Although I’ve been writing all my life, and it’s been a long one, I’m new to blogging. In fact, this is my first blog. Yes, I’ve written for other blogs over the years but not as a solo enterprise. Everything is fresh and interesting. I read and spew my words about writing and writers. That’s my interest. That’s my point of view.
About 15 nanoseconds after my first series of posts, another blogger contacted me to offer some kind of award. Since I was a total newbie at this kind of writing, I decided to look into this award and some of the others that are floating around out there. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that these awards are ubiquitous. They are absolutely everywhere, and I was only tracking down a few of them that pertained to other writers’ blogs.
I can see the purpose and appeal of it all. Awards are nice ego strokes, and who doesn’t appreciate the pets? They also seem to be a vehicle for driving visitors to the blogs involved, especially the grantor of the award. It reminds me of the old chain letters that were once so popular when I was young. I wonder if chain letters still exist? Not sure. Have they been replaced by blog awards?
I don’t really want to slam this self-award system among bloggers. It’s easy enough to see the value of driving blog visitors hither and yon. However, I think it also takes the shine off the “award principle.” If an award is meant to be a form of recognition, it should really drive readers to expect something special, something important to their blog-reading experience. Awards need standards, they need to set a high bar for achievement, to direct us to something very special. Imagine Alfred Nobel passing out awards from a cereal box that had no prize hidden at the bottom.
When I read a blog that sports a dozen different awards, and each award provides a link back to the award site, and that award site specializes in passing out awards, I feel like I’m in some kind of endless loop of the Award Gods. I don’t find that a particularly enthralling or meaningful experience. In fact, I feel like I’m the target of a hackneyed sales pitch, albeit accomplished with fancy graphics and pleasing phrases.
Wouldn’t it be better if an award badge on a blog really pointed the reader to something unique and moving, at least for those awards that populate blogs dedicated to writers and writing? Shouldn’t that award say, “Hey, reader, what this badge points to is something you MUST read,” rather than simply enroll you into the infinite dance of award giving?
Maybe not. Maybe, I’m just an old geezer who has lost touch with contemporary styles of communication and enterprise. Maybe, I’m just too new at this medium of communication. Still, I want more meaning and less flash when it comes to awards for writing. I want to find content, talent, promise and style.
So, thanks for the offer but I’ll pass. From time to time, I discover a piece of writing that moves me, a blog that really shouts out. When I do, I re-blog it with a short commentary and a word or two of praise. That’s about as far down the award rabbit hole I’m willing to fall.
Have I missed the mark on awards? If so, just let me know. I’m willing to see the “other” side that, so far, has escaped me.