Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Post-Award Post

Okay, so it was amazing to win The Best African Blog at the 2009 International Bloggies. And it stung momentarily to not even be a finalist in the 2009 SA Blog Awards. I've received some lovely feedback and more exposure than I could've imagined after my win. But with that, comes criticism that one doesn't receive from being just another obscure blog. But here's what I've learnt:

1. I don't know what "Best" means.
The biggest criticism I seem to have received is the shock (and horror?) that my little spot online could be the "Best" blog in Africa, let alone in merely South Africa. I don't think it's the best either. Well, it is to me, but I'm biased like that :) So that got me thinking. What makes something the "Best"? Is it the number of daily visitors you have to your site? Neither the folks over at the International Bloggies nor the judges at the SA Blog Awards really know that (except maybe Vincent Maher if he hasn't given up his amatomu admin password ;) ). Is it your amatomu or Afrigator rank? Mine sky-rocketed after my win and I spent a good few days in amatomu's Top 100. Okay, so I know the International Bloggies didn't have judges but since they made up 50% of the vote on the finalists for the SA Blog Awards, I'm going to ask the question: have the judges been watching our rankings from 02Apr08 to 18Mar09? I doubt it. Hell, most of them (in order to make them a fair judge, I suspect) shouldn't have been reading the blogs they're judging at all till the nomination process.

And here's another thing about "Best". No matter what you say or think, "Best" will always be a matter of opinion. No one is ever the "Best" to everyone. There are masses of people in South Africa (or so the Box Office would have us believe) who head off to the cinema with their hard earned cash to watch a Leon Schuster movie. Me, I can barely survive their trailers and you couldn't pay me to watch a whole movie of his! So maybe you think my blog is the Leon Schuster movie, but I think maybe it's some of these other out-the-box blogs (in my opinion ... and I'm clearly not in the majority here, but so be it, I'm happy not being one of the masses!). Which brings me to my second lesson ....

2. I am a Niche Blogger.
Okay, most people are. Fair enough. But let's be honest there are some topics that appeal more to the masses than most. And let's face it, sex, sport and politics sell. If you can combine them into one post, all the better for your hit rating, I'm sure. I don't blog about my sex life, I certainly don't care enough about Sport to mention it unless I happen to go to a live game and well Politics ... nope, no mention of that either. I mostly try to steer clear of religion too ... mostly.

I am a life blogger. That means all the nitty-gritty of my life generally ends up in these posts (although I do have some areas I keep censored). I don't just blog about the most hysterical anecdote of my day. I am not going to turn that 5 minute moment into a paraody of its own self just for your amusement. I am not here to make you laugh - don't get me wrong, sometimes I'd love you to, but that's not my soul purpose in blogging. I'm here to share. To share my day-to-day experiences, not only with all of you, but also with myself. I bet I read more of my historical posts than anyone else. There's nothing like reliving my holidays when I'm feeling in need of a break :) I blog for me. I will always be my number one audience. And I know that'll get me a small audience ... because I truly believe that we all have a little voyeur in us. That's why reality TV is such a hit. I am not much different from the 24 hour Big Brother channel ... sometimes you'll tune in to find that every one is sleeping or reading or just watching TV. Doing that normal, average, everyday stuff that you'll be doing some time yourself. And, I guess, that's where the appeal lies, that you can relate to it :) My biggest hope thru blogging has always been that it will spur someone to do something. To try a new restaurant, to read a book they might never have heard of before and love it and more recently (and there will be more to come, I promise), to try a new recipe and surprise themselves :)

3. I'm not hell-bent on participation.
I only enter this blog for 2 Awards every year. The International Bloggies and the SA Blog Awards. For the fun and exposure of it, as I've said before. I don't go in for all the cutesy blog awards that almost every blogger gives to their current favourite reads or whatever. That is not my thing. I hope you like my blog but a comment to let me know you're enjoying the read will be sufficient to share the love :) I also do not participate in Memes. Can't stand the damn things. They have no place here, on my blog (Yes, I'm also one of those people who will reply to your email forward with a link to or I don't use Facebook as if it were my friend's RSS Reader with alerts on every post I write. I do not put every blog I read on my "Other Blogs I think you should be Reading" list. I read *loads* more blogs than just what's listed there. But I think the good things get lost in such long lists and that's why my list changes too. That's just me. You shouldn't be offended. You shouldn't begrudge me for it. You should stick to the rules you set yourself, on your blog. We're not making a trade here. I also love when you leave comments on my blog. But I won't leave one on yours just to say "I was here and I read what you wrote today". Much like the word suggests, I'll comment when I have a comment on what you've written ;)

And so, that's my little vent over ... and now to the finalists. Here are my nomination recommendations. I haven't delved into every category, some simply don't interest me and I simply don't have the time. I'll warn you upfront that I don't think the "big corporates" with their money and dedicated staff should be eligible, maybe there should be a whole new category for them and they can fight it out amongst themselves instead of stealing glory from the little people ;) But here's the few I choose:

(I wonder how far off my own choosing strategy is from the SA Blog Award judges. I haven't read half the finalist blogs they have this year before now. Are their impressions, and votes, like mine, made from a once-off first impression?)

(working backwards towards SA Blog of the Year ... )
Best Personal Blog
Here's the thing, "Suck the Marrow" doesn't seem to be a Personal Blog at all. Personally, I think the blogs in this category should only be for diary-type blogs. Dunno that "I Wrote This For You" is a valid entry in this category either ... This is a hard one for me to choose. I think it's gotta be either Exmi, Harassed Mom (my bloggirl gal-pals) or 6000.

Best Travel Blog
Meh, nothing in this category blew me away. I don't like the ones that feel like they're corporates (The Portfolio Travel Blog, Wild Watch & Cape Town blog). Also, I don't really feel that Cape Town Daily Photo is a travel blog. A photo blog, yes ... but a travel blog, not in my opinion. I don't like the "professional journalist" blogs either. Which leaves me in a quandry ... either I vote for 66 Square Feet, which feels about as much like a travel blog as mine does, or Amawalker, I like the concept of this blog ... if not the execution. Changing font colours and styles does not appeal to my aesthetics. Meh, maybe I won't vote in this category after all.

Best Green Blog
The only two that grab me in this category are Urban Sprout and Mother City Living (wish there was a Joburg sister-blog like this!). And as much as I love The Wren Design blog, I dunno that it's appropriate in this category (seems to be plenty of that this year!)

Best South African Podcast
Okay, so I can tell you upfront I'll be voting for The Digital Edge on this one, I kinda have to as they're the only one I've been interviewed for and that's pretty cool :) Plus @saulkza and @jarredcinman might have my head if I dont ;)

That said, I have tried listening to the Brendan Jackast before ... hideous. The ZA Show looks pretty cool, might try downloading that. And the ZA Tech Show (are these by the same people, gotta wonder with such similar names!). The Times doesn't even seem to actually be a podcast, just a random collection of Audio clips ... that's a stretch for me!

I'm against the fact that Highveld Radio & Just Plain Darren from East Coast Radio are up for this. Hello, their *entire* business is audio. They're not making podcasts, they're just porting their existing content into an online format (I stand to be corrected, having never honestly listened ... but since the Highveld link from the SA Blog Awards a) doesn't work and b) points to the radio's home page, I feel I'm in the right here). Also, it took me about 5 minutes to figure out where the "podcast" bit of Just Plain Darren's Blog actually was. Come on now people.

Best New Blog
Okay, so this is the one category where I don't expect to know at least a handful of the nominees ... and this year I know none of them!

Seriously, after a brief gloss over all 10 of them, I am not inclined to click that "Add to RSS" button on a single one! Seriously. I will say that I love Geekology's tag-line: I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code. I think if I'm gonna vote in this category, it'll have to be for Theo Scheffler's Tales from India. It's the closest to something I might actually read ... although the posts all look dauntingly long.

Best Photographic Blog
Okay, I've gotta ask it: How, how, how did RamboGuy end up in this category? Or is his current front page just a really poor reflection of the amazing photographs to be found elsewhere? I don't know. I can't be bothered to look. I can't stand anything about that site. And 75 doesn't look like a photo-blog, it looks like a flickr page. We are Awesome ... again, where is the "blog", these are the blog awards, right? I couldn't find an RSS option anywhere. Is it just me, surely the finalists in a Blog Awards Category should at least be blogs ... ? Anyone?

That said, I do like Cape Town Daily Photo, Gregor Rohrig, Jeanette Verster (another bloggirl gal-pal), 66 Square Feet and Neil MacCartney (although he appears to be a professional, so he's not getting my vote, sorry).

Best Post on a South African Blog
Moral Fibre, seriously, the whole site ... it's the number of what I consider to be "invalid" finalists this year that really makes me wonder if they did in fact actually use Judges ... ?! And seriously Hottest Gossip? A news article ... for best post on a blog. Yes, it's about some horrifying events, but it's the news ... as best post. I'm still surprised. It doesn't even read as though anything was added from what the journo wrote (aside from those inane questions in bold at the bottom with excessive punctuation which is more along the lines of what I'd expect from a site called "Hottest Gossip"). Best Post? Perhaps if this were "Best article by a Journalist" ... then sure, maybe. Maybe. Shock content does not a Best Post make. I can't even load the 2oceansvibe page for some reason ...

So, it's going to have to be Kyknoord (who I don't read regularly but should, that guy is usually hysterical!) or one of Mandy Watson's posts ... I guess it's a bit unfair not voting for a professional photographer in the Best Photographic Blog category but voting for a freelance journalist in a writing category ... so Kyknoord it is :)

South African Blog of the Year
So I do subscribe to one of the 10 in this list, SA Rocks. But I think my vote will go to Ideate. I haven't started subscribing to them or anything ... but it's just a gut feel. When it comes to The Bestest Best category, I think you've got to look at it all ... look and feel, content etc.

And I *still* can't open 2oceansvibe from the link on the SA Blog Awards site. Am now trying the additional "www" portion of the url, and still I'm greeted with a blank page ... you win The Blankest Blog Page of the year Award :P

Ps. Am told that while I was reviewing some of these blogs yesterday afternoon, 2oceansvibe's site was in fact down ... it's up again now, but too late for me. I went to poker last night ... and lost on a maddening hand (of 4 people at the table, 3 of us had pocket pairs!). Varen stayed home and ended up working all evening :(


ExMi said...

"i was here, and i read your post"

no, kidding ;)

agreed with all the stuff you said - i dont comment on every single post, i dont do the 'kilroy was here thing' - i comment when i have something to say. which, as it turns out while i've been writing my thesis, isn't a lot.

am very interested in seeing how this whole blog awards thing turns out - as usual, there's been much fuss about how crap/lame/biased/egotistical it all is - but then isn't that blogging itself?

ah well, good luck to all the other finalists, and here's hoping we all kick some ass.

and thanks for the recommendation, it means a lot to me, coming from you ;)

Janine / Being Brazen said...

Im very interested to see who wins the SA blog awards. Some of the blogs I dont feel deserve their nominations, while others are worthy of many man awards :)

I like to comment on peoples blogs - just like i enjoy getting comments (cause i love reading other peoples points of vies)

The Jackson Files said...

I don't get the whole awards thing to be honest. I was just SUPER, SUPER surprised not to be nominated for best parenting blog ;)

I will be voting for all the Bloggirls. Talking of which...see you on Saturday.

kyknoord said...

As you say, a lot of it boils down to opinion. Nevertheless, I rather liked your analysis. Thanks for the (albeit "by default") vote of confidence, by the way.

se7en said...

Hay you... I'm so with you on this! I know I am relatively new at this blog game but I haven't heard of more than half the potentials and then I go to their sites and they are just, well disappointing. I read blogs for fun and entertainment - sometimes mindless sometimes enlightening... but as I went through the nominees I was battling!!! I don't think the nominees were a true reflection of what's out there at all - For crying out loud they missed the Best Africa Blog ... Hello, what were they thinking!!!

Who knows, but we will be voting for the very same podcast as you are! Totally love it and will be in it next week (please may they have brilliant editing or there will be a mighty lot if ummmmm's and wild nervous laughter!!!) thinking on my toes, or anything on my toes for that matter, is not my strength!

phillygirl said...

@exmi - yep, even tho I think the awards are improving every year, there is still always plenty of fuss over it. My point wasn't to make a fuss really, it was more about recommending some good blogs to people ... but to be honest I haven't added anyone new to my rss-reader. Which to me marks a particularly barren year :( Will be holding thumbs for you :)

@brazen - yep, I'm also curious to see who wins this year, every year, really. In case I'm missing out on some spectacular blog-reading :)

@tjf - I was also surprised you weren't in there ... I recommended the category, but am not even sure when they added it to the nominations list because I totally missed it and I would definitely have had a recommendation for that category! Yay, see you tomor :)

@kyknoord - my recommendation for you was not "by default" ... you're the only blog I mentioned that I thought I should probably be adding to my rss, that's quite the compliment ;)

@se7en - looking forward to the new Digital Edge episode on Monday too :)

@all - thought this was a very interesting point of view on the blog awards: SA Blog Awards 2009 are Meaningless by Afrika T. and I'm glad I wasn't the only one picking up on all the not-really-part-of-this-category category finalists!

AngelConradie said...

This was very interesting.
I like your take on the SA blog awards nominees, and I also feel a few of them are in the wrong category.

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