adventure but the not-so fun loving who read the site were irritated out of their minds. The blogroll wasn't attractive, useful or necessary, but it reigned supreme on my sidebar like a vestigial organ waiting for it's listectomy.
A well meaning friend asked me the other day why FCN doesn't have any such blogroll. Of course, I say he was "well meaning" because I am about to insult him. Of all the questions to ask about FCN, is our lack of a blogroll the most earth shattering? Why not ask why Todd dies in his second episode only to live on through several more? Why not ask how three derelicts manage to rise so early to get a post on the internet (Pacific Time, doubters!). Why not ask about Desperate Student? There are plenty of valid questions there.
Then again, the germane question is usually the one that goes unasked, so maybe I shouldn't be too hard on my friend.
Here at FCN, we maintain no list of friendly, reciprocal or even fanciful "blogs we like." In fact, our linkage is very minimalistic. While most sites keep at least a small blogroll with friends' sites or other interesting fare, we don't. Why?
There are many easy answers: We don't have any friends. We don't have any friends who blog. Even if we did have friends who blog, we wouldn't link to their sites. We have such varied taste in blogs that the disputes created by a definitive list would cause a rift between us contributors. Linking to other blogs is morally wrong. No other blogs would like to link to us. Linking requires work.
Like most easy answers, all of the above options are false. The real reason has to do with our rebellious nature. Remember those association games you played as a kid? Blue > water, water > thirsty, thirsty > hungry, etc? Well, oe more we can add to that list is "blog > link list." Where a blog is a useless amalgamation of hyperlinks will be also. Links are considered the "currency" of the internet, whatever that means. They open the door for other sites and the truly globalized internet is the blogrolled one, or so they taught us in blogger 101. "You gotta have 'em," as one wizened author once told me.
This culture of "I'll link to you if you'll link to me" has become standardized across the great servers of the world. Blogs have come to demand links from others, as if it is their birthright to see their name underlined. Don't link and you are using cash in a Visa check card world:
To us here at FCN, nonconformity is more than a virtue, it is a creed. We aren't normal people (who is?) and, in case you hadn't noticed, we broadcast that abnormality through this site. When others say jump we think twice and prepare our estate before asking "how high?" When others write sincere essays for their college entrance, we prepare a passel of indefensible lies.
That doesn't mean we haven't provided some links now and again. To continue an already tenuous analogy beyond its expiration, some hairs do manage to escape our cyber razor. To wit, see here and here.
Keep in mind that our content exists for the entertainment of ourselves and, of course, our moms. We also sometimes consider the faithful few, but only for fleeting moments. If you want us to link to you, your content needs to be entertaining and captivating. It needs to grab us by the chain and yank, in exactly the way PETA wouldn't approve. Alternatively, it can be funny. We have twelve readers, most of whom will probably at least look at your page if we provide a link, but your material needs to be worthy of their attention.
Please remember that the mere fact that you have a blog is not worthy of our reader's attention. Heck, I have a blog. That's my four word refutation. If you want a link, send us a page of your best content and we will give it fair consideration. That is, we will assign it heads or tails on a coin and make sure the toss is conducted properly.
Okay. Who am I kidding? We are so strapped for content we'll probably post anything. Send us a picture of your Grandma and you'll get face time. Well, maybe not, but it's worth a short, isn't it?