If, like me, you are someone who is prejudiced against blogging about blogging, or if (also like me), you just don't like rants, you may want to skip what follows. Consider, though, that this post is written by someone who is prejudiced in the same way...
I've just gotten done updating my links. By "updating" I mean getting rid of some and adding others. My totally unofficial policy (often disregarded) regarding linking is that I will link to nearly anyone who fulfills one of the following conditions:
If the blog links to my blog.
If the blogger regularly posts on medieval matters.
If the blogger regularly posts on literary matters.
If the blogger regularly posts on academic matters.
If the blog updates regularly (at least once per month)
That's it. You've just got to fulfill ONE of those conditions, though, to be fair, I'll sometimes remove blogs on literary or academic matters if they don't interest me for long enough.
Now, here comes the rant part: Why is it that so few medieval blogs link to one another? People act as if they expect Owlfish to do all the work for them.
You might think this is blegging for links here; it isn't. I plan to gripe about this issue at the K'zoo panel this year, too. At first I thought that medievalists and others just weren't interested in my blog. Then I discovered that people were coming to my site, posting comments, commenting on my posts on their sites, etc -- yet still had not set up a permanent link here. Eventually it dawned on me that a lot of medievalists don't have any permanent links AT ALL.
Why is this important? Because as our links go up, our status on Google searches goes up, as does our ranking on such sites as The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem. By raising our collective status, we ensure that people looking for information find us more easily, and don't have to wade through an electronic bog of lame freshman essays on The Canterbury Tales to do it. In other words, links don't just promote particular posts and particular blogs; they promote the entire discipline.
I want to urge other medieval bloggers (and, frankly, other academic bloggers) to help raise the profile of this community. The best thing you can do is create a Blogroll for your site. A blogroll is a set of permanent links to other blogs that can be set to tell you when the other blog has been updated (if you look to my blogroll on the right, you'll see that some blogs have the word "Unlocked!" in front of them ... I've set that up to indicate that the blog has been updated in the last 24 hours). By the way, this can also draw more traffic to your OWN blog if you let Blogrolling know when you've just made a new post. Blogrolling is ridiculously easy to use, as demonstrated by the fact that a dolt like me uses it.
Don't want to use a blogroll? Fine -- then please create a set of permanent links. Even if you don't have your own blog, you can create a set of links on your academic page to raise the profile of the community.
If you want to move beyond these basics, use a few tracking techniques (like Tracksy, Sitemeter, or Technorati) periodically to see who has been sending traffic your way. If their site is not objectionable, consider adding it to your own permanent links. Also, I don't think it is bad form to e-mail people to let them know you've added their site, since it is flattering and gives them a chance to return the favor.
Beyond permanent links, of course, there are the issues of links to specific posts, trackbacks, etc. Those are all important issues too, but let's take babysteps first.