A ring of websites. A webring.
This may seem a bit bizarre to readers in 2019, but you’ve gotta remember that things were different back then. There were no search engines as they exist today. Google was still an academic side project at Stanford. Social media didn’t exist (oh my god the bliss). You couldn’t see what was trending, or see a retweet. There were no “278 friends are talking about this”. You relied on word of mouth for everything.
So webrings were ENORMOUSLY important for discovering new and exciting content back in the Age of Innocence. A 50 user per month site could find itself “next” to a 5 million visitor per month site, which would then start passing visitors to it. Hitting random would take you to things that you shared an interest in, but would never have any other way of discovering
Charlie Owen unpacks the idea of WebRings (or CircleJerks). She explains how they work and why they are different to blogrolls or decentralized spaces like Mastadon. She also provides some thoughts on how they could be rolled out using something like GitHub. For a different introduction, Greg McVerry has made a primer for CLMOOC.