Weblogs Awards 2005: For the rest of us not so popular ones…

Weblog Awards 2005 (Asian category)

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.

long tailA 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.

19 thoughts on “Weblogs Awards 2005: For the rest of us not so popular ones…

  1. Heh, glad you realized that I was joking (though I have actually laid off all of the co-pundits – albeit temporarily). Actually I don’t take the Best Blog award too seriously, it’s good for traffic but the top-two were obvious from the time the announcement was made.
    One point of contention is whether heavy hitters like XiaXue or mr b even belong in the Best Asian Blog category. Seriously, XX’s readership are like a cult and the numbers she pulls in votes would merit. And both her and mr brown are Technorati top 100 (as is the absent Kenny Sia).
    And consider the following:
    Best Blog top three:
    Daily Kos 2451
    Michelle Malkin 1695
    Eschaton 1582
    Best Asian Blog
    XiaXue 2710
    mr brown 1564
    Simon World 212
    Numbers like that beg the question why XX and mr b aren’t simply in best blog category (leaving the Asian Blog category a bit more open for us third-tier hacks).

  2. Myrick: OK, will refer to you as Myrick next time. About the awards, I find it a little pointless actually, since we can already see top blogs via rankings on technorati, feedster, blogpulse and so on. What would make an awards campaign like this more potent is if we see more surprising nominations. After all, wasn’t the point of this award to highlight diversity? Why perpetuate the already popular?

  3. They should have a category for unknowns or something. Oh well, awards like these aren’t much significance except to increase readership and a tiny ego boost. As long as we’re happy with our own blogging, we don’t need to win awards to assure ourselves. 🙂

  4. Don’t worry Kevin, I think your blog is better than those on the nomination. I don’t think that those who don’t win any awards are not good blogs. Sometimes those blogs that win can be full of shit too 🙂 heheh..

  5. I agree. Awards should be about drawing atention to new blogs (like mine) and rewarding excellence (like ESWN). This award vote does at least one-quarter of those goals.
    BTW your daily visits (based on the clustermap) are higher than mine. There’s really no reason why you couldn’t be up there with the rest of us supposedly ‘popular’ blogs.

  6. Rubez, Heather, Myrick:
    I’m glad you guys agree with me. Spurred by this Power Laws, Weblogs & Inequality article, David Sifry, creator of the Technorati.com, at one time created the “Technorati Interesting Newcomers List” (it’s dead now). The list was designed to flag people with low overall link numbers, but who have done something to merit a sharp increase in links, as a way of making the system more dynamic.

    Best Newcomer is an awesome category we should introduce an award for. However, it’s not something that’s technically easy to figure out. What could happen is that nominations for best newcomer could come in, and we could use trend analysis (i.e. technorati, alexa, blogpulse) and overall blog content to measure who should take the win.

    We can either ask the Weblogs Awards organizers to add this for next year, or start one ourselves. That’s the beauty of the Internet.

  7. mb and xx have a fairly large local audience and they will vote for them. Sg also has a high-percent of Internet users and blog followers. The mainstream media in sg often writes about bloggers.

    Compare this to most other blogs on the list, the audiences in their geographical regions are not big fans of these blogs. The content of these blogs (geo-politics, current affairs analysis etc.) is not mighty interesting to the locals and of course most people in these regions don’t read English. If you look at top linked blog (via Technorati) in China it is a software development related blog. In Korea people tend to read their own friend’s Home P. In Japan people spend more time on ni-channel – a mega forum site. Most of my friends in China who blog don’t read any top blogs, they tend to read blogs of people within their own circle.

    Also, the list has no sites from South Asia or even from Iran. I am sure if you had a blog from India or even a Chinese language blog from China you would see the pie more evenly spread out.

  8. Hi Kevin, I do have cute baby pics of my little girl, but one out of three won’t cut it 🙂

    It was only now that I realized this blog award thing is actually a poll (**shocked**) and being from the Philippines I have a pretty good idea of how polls can be conducted (this my idea of a sick political joke).

    the Philippine Blog Awards has just ended, and although I was rooting for a few of my favorites, I suppose they were edged out by the ones that got more votes than they.

  9. It’s really difficult to please everyone with a poll… since different polls can be gamed using different strategies. What we need is a newcomer category to help bring out good bloggers, since we already know who the popular ones are.

  10. Thanks Zhi Yang! The best newcomer category = the best new blog on weblog awards… missed that one. That’s a global award too, so I see big blogs in there.

    BTW: You share the same surname as me, that’s why I find your blog address extra hilarious!!

  11. Everything is purely fun till someone commercialized it. I thought blogs are great because it is something and someplace which we could voice out what we could not in reality, espcially on this puny little red dot.
    I conquire with Rubez that we shouldn’t take this award shit too seriously. Though I don’t have a personal blog yet (except for one with Friendster…duh :P) I thought a blog is something personal and not too be overtly publicized as such. Anyone who wants to win could probably be seriously ego-ill.
    Stay cool.

  12. flikhype: Funny how my friend Nelson and I just said the same thing. But you know what, we have to accept what life throws at us and roll with it. At times like these, I remember one of the major lessons in happiness… contentment. To be happy, we have to blog for our own reasons, and just treat popularity as an extra bonus. 🙂

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