Monday, 19 November 2012

Blogging; Are Linky's Taking Over?

A lot of my readers will be wondering what Linkys are. In a nutshell, they're blog posts with an opportunity to leave a link to a post relevant to either a theme, or just your blog in general. Another term you could use is 'Blog Hop'. So for example, you may get a linky focusing on animals, therefore you'd link either a recent post about animals or you'd write one specially. It's all in order to gain exposure to your blog.

But that's where I feel lies the problem.

There are some fabulous linkys about in the blogging world but many are just used as a dumping ground to leave a blog link and promote a blog. I've taken part in a few which I've really enjoyed, and have spent a long time trawling through other links left on the post. It's not really necessary to look at every single one, and in some cases it just isn't possible. I find ones that have around a dozen blog links are usually quite easy to get through and rather enjoyable in the mix. Then we have bloggers who just create a blog to turn it into a linky. I don't profess to be an expert but I do have a feeling (think I read it somewhere) that linkys can be a way of bumping a blog up the charts, improving a ranking and an easy ride to the top of a list. Is this really what blogging is all about today? Are people so desperate to get to the top that they feel the only way they can do that is by creating a linky? What happened to writing good content?

I don't think that's the case with many bloggers, but it does come across with some. I read a huge amount of blogs from all over the UK and the US and so many nowadays have linkys on several of their posts. Some of them are immensely popular whilst others have a handful of bloggers taking part. But one of my pet hates in the world of blog linkys is when a blogger leaves their link then reckons they haven't got time to go through the others. I spent a full day once, going through a massive and very popular linky, clicking on 75 blogs, reading them and leaving a comment on each. Now I stick to the small linkys because out of all those 75 blogs, one person came to mine and commented on my linked post. I know it's not all about the comments, but a little reciprocation goes a long way in blogging; it's how interaction starts and it's how our blogs become known.

One of my favourite linkys is Mummy Barrow's Ranty Friday - you know me, I love a good rant. My advice to anyone who's hosting a linky on their blog is don't expect miracles; if you've created a blog to get to the top of a chart or get a better ranking, then give up now. That's not what blogging is all about. I think people are getting a little carried away with the competitiveness of blogging these days and it's quickly turning into "my linky's better than yours" game. No one wants to be told what to write on their own blog, least of all me, but remember it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of interaction and a lot of patience to make a blog successful. How many times I must have said that now I have no idea, but if people stopped getting obsessed with where they are in charts and rankings, maybe the whole experience of blogging would be so much more enjoyable. For all concerned.

72 comments:

  1. I love a couple that I do every week and I tend to dip in and out of the others. I do have to keep reminding myself why I have my blog else I think my blog would become one big serial linky.

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    1. I think many people's blogs are in danger of becoming very samey and this, as an old time blogger, makes me a bit sad to be honest. I like a blog to have originality. That's just my opinion of course and I love skipping from one blog to another whether it be reviews, photography, kids, writing, farming, whatever; they're all worthy of being read. But maybe it's time to re-evaluate why we actually blog.

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  2. thank you for liking mine!

    I know what you mean, though there do seem to be an awful lot of them. I don't do it to boost exposure of my blog, though. I do it to try and bolster the idea that blogging is a community. Blogging can be quite isolating, and like doing something that does a little something to link us all up, even if it is just for a good old rant.

    I do also try and make a point of visiting and commenting on each of thse that do link up. I think that is important. If somebody has taken the time to link to my blog with their own post, I think the lease I can do is thank them or comment on the post.

    That is the bit that may be lacking somewhat with some hosts.

    Food for thought though, thanks for the post.

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    1. Yes, it can be isolating, I do agree with that. It's a good way to introduce you to new blogs, but only if you're willing to make an effort, too. Unfortunately, I feel many bloggers aren't.

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  3. I don't run one (cos I'm not original enough to think of a good thing to write about and start), and tend to do a couple regularly that I'm interested in. Those I tend to find similar blogs that I enjoy reading once finding - and those are the one who'll be most interested in reading my blog as we've things in common.

    I'm like you though - I tend to try and wade my way through everyone in the linky (I usually come to it late, so start at the end and back to the beginning, so those who've joined late do get someone going and reading their post. (The last one I did, I had one comment, and I think that was already from someone I converse with anyway).

    The one that annoys me, is when people link up with a link up for their own. Totally confuses me, as I've no idea what I'm trying to read.

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    1. I've seen that happen, especially on US blog hops where people leave a link to their own blog hop - why????!!!! That just smacks self-promotion and that isn't what the linky is all about!

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  4. Ahh this is interesting.

    I hardly do linkies anymore because I don't have time to do much reciprocal commenting, but at one point I was doing Listography, I Spy, The Gallery, Saturday is Caption Day, Silent Sunday regularly, as well as dipping into Wot So Funnee and several food linkies - that's at least five linky posts a week!

    However, I think it was good for my blog, not just because linkies helped (and continue to help) me to find new readers, but because I was just starting out and treated them as prompts. It inspired my writing and my photography and it drove me to make time to read and interact with others. And knowing that they would be visiting my blog and commenting made me think carefully about how to provide content that was *worth* commenting on.

    I've run a couple of one-off linkies on topics I'm passionate about (a nostaligic look back at childhood toys and childhood books) and found them rewarding.

    For me it's not about SEO or rankings. Actually, the new project I've just started is probably awful for SEO. People are submitting recipes to me and I'm cooking and blogging about them, including links back to the sender's blog. Becky at Baby Budgeting does a similar thing with budgeting tips from other bloggers. So why am I doing it? Well, I'll go wherever inspires me and with whatever helps me to create interesting, valuable content for my visitors.

    I don't think linkies do any harm, but if you get sucked in to only taking part with a view to getting of reciprocal visits and comments (although I, like most people, LOVE comments), I think it becomes quite disheartening.

    So, are linkies taking over? No, I don't think so. Well, only if you let them x

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    1. Maybe they're not taking over the blogging world, but I do think they're starting to take over some people's blogs.

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  5. Totally agree. There are a couple of linkys that I irregularly take part in, as the mood takes me and because I enjoy them. It does seem to be a way to increase your blog rankings and if that's what you're into then go for it! I like to just blog though and have accepted that that means less popularity and comments on my writing. I remind myself why I do this and it's not for popularity and awards. Although I am not adverse to any praise either!! When I do join linkys I make sure to read a portion of the other links and to leave a little comment for them. It's rude not to, I think?

    xx Jazzy

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    1. The blog ranking and being zoomed up the charts is on the hosts' part - the linky they have created is usually a way to improve stats which is why we are seeing so many of them. That's what I mean by competitive blogging. It's becoming a popularity contest.

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  6. I do see what you are saying. I have a weekly linky on Domestic Disgrace, but it's for a purpose- I really want to learn to cook so people offer recipes. In terms of page rank, I would imagine this is just awful because there are lots of links being let on the site, and I link to the recipe I choose. For me, the linky is more about as personal journey. If someone has made the effort to link up, I always make sure I actually read, and comment on the post. x

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    1. That's what everyone should be doing - making more of an effort and stop just assuming everyone will visit them without them needing to visit as well. It has to work both ways otherwise blogging just becomes a chore.

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  7. I think blogging is at a weird fork in the road. When I first started it was all about the content, then it was all about linkies, and now it seems to be all about advertorials.

    I don't know when companies will realise that just like we flick across and skip ads in magazines, we'll do the same with those on blogs.

    The only linky that really got me a lot of traffic was when I participated in Silent Sunday, but that was when it was at Mocha Beanie Mummy, so much so that even in my all time stats, the only referral stat above it is Google.

    I think linkys on established blogs work really well, or linkys that have a loyal following, like Reasons to Be Cheerful.

    Great thought provoking post as usual.

    Liska x

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    1. "A weird fork in the road" - I love that description! You're absolutely right. People don't seem to know what blogging is about anymore as it becomes an ever increasing circle of free advertising, making money and improving stats.

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  8. Really interesting post. I take part in linkys just to give me something to blog about when I'm feeling a bit stuck mostly. I only take part in the because I enjoy them and I do make an effort to look at the other blogs taking part if I have time, sometimes I just can't make it through all of them though.

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    1. I guess they can be inspirational, and quite good for blogger's block!!

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  9. I wrote a post recently on linky etiquette after noticing that many linkys would have say 50 people linking up and only 12 comments on the hosts blog.
    Linkys are a great way of finding different blogs and to some degree help that sense of community but I'd far rather dip in and out of them than commit myself to joining in every week on them all - else there would be no time left! That's one of the reason I have so many blogs on the go - I want to keep joining in with things but in honesty I don't want to post 14 posts a week on one blog.
    If the person participating doesn't join in and visit some other blogs then I see that as potentially a bit of a waste of their time and energy - if you are going to join in then make the effort I say else there really is no point!

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    1. This is something that really pisses me off - when people leave their link then don't bother to comment on the host's blog. That's so bloody rude in my opinion. That really does smack self-promotion and using a blog as free advertising - almost as bad as PR's and SEO's with their cheeky requests.

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  10. Thought provoking and oh so true. I agree with everything you are saying (again!!) I really only do Silent Sunday as I like randomly clicking on blogs I have never heard of before and commenting. I was shocked to read the other day that someone had spent ALL sunday commenting on every single silent sunday post.

    i didn't realise until recently that commenting affected rank!!!!

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    1. I went through all the Silent Sunday's one evening to see what I was missing on blogs I didn't know. To be honest the ranking thing hadn't crossed my mind (oh, that sounds so contrite but I mean it!) - I really enjoyed the pictures and finding a whole load of new blogs that I hadn't come across before. It made me extremely antisocial for that evening as I got more and more engrossed so I won't be doing it all again (unless the DH is really annoying me) and have reverted to random choices.

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    2. Silent Sunday is the linky that had me trawling through 75 blogs in a day and receive one blogger back to mine! I commend Jay for all her hard work on that and I don't blame her one bit for giving it up. I would have done the same.

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    3. Now you mention SS, CJ don't you think it is very sad that people don't visit her SS anymore just because she is no longer hosting it? I find that poor, very poor xx

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    4. I didn't realise they weren't visiting her anymore - yes, that is pretty bad. If it wasn't for her, SS wouldn't have become so popular.

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  11. I really like smaller linkys, where you can easily visit each other blog taking part. They are a good way to find other blogs that are similar to mine and interesting to me. For example, I like the monthly PinAddicts challenge and Needlework Days at Feisty Tapas. I've never taken part in Silent Sunday, partly because I find it overwhelming how many people take part and I could never find the time to visit all of them.

    I did sort of start a linky of my own to share three posts enjoyed over the last week because I thought it was a good way to share the blog love around a bit, but then I realised just how much hard work it was to get people to take part, so now I just write a weekly post myself because I enjoy doing it!

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    1. That's why I like Ranty Friday - I love to rant on here (as everyone now knows!) and I love reading other rants, too. That linky is open to all and the majority of blogs on there are very interesting and worth a read.

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  12. I think if done right linky's are like restaurants/gathering places for interests...i run one...separate from my blog that focuses on poetry...its provides a place for them to get together....there are plenty of people out there only looking to boost their stats by linking in with no intention of visiting anyone...we are pretty in your face that that is not what we are for and have called out a few people that were treating it as such...

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    1. Yes, I agree. My argument that many aren't done right. The ones you partake in are, correct me if I'm wrong, to promote your creative writing and poetry and they certainly are a wonderful way to improve your writing. It's those bloggers who just want to self-promotion with no reciprocation that irritate me.

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  13. Some of these linkies are fun, but it's impossible to keep up with them all. I have noticed a lack of 'give and take' in them, which I thought was the point and am glad Mammasaurus wrote about that - some can be quite a commitment. Using them as prompts doesn't hurt once in a while and I don't know why people feel the need to post all the time, but original, preferably humorous content is always better! X

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    1. That's the issue isn't it - there are so many about nowadays that it is impossible to keep up! But when a blogger creates their blog one week then creates a linky on it the next, and then complains that they get no one linking up, well, I despair!!

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  14. I very rarely take part in linkies. I like to idea and I think it is probably a fun way to interact with the community but I have so much to say on my own (yeah I'm a chatterbox) that I fill my blog that way. Using them as a way to boost your rankings seems sensible tbh, if you are looking to have a successful blog for whatever reason then this is a good way to create backlinks. I don't judge those that look at it that way as long as they are using them to create good content, not absolute rubbish.

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    1. Maybe it is a good way, but it's also taking away the quality of a good blog - there might be a blog author who writes beautifully, but prefers to do a quick linky to get up the charts - each to their own of course, but such a waste.

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    2. I agree, and as I said it's not really for me as I prefer to blog about whatever I'm feeling/thinking at that time. I guess it just feels like perhaps we could all live and let kinda thing. As in I don't want to approach blogging that way but if you do that's cool, after all I don't have to read it.

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    3. Btw just to ramble a little more, I really do feel like blogging is a bit of a popularity contest at times. It used to get to me as Ive never been popular and probably am not about to start now. But then I remembered why I started my blog and how much I love my little corner of the net, and I tried to just be with what I need from blogging.

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  15. When I ran my You're Beautiful linky it was, so it transpires, part of my recovery from depression. It was good for me, I had the odd qualm when no-one linked up but it was part of being in the blogging community and interacting with people - and that was healthy. I've run it again this week as a one-off as a commenter from (ironically) a Silent Sunday asked me to.

    I think joining in with prompts is a good way for me to look for nice things and get out with my camera rather than turning the blog into one egocentric rant - or leaving it neglected

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    1. If it's good for you and you aren't doing it to gain better stats then that's a good reason to do it. Unfortunately, some of these linkys might start off as genuinely wanting to increase their presence in the blogging community, but they eventually turn into "mine's better than yours". Not all I know, but I've seen so many try and fail over the years.

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  16. The only linkys I have used are for the regular Monday Succinctly Yours meme and Mimi Peace Globe movement.

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    1. I think I've seen those around the Blogosphere though never taken part.

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  17. I do Silent Sunday if I have a picture that I want to share. I reply to my comments on a Monday & randomly pick blogs to comment on as well.
    I also do Kate Takes 5's Listography, this is enough for me, as I want to improve my writing!

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    1. Blogging used to be about the writing, or at least showing off expert photography. It's changed over the years though. Too much competition for the top spot and doing linkys is a way to help that happen.

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  18. When I add my link to a linky (which is very infrequent these days), I go to all of the links that are already linked up before mine and try to find something to comment. But sometimes, if I am one of the first ones to leave a link, that means I don't necessarily get to comment on all the blogs that come after mine due to either forgetting to go back to it or just not having the time. I do try, though, to go to the blogs of anyone who comments on my post and at least reciprocate.

    There is a linky I was thinking of starting, not for any rank or links, but just because I would love to see the posts that others would share. But I doubt I have the clout to get anyone to join in!

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    1. I don't think it's necessary to comment on all the linked up blogs because especially with some, there are so many it's virtually impossible anyway. I'd be wary of starting a linky right now myself!

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  19. great point, totally agree with you on all points (boring I know!). linkys are great for a lazy blogger (like me at times) to get inspiration for a post and they do usually provoke some good interaction. I try to reciprocate comments at least to those who have commented on mine, if not all. It is good to be aware of getting the balance right and putting in some good quality posts as well though. x

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    1. didn't mean this to sound like linky posts are not good quality! I meant "other quality posts"! I'm def on the side of linky love though x

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    2. I've used them in the past to find new blogs and I have found many over the years through links and blog hops.

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  20. I can only write a post when I am inspired about something, and sometimes that thing will be the subject of a linky. The one I take part in the most is Reasons to be Cheerful, because it always lift my mood :)

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    1. I took part in that one ages ago and it was a nice one to involved with.

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  21. I do a linky on my blog which involves people adding their own nature photos. It started after a friend commented how many nature-related photos I posted and I thought it would be a good thing to get going. I get between 1 and 15 people linking up each time and I'm probably a bit too inconsistent about when I actually do the posts but for me it's not about boosting my own blog, it's just a genuine opportunity to look at some nice photos and let others do the same. I don't care that it's not huge, I feel chuffed if I get even ONE person joining in as it means I may have sparked an interest in someone, somewhere.

    I used to do Silent Sunday a lot and would spend almost all of the day commenting on others, only to get a handful of comments in return and although I know you don't give to receive, I started to feel very jaded by the whole thing, wondering why I was bothering when no-one else seemed to be.

    One thing I love about blogging is the community aspect and as an extension of that, I love the way a linky can give us all a chance to see how we interpret things differently and be creative together, but I agree with you in that a lot of people abuse them to further themselves. It also seems that some people start off in the same way as the rest of us, but suddenly rise through the rankings and think that they're too big to comment on other peoples blogs, despite getting a lot on their own.

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    1. That's the thing, you get to the point where you start asking, "why bother if no one else does?" I use some linkys as a way to find new blogs, especially on BritMums and their carnivals - not sure if they're classed as linkys though...

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  22. I tend to dip in and out of linkys. I do the Project 366 weekly linkup since I have started that again and I try to link up to Country Kids at Coombe Mill too, this one I like because it promotes outdoor play which is something important to us as a family. I do try to visit everyone else who links up when I do so. I will link up to Silent Sunday if I have a photo I would love to share that hasn''t fitted into my blog elsewhere that week but this is irregular for me. There does seem to be an awful lot of quite repetitive linkys but then there are linkys like 'Reasons to be Cheerful' and 'Meal Planning Mnday' where I don't link up but I do enjoy reading the posts that other people do. I think my feeling is that they have their place but bloggers should think about if there really is a gap before creating a new one.

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    1. There are some linkys that I enjoy reading through also, but don't join. I totally agree with your last sentence. There are so many about now that I don't think there are any gaps to create a new one.

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  23. Having set up a new linky myself a couple of weeks ago, i have to be in favour! Honestly though? I love a good linky - a chance to share my posts, find some new reads and gain some readers all in one hit. I do try to visit some, if not all the other blogs, although i am very aware that not everyone does. I don't see the point in linking up unless you're going to - for me, it's about creating a sense of community - if you don't visit/comment its purely about promoting your blog and that seems to detract from the point.

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    1. It is exactly about creating a sense of community otherwise it just becomes, like I said, a dumping ground and opportunity to freely advertise your blog. This, I fear, is what goes on too much.

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  24. I signed up to do the monthly make- but i found i couldn't figure out how to do it, and then lost track of keeping up each month and blogging about what i had made. At one point i had 4 craft items i had made and forgotten to blog about. So trying to join in and do the linky bit on my blog is too hard for me.
    So far all of my followers have come from friends, my "bookblogs" friends who have followed me to it, or a few that have added me after i have found them and regularly read their blogs.
    This is one of my favourite blogs to follow as it always leaves me with something to think about.

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    1. Thanks for saying that, it means a lot.

      What I find astonishing is some of these linkys are weekly and bloggers often complain when not many people take part. They do become a bit boring after a while though so it's not surprising not many people take part in some.

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  25. I think I did Josie's writing workshop linky a couple of times, and maybe the gallery back in it's infancy but I don't do any now. Part of it's me being cantankerous- why should I put the effort in to make someone elses blog more "popular"- but mostly it's down to me and my desire to paddle my own canoe.

    Having said that, I tend to put my politics posts forward for the Britmums politics round up, but that's mostly because no bugger reads them otherwise :)

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    1. I went through a phase like that - why should I leave my link on someone's post to get them more traffic and get none for me. But it's not really about that - for me, it's about finding new blogs to read and follow. The irritating part is when it becomes a one-way street - which is very much what is happening these days.

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  26. Not so long ago, I didn't have a clue what a linky was!! I recently participated in *reasons to be cheerful* because I like the positivity. Thanks to a bloggy friend I now know how to add code to ensure that the links for the other participants show up on my post! :). That's my bundle really, I don't have the time to get more involved.

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    1. I don't think linky's have been around long, though I could be wrong. It used to be blog hopping which did get out of hand on many blogs.

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  27. I join in with Wednesdays 'The Gallery' because I have a keen interest in photography. I do no others and don't host any either. I watch the competitive blogs conjuring up linkys to draw in hits and links. Fine if that is why they are blogging. I blog to let out feelings mainly and because the keyboard listens in a way I need to be listened to. Horses for courses I guess.

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    1. Funnily enough, I was going to join in on The Gallery last week when it was 80's theme but I haven't done after all. Blog and let blog, I agree, but all those competitive blogs most probably won't last that long.

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  28. I found the best linky I used to take part in was a craft one Handmade Mondays. I used to do it when I kept up my craft blog - it was great to get inspiration, meet like minded people, and was great to share my crafty ideas and makes.
    Thanks what I like about the linky's I enjoy - similar minded people and a way to find them all, as well as sharing my views about a particular topic.

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    1. That's a good way of viewing them; finding like minded people is an excellent way to build your blogging circle.

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  29. I am going to naively say that I am not really bothered if people just blog to get high in the "charts". I would hope it is not the linky's that get them there anyway and if it is well then sure one blames the judges! Everyone blogs for different reasons and it was not until I was introduced to the parenting blogging world that suddenly I was questioned about "Why and how I blog? and is my blog good enough?" (By the way judging by my following it's not that amazing but I like to read it anyway) I personally love linky's and join in those that really interest me for example those about photography. I have discovered some great blogs through it. I comment on those that I truly like and not because they have joined the linky otherwise I would have to be not so nice and well you get ousted right out of the parenting blogging world for that! I guess having a little blog makes these kind of worries frivolous to me. I love silent sunday and out of the 100 blogs that do it I maybe get 2 comments if I'm lucky.

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    1. Sure, everyone does blog for different reasons and I would never judge anyone on how they blog. I think some members of the parent blogging world need to reign themselves in and stop preaching how to blog to others - do a linky, don't do a linky, but remember blogging along the way, and that it shouldn't all be about who's best.

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  30. I think my one word response to you earlier expressed my feelings succinctly.

    Without wishing to offend anyone, and believing that we do need to evolve with blogging, I do think that the blogging community has become saturated with linkys and some do feel as though they are put on there for no reason whatsoever other than a popularity contest.

    Yes, linkys and blog hops create niche groups of blogs and bloggers and it is a good way to find new blogs to read but there isn't the same sense of camaraderie that there used to be.

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    1. Blogging is becoming a huge popularity contest. You and I have been blogging for a long time (I think you've been blogging longer than me and I started in 2007!) so you will know how much blogging has evolved over the years. But the competition in blogging now is taking over the need to actually get on and blog - write good quality content, talk, get to know each other, interact etc. If it's all about who's top of the pops now, then I fear blogging will eventually become a thing of the past.

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  31. I loved them, I especially want to join in with mummy barrows as I love a good rant! So reading the others always cheers me up on a bad day! However I used to do loads and I soon realised most was not real traffic, it was people wanting me to follow their blogs on toe flexing and moustache growing. Both of which I can try alone. Then its the co-hosting so you also have to go and follow 20 other people and comment and give blood. Its all getting a bit much! x

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  32. I used to do a lot of blog hopping a few years ago and did enjoy it I must admit. But then I started to recognise there was a pattern; in order to leave your blog link you were required to follow all listed blogs, comments on most, like of FB and leave a comment on the host's blog. It just got too much and too ridiculous for words.

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  33. I take part in two, mainly because they have encouraged me to enjoy photography. I also have my own linky which regularly attracts one other person! I made it into a linky to encourage people to see the positive things around them. I don't mind how many join. I didn't set it up to get links. Even if people just actively look for more positive things then I am happy. They don't need to join in.

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    1. That's a good way of looking at it. Don't be disheartened when only a handful join in because there are so many about, I don't think every one is going to attract each blogger.

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  34. How right you are! I've never taken the slightest notice of the stupid graphs the latest Blogger Dashboard shoves under our noses. I write because I have to, or burst, and that's enough for me.
    But I quite like throwing a cat amongst the pigeons, when I choose to adapt photographic prompts to suit my own sense of design! Hehehe!

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