There's been a few awards making the rounds lately, and I've been seeing quite a few blog entries that say, "Thanks to So-and-so for giving me this award, but I am going to break the rules and not give it to anyone else because I love everyone / I can't pick just 5 / most people have already gotten it / I have a whole list in my blogroll".
Fair enough. Those are all valid reasons, not to mention you're avoiding potentially hurting someone's feeling because you didn't give them an award. But sometimes, when considering to pass on said awards, I think we focus a little too much on the negative aspects and forget about the good things. For instance, how nice did it feel to get a comment or an email from someone telling you they thought enough of you, your work, and your blog to give you an award? Really nice, right? Made your day? Made you feel appreciated? Let you know people are listening to what you say, and perhaps find you inspirational? How nice would it be to pass on that feeling to someone else?
And let's not forget the social networking aspect of blogging. LNSs are closing left and right, designers are going out of business, and it can be hard to find local stitching communities. Thankfully, we have the Internet, from which we can not only acquire stash, but inspiration, encouragement, and friendships as well. The Internet is what helps so many of us stay connected to our craft and to our fellow stitchers, and those links have to be maintained and expanded. The more links we can add to our our networks, the stronger the community becomes.
Why not put out a few new links every now and again for your readers to follow, and help them discover new blogs, new techniques, new designers, etc., for themselves? I personally have found tons of ideas and inspiration from all the blogs I read, and I feel good being able to share them with others. Yes, I know a lot of bloggers maintain a blogroll or a list of links in their sidebars, but with so many people using readers (myself included), it's likely that visits to your actual blog are rare. There may not be as many people checking out your blogroll as you think.
I don't mind picking a few blogs from the many I read and highlighting them in a post. It takes me just a few short minutes, and I feel it's a wise investment of my time if I can make one person feel good, or help someone else find a new blog they may not have been familiar with. I don't think it matters if the award has been given before, and if someone's feelings are hurt because they didn't get an award, then perhaps it should say something to them about making a bigger impression on the blogging community.
I feel so bad when people put themselves and their blogs down because they think nobody is reading them and are contemplating closing them. I feel for new bloggers when they are unsuccessful trying to break into the community and generate some traffic to their blog. It's not much fun when you put yourself and your work out there, and nobody seems to care because nobody knows how to find you, or even that you exist.
I didn't single anyone out because we're all busy with lives outside the cross stitch and online worlds, and it's not my place to tell anyone else how to handle their blog. But I do urge you, that the next time you get an award, to consider passing it on and highlighting a few of the blogs you read in a post. A little care and nurturing in the blogging community can really go a long way towards helping not only stay alive, but thrive.