As I began my blogging journey and browsed other people’s blogs, I noticed some pages proudly displaying awards. I was initially intrigued. Where did these awards come from? Who bestowed them, and what for? How could I “win” one? I was still in my initial exploration of WordPress phase, so I read up on them. I learned that these blog awards are informal, passed freely among the bloggers in a manner similar to chain letters or pyramid schemes. Some people called them just another method for generating link-backs and clicks. Others acknowledged that these awards did provide a form of positive feedback and formed a bond between individual bloggers.
For my non-blogging readers, here’s how the award system works:
1. A fellow blogger nominates you, and sends you a message letting you know.
2. If you want to accept the award and post that visual trophy on your blog, you must follow a set of rules first. These rules are remarkably reminiscent of the chain letters and survey e-mails of my teen years, but with a little recognition for a job-well-done tied up in the mix. Usually, they go something like this:
- Dedicate one whole post to the blog award, and begin by thanking and linking your nominator.
- Copy and paste the picture of the award into the post.
- List random facts/answer questions about yourself.
- Nominate a designated number of other people to also receive the award.
I’ve flip-flopped on the pros and cons of blog awards ever since I discovered their existence last summer. I never really had to pick a side, though, because I didn’t receive any nominations. Not that it bothered me. I received positive feedback in the form of likes, comments, and followers, so I knew people appreciated what I have to say.
Until last week. During one of the most hectic weeks of my life (including yet another cross-country move), I received two different award nominations. All of a sudden I had to make a decision. What precedent do I set? Do I accept the awards and follow the rules that go with them? Or do I separate myself from that sort thing and graciously decline because some people think they don’t look professional?
Then it hit me.
Both of my nominations came from teenage bloggers. These two young people are among my most prolific “likers” (if I can make that a term) and active readers. They clearly meant the nominations as a genuine compliment. How can I turn that down? It means I’m reaching who I want to reach, communicating with the crowd that is the very core of my mission. I am flattered by the nominations, and I love the participation and readership they demonstrate. Not only that, but I welcome the opportunity to point others to the wonderful teen bloggers I follow. So what if it’s just a way to generate more links and clicks? They deserve those links and clicks!
So yes, I accept the awards. I welcome them. I am thankful for the opportunity they provide.
However, once I made that decision, I wrestled a little with how to proceed. I thought about lumping both awards, all that info, lists of random facts, and my nominations into this post. In fact, I initially drafted it that way. But that was really long and a bit tedious. The actual nominations were getting lost at the bottom of lists and ramblings, and that’s not doing anyone any favors. Plus I’ll admit that I would like to keep some semblance of a focus on the actual content of my blog. I want my posts to be a series of thought-provoking articles, and somehow, a list of random facts about me breaks that flow. I want to participate, but I also want to keep some coherence and consistency in the content of my blog (how’s that for alliteration?).
So here’s what I’m going to do:
I’m going to set up a separate page on Avoiding Neverland, dedicated specifically to recognitions, blog awards, and the like. That way, I can participate and share the love, but not break the flow of topics and articles every time a new nomination comes in. People who want to participate in the blog awards can go to that page, while those who would rather not can ignore its existence and still enjoy the rest of my blog.
That’s the decision I’ve reached. What about you? What do you think about these blog awards? Do you participate in them and get super excited when you’re nominated? Or do you choose to sit out?