I recently came across an interesting essay on blogs titled Into the Blogosphere that examines the potential impact of weblogs on the public sphere. Using a model put forth by Habermas, the author concludes that weblogs are, in a sense, an idealized public sphere since they provide inclusive access, a disregard for external rank, and the potential for rational debate. The author goes on to discuss a number of the blogosphere's drawbacks: i.e. the time commitment required top build a reputation (leading to an over-representation of journalists and others who have an "in"), the influence of personal networks and of so-called A-list bloggers, and the inability of current ranking technologies to take account of negative appraisals of sites to which one links. The author seems to see the blogosphere's salvation in more democratically incline search-engines.
Personally, I don't think any search engine will ever be entirely fair, nor should we rely on some centralized technology to determine what we read. Rather the development of lateral networks (in other words, personal links) are the best way to promote a healthy public sphere. With this in mind, I encourage everyone to take time to create their own links via other weblogs' links and not to simply link to the "top" bloggers or to blogs listed prominently on blog ranking sites.