Bloggies, a suggestion

Reading time: 5 mins

Uh-oh.

It’s that time of year again, when bloggers across the blogosphe interweb start ranting about how they “only do it for themselves” or how “it’s not a competition” and so on and so forth. But that’s just the people who weren’t nominated.

Like me.

Again.

But let’s not dwell on that.

This year there is another issue that has hit home, with two of my favourite blogs nominated in the same category! No fair!!

But I’m not going to dwell on that either.

Instead, once again, let’s discuss what the Bloggies stand for, and how they might be improved. Might.

On reading the nominations this year, one thing struck home. Are there really that few ‘good’ NEW blogs out there? It does seem to be the same blogs that feature, year after year (I mean that quite specifically, this is the third year of the some blogs re-appearing on the list) and again I start to wonder what the Bloggies are for.

Caveat

For the record I think, fundamentally, the Bloggies are a good thing. They bring GOOD publicity to blogging, and as I’m part of that ‘hobby’ then I support the idea of having blog awards on a global scale.

This is not a dig at anyone who has been nominated for, or who has previously won, a Bloggie. As with previous years I take a little time to check most of the nominated sites and, as ever, the quality is very high indeed and I’ll happily admit that those sites who have been nominated deserve it far more than I.

I’ll also add that, yes, if I am ever nominated I’ll be more thrilled than I’d probably let on, and if I actually won a Bloggie? Well, I’d probably pee myself.

OK, caveat(s) out of the road, someone bring me a sharp knife and let’s slice this up a little… what an odd phrase.

What are the Bloggies?

According to the website:

The Weblog Awards are a non-profit project created in 2001 to award the best blogs. All the Bloggie winners are chosen by the public.

OK. That all sounds rather obvious; The Bloggies award the best blogs as chosen by us, the people wot read blogs. Pretty straightforward.

However I think the Bloggies have developed to the point that the above statement needs some revision. As I alluded to earlier, the Bloggies bring good publicity to this little hobby of ours, with the mainstream media reporting the awards and bringing new people into the blogosp world of blogging. With that in mind, surely one aim of the Bloggies could be to promote blogging to the world at large?

You can look at the Bloggies from two points of view. Either as a member of the blogging community, in which it’s a privilege to be nominated, an honour to win, or as a member of the public who has heard of blogging but isn’t really sure where to start.

It’s the latter group that I’m interested in, and I think the Bloggies could be better positioned to help those people.

In other news, I may be about to talk my way into a corner, bear with me.

So, let’s presume that the Bloggies now have a new aim of “promoting blogging to the world at large”. What now?

Promoting blogging

Every year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds an award ceremony, the winners receiving much-coveted Academy Award of Merit statues, also known as Oscars. The movies which are listed in the nominations receive a boost to their popularity, and a level of recognition amongst their peers. In later years, students will use the nominated and award-winning movies to study.

The Oscars promote the movie industry, giving the general public an easy way to find some of the best movies of the moment. I think the Bloggies should do the same, and promote blogging to the general public (which, on reflection, is an awful generalisation but you know what I mean… right?).

And some would argue that they already do, and I’d agree with them.

Alas, the Bloggies aren’t as straightforward mainly because, unlike movies, blogs do not have a limited lifespan, they exist year on year, continuing to excel and delight their readers. That’s the strength of blogging, and what sets apart those bloggers of distinction, the ones who maintain high levels of content, year on year and fully deserve to be nominated, an honoured, with a Bloggie.

But… you know where this is going, don’t you…

But I think that once you’ve won a Bloggie in a particular category, that’s you. That’s yer lot. Congratulations, keep up the good work, well done. But if you want another Bloggie it’ll need to be in a different category.

When the shortlist was announced this year, I suggested that once you’d won a Bloggie that should be it, you shouldn’t be permitted any further nominations. This was mainly because of the large number of blogs/sites which have already won a Bloggie and are featuring for the 3rd or 4th year in a row. I am not for a minute suggesting that they aren’t WORTHY of a nomination, just that, in the context of promoting blogging, it would be better to have new blogs featured.

One win per category

On reflection that suggestion was a tad bold, considering there are ‘levels’ of award to be had. So I’m tempering my original call to suggest that, once you’ve won an award in one category, you cannot then win it again (and presumably there is no point being shortlisted). That way the locale specific categories will ‘churn’ a little more, and the more prestigious “Best Blog” and “Lifetime achievement” awards are still an option in years to come.

This idea does have overheads, filtering previous winners from the nomination process being the most obvious, but I think the benefits to the blogging community outweigh any overhead. There are many MANY wonderful blogs out there, and the Bloggies are in danger of becoming a number based award. The higher your stats, the more people who can nominate and vote for you – the presumption here is that the content will remain at the current high level and that people will continue to find, read and promote the blogs in question because they are ‘top of the pyramid’ already.

Again, this isn’t supposed to be a negative suggestion, nor a dig at any who has won a Bloggie over the past year or so, nor anyone who is currently nominated. It’s not about that. It’s about promotion, the promotion of blogging, the promotion and inclusion of others.

Nikolai, who runs the Bloggies each year, does an excellent job of keeping things fresh, removing and adding award categories to keep pace with the evolution of blogging. The popularity of the Bloggies are a testament to his original idea, and his continuing development of the awards.

You could argue that the Bloggies work as they are, and they do to an extent. I just think they could do a little more, and we might all reap a little of the award.

Footnote
Before posting, I sent this to the person behind the Weblog Awards. I won’t replicate the full email here but let’s just say that it is something that is being monitored.

9 comments

  1. Well, I agree. Mainly with your last point about those blogs with the most readers quite obviously getting the most votes, therefore the awards end up as a self-promoting advert for sites that are already popular.

    I don’t see the point of this, and it is a fundamental flaw in the process to be fair, so something needs to change really. The category I feel has come off best in this year’s awards in the ‘Best Writing’ category, due mainly to it being a subjective opinion. If only all the other categories would work in the same way.

  2. I think ‘Bloggies’ sounds like a breakfast cereal. One I wouldn’t eat, either. Too close to ‘jobbies’ for my liking.

    Cheers

    Bob Digi

  3. most excellent post, gordon! thoughtful and thorough as always. if i had my way you would have been a bazillion gongs by now, same goes for anna of little red boat fame.

    as every year goes by and the blog population continues to swell, i think it becomes increasingly difficult for any blog awards thingy to find the cream of the crop… the crop is so bloody huge now! and half of the crop might not even the know the Bloggies even exist, let alone to nominate some great new blog they’ve found.

    and i hear ya on the numbers thing too, you’d need to have a seriously huge readership behind you these days. as much as i’d like to think my vote will help peter in the lifetime achievement category, can it really compete with the fanbase of Dooce and Slashdot? i am still convinced the only reason i got an Aussie/NZ Bloggie in 2005, with my piddling amount of traffic, was coz it was the only year that by some freak of nature that Claire of Loobylu wasn’t a finalist 🙂

  4. Can we expect a photo of your good self in the News of the world off your tits on coke and wearing no underwear?

    Sometimes I miss the point of awards……

  5. Oh, Gordon. Dear oh dear. Your case, although sincerely made, really doesn’t hold a great deal of water, dear chap. First off your assertion that the Bloggies are to promote blogging. Nice assertion, but it was you who made it. Maybe they’re nothing of the sort. Maybe they’re for the public to honour blogs they hold in regard. Well, yes – I’m sure that’s what they’re for. Does blogging really need promotion nowadays? I suspect not.

    Second, you compare The Bloggies (TM) to the movie industry. Well, I just clicked on IMDb, and then on the fabulous Bette Davis, and I see the dear departed One had two Oscars and eleven nominations. Which of those should she have returned, in your opinion? How many Grammys should Paul and Ringo send back? Multi-award winners are legion. No need even to check.

    Thanks for your vote, Shauny. Me, I’m happy to be nominated till the cows come home. Thank you darlings. Love it. So, I suspect, does one of the zoes :o)

  6. Peter, I’m quite aware that it is MY assertion that the Bloggies SHOULD/COULD/MAY WANT TO have some form of direction, some form of ‘aim’. They don’t at present, I think they should; I clearly stated: “surely one aim of the Bloggies could be to promote blogging to the world at large?”. As for whether blogging needs promotion, I say that, yes, examples of “quality” blogging do need promotion. Every other media industry does it, why shouldn’t we?

    As for the awards being there for the public to honour blogs they hold in regard, well obviously that will continue to be the case, I wouldn’t expect the public to vote for blogs they don’t like…

    As for the comparison with the movie industry, yes you are right, the actors continue year after year. So maybe I should have been more specific and have stated that my comparison was only against the MOVIES which were nominated, not the people involved with them. Either way, I’ll concede that it probably wasn’t the best choice of subjects to compare.

    But that then prompts me to ask, what is? What other ‘industry/hobby’ is comparable? Or should I have concentrated on musicians or actors instead. Hindsight is a wonderful thing I guess.

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