I will never be nominated because 1) I am not a hottie, 2) I have no cute baby photos, 3) I don’t have gift for the gab. What I do have is my thoughts on the rest of us who aren’t popular enough for the Weblog Awards. Consider this a “feel-good” movie for the average Joe…
Somewhere in the blogosphere…
The above chart shows the votes made on the Weblog Awards 2005 (Asian category) as of this morning at 9am (Eastern Standard Time). Even before the popularity contest is over, you can tell who’s taken the lead. Are we doomed as netizens of Singapore? Should we break open the champagne and sing “Long Live the Infantile!” for Christmas? Fret not… at least not just yet.
Blogging is for everyone, yet there will be the bulk of us who would feel alienated from the rest of the blogosphere and might even start to lose sight of why we started blogging in the first place. While such blog awards help us recognize the most popular bloggers on the Internet, these sort of awards technically perpetuate the popularity of the select bloggers (See Power Laws). Turning to the ongoing Weblog Awards 2005 (Asian category), we see more or less the same clique of popular bloggers with the highest number of votes (no doubt due to their ardent fans). While there are 14 blogs to choose from, even this represents just a small slice of the Asian pie. Many more blogs are worthy of mention in this category (like Mr Wang), but sadly they do not appear here. I checked out the award organizer’s FAQ which explained that finalists were determined in three main ways:
– Public nominations
– Regionalized blogrolls (on some of the nominees blogs)
– TTLB ecosystem snapshot (for ecosystem based categories).
As you can see, having a good number of fans would definitely help one’s award standing, but what does this mean for the rest of us who have fewer blog friends? Does this mean that our blogs don’t mean squat? Indeed, there will be moments where bloggers may get tired and even stop blogging entirely.
Each of us probably holds different ideas of what blogging should be about. By this I mean that some do it for popularity (nothing wrong there), some for self-improvement, some for personal venting, and the list goes on. The beauty of blogs lie in its diversity, some of which may never be popular, but will always have a necessary place in society.
A term which could best describes this case is Chris Anderson’s definition of “The Long Tail“. Chris argued that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters. Applying this to our blogosphere, it’s taking the power law and looking at the collective value of the bloggers with less linkages. A popular site that takes advantage of this is tomorrow.sg, which derives value by featuring the collective intelligence of lesser known bloggers (the more eccentric, the more extreme tail end).
In summary, every blog has it’s intrinsic value… where one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Thus, if you feel disheartened, try to take this awards in good fun and don’t lose sight that you are ultimately blogging for yourself.
Adding to this, when Mr Brown mentioned how Myrick of AsiaPundit was so depressed that his votes were less than the number of contributors to his group blog (he was joking of course!), I left the following comment: “Don’t let popularity contests detract you from publishing meaningful work. Popularity is only a quantitative metric of a blog’s worth. It’s more valuable to have quality content, which you can observe in kind by the thoughtful comments your readers leave for you.”
Oh, lest we forget, Xiaxue’s a fun read but if you want to see more variety, head over to the Weblog Awards and vote the other guys. Even if they don’t win Best Asian Blog, at least they’ll know we love them too!
UPDATE on 10th Dec 2005: More people seem to be aware of the need for their votes and as a result, Mr Brown (12584) now takes a major leads over Xiaxue (8512).
UPDATE on 11th Dec 2005 Looks like Xiaxue and MrBrown readers are in competition. Here’s a decent observation from a Xiaxue fan on demographics and its effect on the polls.
UPDATE on 12th Dec 2005 Xiaxue was sharp and honest to report on someone messing around with the polls. MrBrown wrote about the possibility of an international booboo if voters continue to cheat the system. It’s great that our two celebrity bloggers are really quite socially responsible.