With all the winning in the air during blogging awards season, it is ironic how many bloggers can end up feeling terribly depressed during this time – and with more being lost than won.
Loss of self-esteem
Ostensibly, the losers are those of us who don’t make it into one of the slots in the Top 10 Bloggers of the Universe, or whatever category we have set our hearts on winning. In reality, I see much more as lost when we bloggers invest our self-worth and judgement of our blogging abilities entirely on our ability to win an ill-judged blogging award.
Ill judged only in the sense where getting through the preliminary rounds rely on competitors harnessing as many people as possible on side to vote for them.
Loss of trust capital
The price of admission to any competition relying on the popular vote seems to be to become very needy for a period of days, imploring friends, family and followers to vote for us, where every tweet or Facebook message during this hyped up period is an overt or covert segue into vote gathering.
Of course there are many bloggers who ask for a discrete vote once or twice and leave it at that, since to bang on runs the risk of incurring another loss. The potential loss of the trust capital we are mining when we go to our followers with any request – not just a competition vote.
That said, I have to recognise we are all motivated to action in different ways and for different reasons.
Losing the popular vote
It is definitely more work, but my competitive preference is always a panel of judges – and here possibly made up of industry experts, writers, bloggers and blog readers, say, maybe throwing in a couple of wild cards. Where every blog submitted for judgement is put through a set of well thought out elimination criteria.
Good panel judging ensures that the world of blogging is measured and enhanced by the recognition of quality writing (and not merely on who has the most followers). This judging method also helps the blogging art withstand the naysayers who would wish to relegate the domestic blogger to irrelevant hobbyists. Naysayers who would turn the phrase ‘Mommy Blogger’ into something pejorative or beneath notice.
To be clear, I am not saying that quality writing is necessarily a victim when award rounds are formed on the popular vote, just that the ‘popular vote’ excludes many brilliant blogs from the starting block. Blogs and bloggers who cannot rise – or would want to rise – through such a system. This we’ve heard before. I am saying nothing new here.
And it would be remiss of me not to pay homage to the tremendous amount of work which goes into organising blogging awards – no matter what system is used – so this post is also not to disrespect that.
Loss of friendships
The other loss I am seeing a rise in this year is the loss of online friendships during this blogging awards season. With the For, Against and Couldn’t Give A Toss camps falling out with each other.
Losing our blogging minds
When losing our blogging minds, we should also remember that winning an award will not transform our blogging lives, launching us into the blogging stratosphere, with PRs and celebrities knocking down our door; nor will it make the whole blogging thing easier going forward. Such traffic as we may gain during this period is rarely sticky. We will still have to work hard to keep these new and existing followers with excellent content.
Remembering too that maybe the real winners are the sites hosting blogging awards, with the ground swell in traffic we and our followers send to them during this frenetic period.
On losing an award
There is something very lovely in being recognised for our blogging art. That positive reinforcement lends an extra zing to our blogging fingers and the warm glow it imparts is priceless. So this post is also not to undermine those who win blogging awards.
But rather when and if we do lose a blogging award, let us not compound the loss by believing we have also lost our blogging abilities, or our blogging mojo along with it, or that awards based on the popular vote means we are not popular if we are not voted for.
Neither should we arbitrarily blame awards for all the negativity and hurt that can surround this season. Getting involved with them can be as much fun as anything else. But for it to be so, we must keep a tight watch on our thinking surrounding awards, controlling the internal messages we send ourselves during this time.
If we do not win a blogging award, let it mean just that.
That we did not win a blogging award.
No more. No less.
HMS HerMelness Speaks