Blog Awards Pt. 2

By js, 4 January, 2009, No Comment

After having found all those sites for blog awards and no site dedicated to awards for Hispanic/Latino/Chicano blogs, I’m wondering about the usefulness of these awards.

For most of the awards, bloggers can nominate themselves and then presumably send readers to the site to vote for their blog. At least one site, charges bloggers to nominate themselves. Some of the results that I saw did not have that many votes.  The blackweblogawards has judges as well as a popular vote.

What do bloggers get out of winning the award? Most of them get to put a badge on their site that says that they were nominated, a finalist or a winner. This probably builds some prestige with the audience.

But does winning a blog award make a difference to the readers or the blogger? How does winning an award change the experience or value of blogging?

The award tag in some form legitimizes the blog and gives it a stamp of approval, but isn’t that really done by the readers who visit the blog or receive the blog feeds and then come back to comment and interact with the blogger.

Much of what I have read about blogging puts the value of blogging on the interaction with the audience (see Blogging Becomes More Mobile by Steve Inskeep and Andy Carvin http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17668917&sc=emaf). Many of the popular bloggers have experience already as writers, either by working for marketing companies (writing) or by being journalists (which means they were writing). Most of these bloggers have a very particular “voice” and a particular focus to their blog. Most are conversational and even intimate. Whether the blogger is writing about their own musings about life lessons (http://www.annhandley.com/) or giving tips of how to use tech tools better (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/27-blogging-secrets-to-power-your-community/), all speak to the reader in an informal tone. Many remind me of the newspaper column genre.

The blog award may have value in several ways:

1. if the blog award is given by people who read blogs, then as “experts” they can pick out/select those that have value for them. If  a blog is popular, then by extension that means that the readers find the blog of value either because it is entertaining or enlightening or both.

2. the blog award badge signals to readers the value that others have found in the blog

3. the blog award sites direct readers to the blogs; therefore, the blog gains readership and thus popularity (that is assuming that the readers return)

Readers have value because

1. they interact with the blogger; and after all, isn’t the interaction what it’s all about?

2. they draw advertising revenue. Most of the blogs that I have seen have ads on them. Many have made initial attempts at putting ads as part of the blog but for others the ads are a big portion of the blog. Revenue, of course, is important because the blogger needs to pay for the space which runs the site and for the bandwith which is used especially if it gets many readers. Someone who doesn’t get very many readers can afford to pay for their own hosting but I can imagine that many bloggers who have popular sites would need to start brining in money to help pay for the site.

I wonder how many readers/visitors a site actually needs before the alloted bandwith given by the hosting company is used up?

The fact that award sites direct readers to the blogs is fascinating to me. There are so many different sites out there that someone who is new to blog reading may not necessarily know where to get started. If the blog award site appears as one of the top hits on a Google search then a novice blog reader may turn to the blog award site to get recommendations about where to begin reading. Also, the blog award legitimizes the content and design of the blog. So a novice reader may not have the necessary background to make their own evaluation of a site and will depend on the evaluation made by others.

I think eventually as the blog reader becomes more experienced s/he will not depend on the award site as much but will begin establishing their own criteria to make their own evaluations. In the end, the criteria will probably end up being:

1. does it entertain me?

2. do I learn something?

3. can I identify with the writer?

After all, isn’t that what all faithful readers look for?

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