April 07, 2009
On Blogging: A Word From the South Africans
My buddy Nic, who was on the South African blogging expedition with us last December is listed as the first runner-up although they did win for best group blog. Matthew Buckland who also joined us for part of the tour is included in the runner-up list as well.
Interestingly enough, there have been a few debates raging since the ceremony on Friday night. including disappointment from one of the judges.
2oceansvibe won in 6 categories and although she was a judge, votes were weighted in favor of public votes. According to the rules, that means that ‘in the voting phase the vote weighting will be 30% judges and 70% public’ whereas in the nomination phase it is ‘50% judges 50% public.’
It sounds like she is disappointed with the voice of South Africans, in other words, where they spend their time and what they think about. She says, "I realise that there is a pretty large audience for tits, ass, cars, rugby and surfing, but the fact that this is the blog that we hold up to the world as our national pride and joy makes me want to hurl."
She encourages the need to distinguish between popular voted blogs and then get the judges together to discuss their choice of winners that best reflects where South Africa is right now and where it is heading. Of course, that model is the old media model where two men decide which movie gets a two thumbs up or three book reviewers can influence whether a book makes it to the NY Times Bestseller List or not.
She talks about brand and the power of brand, in this case, something that stands for quality in the way that perhaps the Oscars do here. Her take: if the blog awards brand doesn’t have any meaning, any vision, any unique take on the world of blogging, then - 'it becomes just another popularity contest.'
"The masses decide" is where its heading though - no more judges, very few editors (who can afford them now in the new Google economy where everything is expected for free), and less calling for experts, although we'll return to experts soon enough as quality goes down. We now live in a Digg and Yelp society where hopefully over time, quality will rise to the top and the unauthentic voices and players will drop to the bottom.
The upside: more feedback and discovery than anytime in history. The downside: too much clutter and noise until the next genius brings out advanced filters that make that online discovery process even more efficient, more compelling and more fun.
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Hey Renee -- thanks for the mention :-)
I'm undecided about the reader vs judges weightings. I see the arguments on both sides... the reader rating may not nec produce the quality blog or a new blog on the block? But on the other hand, who is anyone to argue with the will of the people?
Also how do you measure influence and quality. It's not necessarily about volume, but about appealing to elites with influence?
Posted by: Matt | Apr 9, 2009 2:11:39 AM
Agreed Matt, this is the argument and pros of a service like Digg, which is great when used the way its designed to be used, not so great when it gets abused and people try to 'work' the system to their advantage.
Clearly benefits to both. It's like throwing a novel on the web and having everyone vote whether they love it or not without any editorial comment. The masses are now setting the standards for what we honor and respect, not the experts.
Posted by: Renee Blodgett | Apr 9, 2009 2:58:16 PM