Blogospheres, blog rolls, essential blogs — whatever you call them, are a tricky thing.
It's the blogger's address book made public, an online Rolodex of virtual contacts.
You usually find these in a blog's sidebar, a directory of wacky titles that provide little to no insight of what you'll find inside.
The conundrum is the maintenance of this list, as your blogosphere is reflective of your personal tastes and relationships.
Many times you'll add links simply for reciprocal purposes — someone has added you to their blog roll, so you add them to yours. Other times it's a personal contact you've met in the real world. And sometimes you simply stumble across a blog you truly enjoy for its voice and content.
In the end, your blogosphere is part of your content and is reflective of the brand you're building. It is essentially your template's wrapper, complementary content with your certifiable stamp of approval.
This is where it gets tricky. What do you do when someone stops writing? Do you link to a blog that hasn't had a post in three months? It's akin to having wilting plants in your house that haven't been watered.
Bad Feng Shui.
What do you do when someone steers uncomfortably to the religious right or starts posting numerous pictures of their kids on every post? And what do you do when someone puts user-unfriendly entrance criteria (registration, log-in, passwords) that makes it difficult to interact?
What do you do when someone never responds to your posts, even when you clearly show an effort to engage on their blog? Blogging should be, in spirit, two-way symmetrical communication.
That's when you need to make some tough decisions, altering your blogosphere landscape to be more reflective of your personal brand.
The blogosphere, after all, is your universe.