Monday, July 28, 2008

Giving out awards

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.

24 comments:

Anna van Schurman said...

Or maybe you think of them as horrible little chain letters with commands to go do something thrust upon you! I know, so not in the spirit. I'm not as community minded as you are...

Stephanie said...

See, that's why I love reading your blog, you always make me think twice :)

Dianne said...

Good post Jen. I kinda feel like Anna. I appreciate the awards I have received in the past (one from you and noted as that) and tried to pass one on and a lady didn't want to accept it. I forget her exact reasoning, but it was like it wasn't made by you and just copied from someone else and she didn't want to be obligated to pass it on.
I love comments the best and get lots of positive enforcement from them, though at times I only get a few. I'm not in a bunch of cross stitching forums or groups. I'd never get anything done here. Between this, that and the other thing-well it's just too much.
Also, cross stitching is one of my things, but not my only thing.

Maureen said...

If one person reads my blog and they like what they see, i'm a happy bunny.. giving awards is good if it actually highlights some different blogs as it can all start to get a bit repetative (how do you spell that lol!). I love just wandering from one to the next and seeing where you end up - usually involving me not doing a lot of work when I'm supposed to be..as I see it blogging is a nice way to keep a record of my work, not a competition...

Deirdre said...

That's why I gave my "Brilliante" award to blogs that are special to me. I had a really hard time and felt like I was being "cliquish" (my 12 year olds new word since camp). I like the idea of highlighting blogs.

Laurel's stitching said...

This is why I read your blog...you say what I think...great blog! laurel

Dani said...

Great blog Jen. I love that you try to highlight various blogs (thanks again for mentioning me when I was trying to get PIF participants ... I'm still not really sure how two of them found my blog to begin with). I know when someone new finds my blog and leaves a comment, I will go visit theirs if they have one and add it to my blogroll. I don't use reader ... I actually use my blog roll and am glad that blogger added the feature that allows me to see when it was last updated ... saves me a lot of time :). Thanks for posting such a thought provoking blog :)

Lee said...

First of all, and totally off the subject, but can sweet pea grow wild? Because every day that I run, I go by a bunch of what I think is sweet pea growing wild by the road and I think of you.

Ok, now to go back to the subject at hand: That was a good and thoughtful post. You're absolutely right - with shops closing almost every day and knowing that the great majority of us don't have a local stitching community, the blog community would certainly benefit if we'd all give each other a leg up as often as possible. Whether it's an "award" or a link or comment - it really doesn't matter, just as long as we actually DO IT.

Thanks for helping us remember that.

Christine said...

I think that's a really nice perspective, Jennifer!

Kim B said...

I love your positive spin on things!

Pumpkin said...

That's an awesome post Jennifer! I have to admit that I am one of those people who got an award but did not pass it on. I feel that if you receive an award, you must acknowledge it.

I don't feel someone needs an award just to get their Blog posted. Whenever I come across something new or a new Blogging friend, I will make a link to those sites.

I love the Bloggers who just make posts to introduce new Blogs. That is really helpful not only to the new person, but us as well because we get to see something new :o)

Jenna said...

Good ideas, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing them. I have seen quite a number of bloggers not pass along their awards lately and yet, I've also experienced some new-to-me blogs lately due to these awards going around. BTW, thanks for the links for Prevacid and Protonix savings in your comment to Dawn. Hubby's on Prevacid and my mom is on Protonix, so the savings will be greatly appreciated by both, I'm sure.

Sally said...

This is so well put across Jennifer:) I must admit that I did pass on two of my recent awards but then the next ones I received I didn't. I will certainly think twice next time. When I do pass it on I try and pass it to blogs that don't normally get awards.

Lisa said...

Not only did I enjoy your post, I also enjoyed the comments on it. My thoughts: I blog without obligation. I view literally hundreds of blogs during a weeks time, and there is no way I can comment on all of them. I thought about keeping a blogroll, but there is no way I can keep up with it. (stitcher, know thyself)... Yea, I agree, the networking aspect is awesome and needed. I especially like the idea of new stitchers breaking into the community...how about a 'welcome new stitcher award'? I'm serious!
Let me know what you think :-)

Michele said...

I just found your blog and enjoyed this post very much and I really enjoyed reading everyones comments. I received two awards recently for the first time .. and silly as it may sound coming from a 54 year old woman, it really was nice. Nice to know that there are readers of my blog, over and beyond the 8 or 10 that comment consistently. It did make me smile :)

Meari said...

Well said, Jennifer. I always pass on awards and link to others online if I can (and know they have an online presence) because you never know... it just might make their day, and I'm happy to do that. :D It also lets them know that they are indeed noticed and someone thought about them that day. Who wouldn't like that? I know I do. Thanks for putting your thoughts out there.

Terry said...

Very well said. I passed on the award I received but I have to admit it was hard. I love reading so many different blogs and it was hard choosing a few to give the award. I figure I can go back later and send another award to a few more and again later to a few more so that eventually all the blogs I read will receive one.

Stitcher said...

Great words. I read lots of blogs, sometimes I only have time to look at the pics-when lifes busy. Sometimes I leave comments, and sometimes I don't. And sometimes I read a posting, where I just have to comment - no matter how busy I am. We're all different, but I really appreciate any comments left for me, and also visitors who don't comment - I have a blogcounter so hopefully it's correct. And this was one of those posts I just had to comment on. :P:

~V said...

Brilliant post!

brokenfairy said...

Thanks for visiting my blog,I am glad you did as I think this post is brilliant!!

Ruth Rachel Vendsel said...

Well, because you nominated Michelle, I found your blog, and it looks like we might be neighbors. So I have to agree with everything you said!

Patty said...

I'm a little late the party but this is a great post. Considering 95% of my blog visitors find me through searching for "free cross stitch charts" on Google and never say a word, (even after spending 47minutes on my blog looking at 17 pages), I really appreciate being given awards, just as I do comments. It means someone noticed my blog and took the time to let me know. That's nice.

Jean said...

I can relate to how important it is to have comments left. Sure it takes time, but the communication makes you feel connected to someone out there. I'm new to blogging and don't belong to any exchanges so I don't get a lot of traffic. I have been making more of an effort to leave comments for people because it's so much fun to get them in return!!

Rachel S said...

Thank you for posting this. I totally agree!