The debate over the 2007 SA Blog Awards has been pretty intense. I had an opportunity to chat to Jonathan Cherry, the co-ordinator/facilitator of the SA Blog Awards for the last three years running about much of the criticism that has been levied against the voting process, the judges and the alignment of the stars when the nominations were announced. Jonathan made an effort to explain some of the processes in a comment on Wozafriday but I don’t think the good stuff has gotten out just yet.
What I understood from a fairly lenthy chat with Jonathan (and to the extent this is wrong, it is all my fault, I wasn’t taking decent notes) is that rather than being an annointing of the top blogs in the various categories in South Africa (and the top SA blog), the Awards are intended to be a showcase of local blogs or blogs by locals. The blogs that ‘win’ are not intended to be represented as the best blogs in South Africa but rather a best of the bunch on show. As Jonathan pointed out, there are some blogs in South Africa that have the most amazing content and yet they were not nominated by enough people to rise to prominence (obviously Wired Gecko is one of these blogs … kidding!). I am not referring to any blog in particular because I still think that visibility in the local blogosphere determines whether enough people are going to give your blog the thumbs up and get you on to the shortlists.
All this criticism about the whole process and we are missing the point. Events like the SA Blog Awards are meant to boost our collective profiles in South Africa and help us to a point where blogs become a firm part of the mainstream consciousness in our little dorpie. This morning’s segment on SABC 2‘s Morning Live is an indication that the Awards are having their desired effect.
In short, the SA Blog Awards is no about you, it is about us and showing the rest of the country what awesome content we publish.
(yes, I know this post doesn’t address all the issues raised – such as the voting process and how the process is judged – so if you have some productive suggestions to improve the whole thing for next year, speak to Jonathan)