Monday, September 14, 2009

Do we really need to win?

As a.fortis mentioned last week, Guys Lit Wire was nominated and then shortlisted for two categories in Book Blogger Appreciation Week (Best Specialized Blog and Most Altruistic). I've been thinking a lot about this over the past few days and how I feel about popularity and blogging. The thing that concerns me the most here is Most Altruistic Blog. Basically, GLW is competing against other sites for the prize of who has been the kindest to others. Everyone in the short list has donated their time to raise money or collect books (as we did in the Book Fair for Boys) to help those in need. And now we are up for an award for our kindness.

And something about that just seems....well, it seems wrong.

I did not remove GLW from consideration in this award because initially I really was touched that folks thought of us. And honestly, I know that being short listed meant that new readers found our blog by perusing the lists and that is good for us - it certainly helps to spread the word on what we work very hard at here. But still. Do we want an award for doing something that in a perfect world wouldn't need to be done at all? Do any of us need to be recognized for helping kids who have little access to books get some?

Not to get all Spike Lee on you, but do you ever need a prize for doing the right thing?

We might very well win this award, I really don't know. But speaking for me, I don't think in the future I will accept GLW being shortlisted in this category and I like to know what everyone else who contributes here thinks. I prefer that folks just buy the damn books when we run the book fair. We put our time and money where our mouths are - and if everyone else would do the same then changing the world (for these boys anyway) would be easy.

There's an award idea - having everyone vote by purchasing a book for one of the causes supported by the shortlisters. Imagine how awesome that prize would be.


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14 comments:

Maw Books said...

And this is why I told people to vote for you and not me in the shortlist. This kind of attitude is why you are a altruistic blog, whether you get a badge that says it or not. You're right: let's put our money where our mouth is and I'll certainly be supporting of you in the future.

Colleen said...

Thanks Natasha. I guess the point down the line is to publicize the efforts we all make in a bigger way - I know that would be really great for Susan's efforts in Detroit. It's so easy for everyone to vote for blogs that do a good thing...so much cooler though if they participated in making those good things happen.

Maw Books said...

I think BBAW was founded with the purpose of publicizing/celebrating our blogging efforts in the first place. I think that it is helping - before BBAW I had no idea about Susan's efforts. But I do know. And that's always a good thing. Now that I know about them, I can participate more. But I know what you mean . . . rather than saying "job well done," we should be saying, "let me help you get that job done."

Hull.Margaret said...

I think what you are describing about your feelings is humility. However please remember that when you recieve you are giving and when you give you are recieving.. plese don't deny others the gift of giving to you.
Penny

david elzey said...

it's an awkward thing, to be sure. the recognition and attention is nice, but does it have to be a competition? why not just announce that these blogs have been noted for their altruism and leave it at that.

a. fortis said...

I do like David's point--recognition vs. competition. Certainly BBAW is helping some excellent blogs, and their efforts, to be recognized. Whether in this case that ought to stop at the level of the list as opposed to proceeding to a final selection process...it does feel a little weird to select one single winner in this particular category.

Chris said...

You're right in that there's no need for an award and shouldn't have to be an award for charity and kindness, but it doesn't hurt that there is...and you guys certainly deserve it!! I discovered your blog because of your nomination and I'm so glad that I did. I'm a counselor who works mainly with adolescents and children and work mostly with males and I truly love my work. I love to see others doing stuff like this. Puts a big smile on my face :)

Kristopher said...

The recognition is nice, but more importantly, a shortlist of "altruistic blogs" can nudge people to start thinking about how to use their own blogs and various online efforts for the greater good. That's the real value in something like this.

gonovice said...

"Do we want an award for doing something that in a perfect world wouldn't need to be done at all?"

It is a far-from-perfect world. We don't need to win. But the recognition probably helps the cause. Reading IS fundamental.

Colleen said...

Thanks for weighing in everyone - I appreciate the comments. (Still not sure how I feel about this.... :)

Gregory K. said...

Perhaps another question to ask, Colleen, is what purpose is served by withdrawing from a competition that you did not ask to be part of but was "thrust" upon you by those wishing to recognize your good work? The intent of this award is to celebrate, not to diminish. Attention is gained for five worthy blogs, GLW among them. There is no downside in that. Now, it would be unseemly, perhaps, if you were actively campaigning for the award over the others. But no one's been doing that so far as I've seen.

So, again... what is gained for the mission of Guys Lit Wire if you remove yourself from the shortlist in the future? Is anything lost? I don't have the answer, just the questions. :-)

I understand your mixed feelings completely, by the way, and I can answer your title question easily: no, you don't need to win. Still, it isn't about your or the blog's need, in this case, and if this or other awards come GLW's way, I bet you could use the attention to shine a light on many worthy causes as well as GLW itself. Cuz, like, that's who you are and that's what GLW is... hence the nomination in the first place!

Colleen said...

I see what you mean Greg and honestly that has been something I've thought about because no, none of us campaigned for this.

But I just feel icky about that. Does that count? ha! I just feel like what do I do with this? Do I say thank you for thinking of us? It's not a ra ra ra cheer kind of nomination or win. So if you want to recognize the blogs that do generous things then just recognize them - and more importantly tell folks how to support the things we try to do.

I really wish I was going to the conference so I could some more hours picking your brain - it helps a lot!

writerjenn said...

You didn't do the book fair in order to get the award, and accepting the award wouldn't take anything away from the book fair, so why not? Especially if it can bring attention to increase future participation.

Colleen said...

The whole thing boils down to whether or not you should even be awarding people for doing the right thing, writerjenn. That was the source of my conflict on this issue.