Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Australian blog awards and the usual suspects

The Australian Blog Awards (ABA) is on again. This is organised every year at this time by Vlado and the actual process of nomination and voting is hosted by Collective Apathy. You can go to Collective Apathy now, register, and nominate blogs in the many different categories; a bit later on there will be an opportunity to vote (using the optional preferential system, and by casting one vote per person in each category) and the category winners are announced on Australia Day.

Based on experiences from the last two years I have very mixed feelings about the idea of the ABA. It is terrific to do something that recognises the diversity and quality of the best productions of the blogosphere, and I really like that these are democratically based and that they are run by a volunteer. On the other hand, most people seem to vote for their friends and allies, which is only natural (although it's not much fun to have to choose between two friends who are nominated in the same category), but it does raise the question of whether the awards are really for popularity, which doesn't seem to me a specially meritorious achievement. On the other other hand, our culture places a little too much emphasis on the bestowing of awards at the expense of other ways of recognising excellence.

I also think that last year's field was verging on being cliquey. Contests are like that anyway, and blogs are also like that anyway, so it's a minefield. In 2006 there was some talk that people did not know about the existence of the awards until it was too late to nominate. Most of the nominations came from basically the same network or circle of blogs, and although they happened to be excellent blogs, I'm pretty certain there are whole other alternate universes of Australian blogs out there which were equally worthy of exposure and praise but simply didn't feature in the nominations. Historically the Australian blogosphere may once have had a major cluster around certain veteran blogs, but that is not the case at all any more. Speaking as one of last year's eventual winners it did take some of the shine off to acknowledge that the field was perhaps not truly representative or truly competitive.

In short: I think the ABA is potentially a good project but it could misfire if not enough people from a wide range of blog networks join in. As it's happening I think the best thing to do is to try to make sure it's very widely publicised now, at the nomination stage. Its credibility and success (and usefulness as an introduction to the diversity of the blogosphere) depends so much on it being very widely publicised and on lots of people taking part. If you agree then go over to Collective Apathy now and nominate some blogs, and if you have a blog yourself, consider giving the awards a plug there.


Tim said...

It's the word "best" that irritates me.

Ariel said...

Just had a quick look over there and your comment ('I nominate all my mates') gave me a good laugh. Very nice.

M-H said...

Thanks for this. I've had a blog for three years and have quite a respectable number of regular readers, but I'd never heard of these 'awards'.

iODyne said...

We all KNOW the best blogs to read already.
Last year some Giant Ego did some kind of blitzing thing which skewed the award any way - his blog was crap. you know a blog is crap when you have to register especially to comment and it was one of those.
He will do it again this time I'm sure.

We know where the quality reads are.
Nuff said.

Drewzel said...

The whole thing sounds like a crock to me.
But maybe I'm just bitter and twisted because I have no mates.

lucy tartan said...

Yar well, I know it looks like I'm making a stupidly big deal of this (& I guess I am at that) but I just think it has a better chance of remaining a bit of fun if it's opened up instead of languishing in dark corners. It would be better not to have it at all perhaps but as it's on, may as well hope for some balance and I making any sense at all here? The thing is, it did get kind of nasty last year. A dorky kid was singled out for ridicule by a group of bullies etc. Not pretty.

Anonymous said...

These things are interesting, but I never vote. Mostly because I find it difficult enough to post entries on my own blog regularly, let alone dealing with choosing who to nominate, etc etc etc. Because, of course, I'd take this sort of thing very seriously.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it could become twisted, but I do like the idea. Blogs certainly ARE a huge part of pop culture now, and I am glad someone is recognising the best of.

peacay said...

Parochial, faux traffic generating, collective navel gazing. I sense moustachioed men in striped pants with canes waving hats and entreating the passersby (fellow hucksters) to visit their emporia of Shyster brand products. It's both vacuous and banal.

But I will take my clothes off for the photo shoot when I win for the category of Best Wind Assisted Post and endorse the circus with enthusiastic sincerity.

Anonymous said...

I think we should all just drop the pretence. There's only one list we all want to get on, and that's Lucy's Christmas List. The rest of it is just gobsheen ballicks.

So, in the hope of manipulating fair Lucy into gifting us all again with her madd prezzy skillz, I'll kick things off, with a wee bit of feckin' Podge & Rodge:

You're either going to hate it or love it. I'm hoping the latter, but you'd best see for yourself, colleen.

Merry Christmas,


audrey said...

But helena, isn't that the point? That only the same blogs are popular and get read widely? As Lucy says, there are whole universes of good blogs out there, it's just that they don't happen to be the few that have achieved widespread fame.

Mindy said...

There was a picture or two of Baz in the 'fridge magnets' photo so I'm claiming another Baz lotto!

Anonymous said...

I've never got Bazlotto -- all I want for Christmas is Bazlotto!

R.H. said...

Miss Luce you have won the RH award for Best Overall Australian Blog.

(Celebrate now)

(But don't shout)

(It gets dogs barking)

(Magdalen College, Oxford)

peacay said...

Did I mention I was a hypocrite? Just voted for Sills, Boynto and B'rista at Bloggies. Heh.