Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You do get a whizzy button though

In the past week or so some of the blogs I read have started sporting a new button.

The button boasts their ranking in the various categories of the blog awards run by totalpolitics.

There are all sorts of categories - Welsh blogs, MP blogs, media blogs, Scots blogs, etc, etc.

The recipients of awards and a shiny widget for their blog are perhaps justifiably proud. I say perhaps, because if you take a look at the awards section it explains how the voting was sorted out and quite openly states that 'more than 1,500' people voted in the awards.

One might argue that 1,500 people is a respectable sample and not far off the size of sample that might be taken by a polling organisation to determine who might win a general election (usually their sample size is 2,000 or more) Therefore, a proud winner might argue that though the number of voters is small, it is representative of the blogging public and therefore quite an accolade.

That might hold true for something like MP blogs or, maybe, media blogs, where there are a lot of people voting in those categories. But how many voted in the Wales categories for instance? Those voted to the top in there might find they have attained their position on a very sparse sample indeed.

Naturally, if you cast your eye rightwards you'll see no button on this blog linking you back to totalpolitics, and so this post might be accused of vintage sour grapes. Maybe. But firstly, I did not engage in the shameless vote-garnering that some blogs did. Secondly, even if I had, I'd never be in the running for an award, the blog isn't active enough, and it's now a selection of random meanderings posted on a less than occasional basis. You would have to be very short of candidates indeed to vote for this in any poll.

But more than all this, why, when the blogosphere is supposed to be this free, anarchic, random, chaotic, joyous rabble, do people buy into blog awards run by anyone? As soon as your blog gets an award its become part of the establishment, respectable, and you should have the decency to shut it down.

One of the strengths of blogs is their freedom from the restraints felt by the dead-tree press. So why seek validation from a blog award system voted on by so few people?

If you are any good, people will visit your blog, you shouldn't need spurious blog awards to make them do that.

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