Jun 27 2020

Bring Back Webrings

The current outlets for consuming content is very poor. It seems that right now we rely on social media and Google to quench our thirst for information. Unfortunately, this information feels more like loading up on donuts instead of some fresh vegetables. How can we rediscover high quality content?

Blog discovery is certainly an issue nowaways. In fact, I can’t say I’ve found many captivating personal blogs from a Google search. Google does not seem to really optimize for niche blogs. I guess I can’t blame them – it’s probably a hard problem to solve. As for social media, I’ll save that rant for next week.

While I am a little too young to have fully experienced webrings, I feel that these can be part of the solution. In hopes that this is a solution, I’ve decided to do my part in publishing a ring. I urge you to do the same.

Webrings could play a role in helping discovery of smaller blogs. While not an expert in SEO, the smaller blogs may be able to support each other through backlinks. In turn, the most consistent blogs will earn their spot in the network and hopefully rank higher.

From a readers perspective, I imagine that the quality also improves. Each publisher will only feel compelled to link to the highest quality blogs that they know exist. If each publisher does this in a ring, a reader can hop from site to site with some certainty that the quality will be better than the current standard.

Using Openring

Openring is something that I added to my blog not too long ago. The project is built by Drew DeVault for generating links to other blogs. The codebase is a very minimal – 161 line codebase written in Go.

How does it work? It pulls the 3 latest blog posts from my RSS subscriptions After, it generates the template that can be included in your posts. You can see this generated template in action by scrolling to the bottom of this post.

My template file is slightly modified from the one that Drew provides. These modifications include styling with Tachyons and color scheme changes.

<section class="webring">
  <h3>Articles from blogs I follow around the net</h3>
  <section class="flex flex-wrap articles" style='margin: -0.5rem;'>
    <div class="flex flex-auto flex-column pa2 bg-light-gray w4">
      <h4 class="ma0">
        <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"></a>
      <p class="f6 flex-auto"></p>
      <small class="source">
        via <a href=""></a>
      <small class="date"></small>
  <p class="mid-gray tr f6">
    Generated by
    <a href="https://git.sr.ht/~sircmpwn/openring">openring</a>

If you have something interesting to share, share it with the world through your own blog. Claim your stake in the internet and join a webring of publishers. Gone are the days of walled-garden social media posts – the only content that you freely own is the content that you host. Long live the blog :).