Jan 27 2009

Chancing My Arm

Published by at 11:40 am under Blog

Negative Blog Awards LogoAndrew wrote a short post last Thursday (with a picture attached) criticising people who are proudly declaring that they have received a nomination for the Blog Awards in February. For those readers who are not involved in the Irish blogosphere, the nominations list is a comprehensive list of everyone who received even a single nomination. It is neither a shortlist nor a longlist. The post subsequently gained a lot of attention – mostly negative, it’s fair to say. Andrew is a good friend of mine, so I think I know him better than many of readers and reactors on the post. I didn’t think the post was worth the attention it received, but in retrospect I’m glad it has given a lot of people a sounding board for their thoughts on the nominations.


Yesterday evening, he published a longer, more considered post on the subject. This is one I felt deserved a comment from me. I started writing my reply which began as a sentence or two and expanded into a lengthly oration. So, rather than leaving the comment and sounding more like a castigation of Andrew than of the negativity towards the Blog Awards, I decided to put my views across here.


My thoughts on blogging and the Blog Awards are simple – I’m a social animal – I love the drinks and fun side of blogging. I’ve said so many times how many people I have met and good friends I have made through the medium. I was first introduced to blogging at the Blog Awards last year and all I saw was people who wanted to meet and chat and share ideas. How anyone can find that negative is beyond me. And I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t even consider coming down and joining the rest of us for a piss-up.


Positive Blog Awards LogoAs Rick said in his comment on Andrew’s first post, so many people will never make that longlist, never mind the shortlist and this may be the only time a tiny little spotlight shines down upon them.  I am very fortunate to have had a brighter light shine upon me when I started blogging – I had some blogging friends who mentioned me and gained me a instant reader base. Most bloggers don’t have this and if they can gain even a few readers by being mentioned in a nomination list, then why not throw up a logo, why not thank their readers, why not shout it from the rooftops?

Andrew says it’s not personal. Both he and I understand that the online persona and the offline counterpart are not always the same, but others may not see it this way. When criticising the people who use the ‘Nominated’ logos in their sidebars (some of whom would consider Andrew a friend), it is taken personally and saying “it’s not personal” does not change that.

So, I suspect that is why he got such a reaction to his ‘throwaway’ post. When I first read it, I just shook my head at it because I thought it relatively pointless, but now I’m glad he published it, in a way, because it has allowed a lot of people react to the negativity in one place.

As for the politics of the whole thing – it’s posts like Andrew’s that create the ‘politics’ – opposing sides and criticising the acts of others. In the comments there was a mention of the clique element of it. Last years awards drew 400 people, I believe. This year is likely to gather more. That’s one hell of an impressive clique. In truth, I think one of the greatest parts of blogging is the arms-wide-open welcoming aspect. No one will shut you out or put you down and all comments and viewpoints are accepted. Blogging certainly has its niches (I don’t read too many of the female oriented beauty blogs, for example) but to call that cliquish is daft.


But then again, we are all entitled to our opinions, Andrew included.


To get worked up about all of this is, in my opinion, a waste of time. Some people like the idea of the awards, some people think it’s contrived. Personally, I think it’s a lot of fun. If everyone stopped taking it so seriously and just enjoyed a great night out, it’d be a lot better all around.



21 responses so far

21 Responses to “Chancing My Arm”

  1. paddyon 27 Jan 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Blogging over the years I’ve had several sites. I find it quite a closed elite activity- birds of a feather tend to.
    I imagined at the beginning there would be at least traffic if not comments, but again I was disappointed quite a small response for such a wide world out there.

    I imagined regardless of content brilliance, just the connection to other people in the wide world with a different slant would spark participation. Bloggers are I hate to say even more boring than people in your local pub or a pub.

  2. Darrenon 27 Jan 2009 at 12:12 pm

    @Paddy Wow – that’s very defeatist. Maybe I’ve just been extremely lucky and fallen in with some great people.

  3. Voodooladyon 27 Jan 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Weird, I never read Andrews blog post and posted something on a similar vein myself last night.

    The fact that it got so many responses is very amusing to me, people defending their right to be back slapped, har har.

    Blog award nom = I am loved
    Twitter followers = I am loved
    Facebook friends = I am loved

    It’s all a bit ehhhhhh to me 🙂

  4. Andrewon 27 Jan 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Oh, you’ve cottoned on to the fact that writing a post about a controversy within blogging is a surefire way to generateomments than you generally get. Had you just wanted to let me know what you thought you’d have emailed me.
    but you’ll keep banging on about how deadly everyone and everything is like some kind of manic depressive on E until you have a bad day again, when you’ll write a monstrously bad “everything is shit” post again. I’m just trying to be balanced, because everything is not fucking deadly.

  5. Andrewon 27 Jan 2009 at 12:49 pm

    alexia: “I can’t understand all the mean-spirited griping over the awards. So much work happens behind it all. The judges work their arses off too.”
    “lexia No money is made. And everyone gets into the same room and chats! Like, what the fuck.. 2 minutes ago from web”

    It’s just jealousy. Pure and simple.”

    From Alexia, the queen of mean-spiritedness.

    mulley: “Oooh Darren’s post reminded me, he was nominated for Popculture blog too.”
    “damienmulley @lexia Contrarians are good. Whiney dumb fucks looking for attention contribute nothing. But it fills the hollow inside them for a time.”

    From Damien Mulley, the man who welcomes criticism and whom Rick O’Shea and Darragh tell me doesn’t take the whole thing too seriously at all.

    I don’t subscribe to Twitter (a friend passed those on). so these people are essentially just bitching about me behind my back. Fucking grow a pair.

  6. Voodooladyon 27 Jan 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Being called a dumb fuck, charming!

  7. Gary Wardon 27 Jan 2009 at 1:39 pm

    The internet is serious business, don’t you know.

  8. Peteron 27 Jan 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Can I nominate myself for best non-blogger??

  9. Darrenon 27 Jan 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Andrew, speaking with you earlier, I acknowledged that this post may sound like a personal attack rather than my opinion on your post and the comments it inspired. For that I apologise and I’ll assume that suggesting I sound like ‘a manic depressive on E’ was just your reaction to that. If my general positivity and occasional dip into depression bothers you then theres very little I can do about that – I wouldn’t change me. No, everything is not deadly, but moaning and being negative about things is hardly helpful.

    Had you just wanted to let me know what you thought you’d have emailed me.

    I could have done that, yes, but I didn’t want to just let you know what I thought. I wanted to share my opinions – that’s why I have a blog, that’s why so many people have blogs – to share opinions.

  10. paddyon 27 Jan 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Plus, people are never who they say or pretend to be. You learn that the number one rule.
    I learned not to be me hence the several sites, and I never say what I am really thinking.
    It’s fun when you’ve worked it out (but quite annoying otherwise) and you can have fun with it.

    You’re never lucky with people, there is always an angle you just haven’t seen yet;-)

  11. Darrenon 27 Jan 2009 at 2:38 pm

    And a second comment to talk about the Twitter comments:

    I have not been on Twitter in some time and if those are some of the things I can expect to read upon my return, then I’m glad I’ve been away. Assuming the comments are not being taken out of context, calling Andrew (and those who hold similar opinions) jealous and mean-spirited, along with ‘dumb fuck’ is just juvenile. Much as I might disagree with Andy’s point of view on the issue being discussed, name calling and bad attitudes like that are far more likely to make me take his side on the entire debate.

  12. Darrenon 27 Jan 2009 at 2:40 pm

    @Voodoo Yep – very childish.

    @Peter I don’t think that category exists – I can check for you. 😉

    @Gary No, no it isn’t, really!!!

    @Paddy Maybe you’re right – I hope not, but maybe.

  13. donna mon 27 Jan 2009 at 3:57 pm

    i cant say i understand having an awards ceremony with awards for blogging.. its all abit over the top for me – but i do understand pouring your heart into your blog entries (for yourself) and yet hoping that someone somewhere might read it and comment or generate a discussion on it etc… and so if someone is recognized for that, why not shout it from the rooftops even if it is abit hokey?

  14. Damien O'Bamaon 27 Jan 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Clear paralells / tenuous links here between the Booker Prize lists. You can bet your last dollar (or Euro) that anything that gets put on the long- or short-lists ends up being a load of old tosh – self-indulgent noncery, on a grand scale, and that the people who read the damn things will share two things in common – that a) for the most part they can’t understand the content – a fact they don’t advertise, and b) that they feel pretty special because they ARE reading it – a fact that they shout from the rooftops.

    In the words of Eminem:

    “Let’s get down to business,
    I don’t got no time to play around, what is this?
    Must be a circus in town, let’s shut the shit down,
    on these clowns, can I get a witness?”

    Shut it all down I say – lets get back to work and kick the spectre of this “recession” into touch!

  15. Lottieon 27 Jan 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Personally I think the Blog Awards are a great idea- bringing people together and any excuse for a piss-up really. It also adds credibility to Irish blogging.

    Having said that, if people find the Awards trite then that’s their choice – everyone is entitled to their own opinion and (in repeating myself) sometimes I find the blogospehere a little nicey nicey at the moment – with everyone afraid that in speaking their mind they might insult or offend someone.

    It’s when it stoops to personal attacks or childish pretensions little remarks that people need to take a step back and realise that it’s all a bit of fun and make a choice to be adults.

    And @Paddy – you’re right – people aren’t (always)what they pretend to be online and that’s where the importance of understanding the line between personal attacks and general critical observations is crucial.

  16. Damien O'Bamaon 27 Jan 2009 at 5:00 pm

    This is all getting very serious…Lottie, what do you mean people aren’t what they pretend to be online…Are you suggesting people pretend to be something they’re not just because they can hide behind the armour of something as flimsy as an assumed name?

    Surely the main reason people post on blogs is for literary one-upmanship… a virtual game of arm wrestling…but with words…?

  17. B'dum B'dum B'dum B'd-on 27 Jan 2009 at 7:56 pm

    “It also adds credibility to Irish blogging.”
    It doesn’t really if it’s mainly a social thing, but anyways.

    Good post.
    I would argue that a blog has to be either:
    -niche based,
    -socially based(clique shouldn’t necessarily conjure negative -images),
    -no-readership based
    or, in very rare cases,
    -f*cking amazing… based

    I still think the nominated logo thing is pointless.
    Here’s a reason you might all appreciate: It’d degrade the whole awards too if some person nominates themself then puts the nominated thing on their sidebar, people’ll think that it’s among the cream of the crop with its 4 embed youtube videos.

  18. Green Inkon 28 Jan 2009 at 4:08 pm

    It’s great there’s so much to throw rattles out of cots over.

  19. Caren Kennedyon 29 Jan 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for writing this. I was feeling very embarrassed having read Darren’s post.

    Initially I dithered about putting up the nomination logo because, yes, it seems daft when only one nomination can get you listed. It also seemed somewhat vain, if not downright desperate for accolades.

    However, I did so because the person who nominated me sent me the logo and it seemed churlish not to ‘accept’ it. Besides, I was pleased she’d bothered to nominate me at all. As a new blogger, who wouldn’t be?

    Also, I thought it was a harmless way to promote the Awards and myself. I know from my stats readers (new and old) have clicked on the link back to the nomination list and presumably found other blogs from there. I think that’s a good thing.

    By the way, I love your Homepages link.


  20. The Sexy Pedestrianon 04 Feb 2009 at 10:07 am

    God, the drama. It’s stating a fact “Someone nominated me for something”. Big deal. The extended commentary is taking away from whatever your blog is supposed to be. There’s nothing wrong with saying thanks for the support and getting back to business.
    Blogging about blogging defeats the purpose to a certain extent, it’s like when RTE and TV3 use their chat shows to interview the presenters of their other chat shows.

  21. The Sexy Pedestrianon 04 Feb 2009 at 11:48 am

    I should say, I didn’t mean “whatever YOUR blog is supposed to be”, I meant whatever anyone’s blog is supposed to be!

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