I just had a chat with Vincent about the Awards debate and we pretty much came to the conclusion that the real cause for concern is probably (most likely) not the processes that were employed in the voting and judging stages but rather what was (or wasn’t) said about them. There are people who become concerned when there is less apparent transparency and when they voice those concerns they are not necessarily "whiney bastards" but, as Mike and/or Dave pointed out, their voice is important. For one thing, those "whiney bastards" are making a really good point. Blogs in South Africa are no longer only read by a couple geeks who don’t go out into sunlight much. More and more people are sitting up and paying attention to blogs and when we start flaming each other it makes the local blogosphere look immature and not nearly ready to sit with the grown-ups.
That is not what we should be working towards. Jonathan said the purpose of the 2007 SA Blog Awards is to showcase SA blogs. Is this what we want to show South African business and local media? In my previous post I flippantly asked whether the "A" on A-list stands for "Ambassador" and as I write this I think it does. Our little industry or segment of the media industry (for lack of a better term) is getting big and we are starting to be noticed by all the right people and if their first impression is a bunch of geeky flamers then so much for the mainstream adoption of new media for the next year or two. All we need is an article in a mainstream newspaper painting a picture of SA bloggers as a collective joke and we may as well go back to using our blogs for personal diaries to talk about our sticker collections and that boy/girl/hermaphrodite at school we like.
I’m not saying we must suddenly become serious and talk about spreadsheets and pie graphs (many of us are Mac users dammit – ok, obscure joke) and that we should do anything other than express our authentic voices because I am most definitely not. We have to keep doing that, expressing that voice. What we do need to do is remember that we are not alone anymore. Mommy and Daddy (or big brother and big sister if you prefer) are taking an interest in what we do and if we don’t start acting like grown-ups we won’t be treated like grown-ups and we all know how that goes … early bedtimes, eating veggies we don’t like and no pocket money.
As for the Blog Awards, what would really help is a post or two from the organisers revealing the behind the scenes stuff at the Awards. Mike has mentioned that being a judge he saw how fair the whole process was (Jonathan made the point that our humble Blog Awards are probably better designed that the Bloggies and that wouldn’t be the first time South Africa outdid the rest of the world – think the 2004/2006 Constitutions which were groundbreaking in many respects). I believe that what we need is for Jonathan or someone else who is in a position to speak to be a bit more transparent and let us see behind the curtain at what the Wizard was doing to make all that smoke and noise. Once they do that I believe we will see just what an amazing job Jonathan & Co have done for us the last few years and there will be some pretty embarrassed people, I reckon.