Blogrolls: Making Writer Discovery Seamless

Last year, Ev detailed our commitment to strengthening writer discovery, enabling readers to “serendipitously find stories they wouldn’t have otherwise.” In that spirit, we’ve launched blogrolls, a new feature that connects readers and writers in more visible and meaningful ways. Before getting into the details, here’s a little background on blogrolls for those unfamiliar with the term:

The term blogroll comes from the early days of blogging, when bloggers would often include a list of useful links on their blog (it was literally a roll call of your favorite links. hence, blogroll). It sounds simple, but before search and social media were ubiquitous parts of the internet experience, blogrolls played a crucial role in discovering new content online. It gave readers a decentralized way of exploring the internet, connecting them with stories and experiences they might otherwise never get a chance to see. It was also an easy way for writers to broadcast other valuable creators in their network.

For writers on Medium, blogrolls will make you visible to readers in a completely new way: they’ll help you gain new readers and connect you with your community. As a reader, they allow you to easily navigate to more related content in a fluid and organic way. You will see blogrolls on profile sidebars, beneath writers’ bios on their profiles and story pages.

In the past, blogrolls were manually curated, but manual curation is a lot of work, especially if you want to keep your blogroll updated and fresh. We’ve evolved the blogroll by leveraging existing connections within the Medium network — choosing who you follow is a way you already curate who you find interesting. So our blogrolls will automatically show writers you follow, sorted by who has most recently published. This approach makes blogrolls a living, breathing feature that reflects the activity in your network as it grows and changes.

We’ve built blogrolls with user control in mind. On your profile page, you’ll see (or may have already seen) a preview of your blogroll and a prompt to opt-in or dismiss it. The blogroll will only appear to readers once you turn it on. You also can turn your blogroll on or off through the design editor (see image below).

This is just the first version of blogrolls — as we iterate, we want your feedback. So turn it on, test it out, and let us know what you think. We hope it builds and strengthens your connections across Medium.

Design @ Medium — sjayne@medium.com Previously the creative director at Cove & Seed. Former art director at Axios and MIT Technology Review.