As I read though some of the posts that have built up over the New Year, I've been wondering about some of the awards that have going around lately and whether they are a productive thing or not. I worry that perhaps we are starting to create Edublogger Celebrities where some bloggers are getting excessive peer acclaim that could be counter productive to an equal connective conversation. When an Award winner starts to question this focus, I know it's not just sour grapes on my part for not being a nominee. Anne Davis writes:
Then what about our educational blog awards? I want blogs to be recognized, but I've had mixed feelings about educator blogging rewards. It is truly nice to be recognized and it feels good but at the same time there are so many worthy blogs that this type of comparison is so very difficult, really almost impossible. How in the world do you choose from a list of four when you value each one in different but such worthwhile aspects ? They all add so much to the conversations and learning. It seems to bring out a lot of feelings that are counter productive to what I believe we are all trying to accomplish. Yet at the same time this type of recognition does bring some validation to educational blogs which usually are not even valued enough to be acknowledged as a category in the various blog mentions, awards, etc. It also seems to be a topic that we shy away from as an item for discussion. So how do we resolve it? Do we even need to? Probably not.
Anne's probably right. But being aware that there are so many blogs that can't be acknowledged by these formats for awards should put them in some sort of perspective. It's all about what speaks to you as a reader. Which means if you think I'm talking out of my hat, you wouldn't have made it this far through my post.
Totally agree. It’s a mixed blessing – really an honour to be nominated, moreso to “win” – but in a sense that sets it up as a zero sum game, which is pretty much diametrically opposed to what we’re doing together in this wild and wacky edublogosphere…
An interesting post Graham,
I didn’t follow the awards stuff, so I am not sure what criteria are used or what categories are awarded. I don’t know that it really impacts on many edu_bloggers. People who like that sort of thing will enjoy the accolades, others can simply refuse to participate. Guess i’d also be concerned if it resulted in a hierarchy of edu_blogging credibility but I reckon there are enough mavericks in education to protect us from “they speak with one voice stuff”.
Everytime someone engages intensely enough with what I have posted, to stop and take the time to make a thoughtful comment (conversational intensity) I feel like I have “won an award” of sorts. If you decide to have a comment box, a comment is the greatest compliment a fellow blogger can pay – comments make formal awards seem irrelevant.
I reckon you’re right. If I asked D’Arcy if he could only keep his award (for Most Beautiful Blog, no less) or keep all of the comments on his blog, to use a Canadian phrase, it would be a no-brainer. Comments tell you who’s really engaging with what you say. Sometimes, in my case, that’s no-one!
Ahh I am well used to the “sound of one hand clapping” in a comment box – and there is a pleasure in this as well – you write entirely selfishly – you rant and reflect in random bursts – to sort out your own thoughts – pure metacognition. At my old blog there was a great discussion on whether bloggers were at heart “attention whores” – it made me think about how when you write for an audience it changes the nature of what you post. I know that I write quite selfishly – but it is the way I unwind my mind.
The award are a really important thing to think about.
I didn’t know any contenders in the education blogosphere by the end of 2005 so I voted fairly randomly, except for Jo McLeay. I really wanted her to win because her blog deserved it and had given me much over the past 3 months.
I like seeing all the blogs and meeting new blogs every day. P.S. You wrote a really encouraging comment to Ellie. It would be good to see how her Maths has improved.
Artichoke, unwinding your mind is good. Would like to see that more often. Would like to do it more often!
Good point, one that I struggled with a lot last year.
I know this sounds enormously shallow but in the end I thought “Heck, it’s only a bit of fun so why not” and that’s how I reckon it should stay… a fun way of providing a bit of recognition and helping edublogging get some sort of a coherent profile.
And philosophically & uber-practically ;), I reckon that while we all want and hope for egalitarian utopian communities on the web in the same breath we’re stuffing them up through this wish. Awards, in the right tone, are a bit like like capitalism, with the right checks and balances, although I think I’ll stop there with that analogy…
Interesting post and comments, Graham – I agree too, and although it did feel nice to be nominated, I felt as if I didn’t deserve it. I do think the buzz of awards ceremnies (any awards ceremonies) does give a lot of attention to a favoured few, and is probably always unfair to a certain extent, but on the other hand, having awards does generate more attention to edublogs in general, and gives us all something else to blog about 🙂
Thank you all for your comments – I just threw my post on in a brainal response when I was reading Anne’s original post. I think the title was the most “controversial” part of it and maybe my self conscious subconscious (say that five times) is a bit jealous of others’ peer recognition. I mean I could be a Edublogger Celeb too if I find the right sized fish bowl. Who am I to deny the wide international appeal of the winners? (That is not a sarcastic comment, BTW). But it is the mavericks that Artichoke speaks of that are rapidly becoming the must reads in my Bloglines account. Maybe James, you need a new category for 2006 – there’s a lot being mentioned in blogs along the lines that if we only read what resonates with us, then all we’ll hear is an echo chamber. We need to recognise the voices in the wilderness too.
Yeah, ok, prizes etc. It’s exclusive and so on. I once read (Stephen Downes?) a neat article that countered the idea of “quantity (i.e number of visitors) = quality” idea, that is a hangover from a straightforward business model of media, rather than a social one. On the other hand, awards can highlight high quality writing, from which we can all benefit.
I reckon in terms of categories, nominees and blogs recognised the more the merrier… in an ideal world next year would have edublog teaching awards, edublog research awards etc. with their own categories so as many people could be involved as they wanted.
Josie is the one who’ll have to be persuaded though… I may be founder but she’s a (much more capable than me!) CEO