What we can learn from Blogging Awards

The 2011 Ninjamatics Weblog Awards were announced yesterday. I had accidentally found out about these through a random Twitter message. The goal of these awards is:

What?
The Canadian Weblog Awards promote good weblogs of all genres from across Canada year round through regular interviews, articles, and the nomination, judging, and an award process that culminates with the announcement of the top three weblogs in each category on January 1st. The Canadian Weblog Awards are about quality not popularity, so there is no public vote. Each weblog is judged by a volunteer jury against a set of criteria.

When I first investigated this, I was surprised that there was no category in Education. At the time, I recall a message from @Schmutzie that education wasn’t included and she explained why. I can’t recall the details but she did reflect further and created the category. I was very pleased and so added nominated some of my favourites. At the same time, someone was kind enough to nominate this blog and I found out yesterday:

“If you are getting this email, your weblog was nominated in the Ninjamatics’ 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards over the last year. It has made it through two rounds of judging by our jury using our ten criteria to come to this:

Your weblog is a winner in the Ninjamatics’ 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards!”

Cool.

We’re invited to grab a badge – the internet is all about badges, so here goes.

So, there we go.  Hmmmm.  The first one kind of looks like an old-style Toronto Maple Leaf logo!

Now, I don’t think anyone blogs for awards. I don’t think that anyone feels that they blog without being influenced either. It’s the interaction and feedback that you get from visitors to the blog and their comments on the blog and other Social Media that makes it worthwhile. After all, what’s the point of blogging if nobody reads it or interacts with it?

But, there are a few things in the bigger picture that I’ve learned from this.

1)  There are some really good Canadian Blogs. I think many of us get locked into reading just one particular genre. What Ninjamatics has done for me is expand my horizons in what I read. Just look at the categories. It’s so cool that they are also in both official languages.

Best Weblog About Activism & Social Justice / Activisme et la justice sociale • Art & Photography/ Art et photographie • Arts & Culture / Arts et culture • Best Designed / Meilleur design • Best New Weblog / Meilleur nouveau blogue • Best Written / Meilleurs textes • Business & Career / Affaires et carrières • Comics / Bande dessinée • Crafting / Artisanat • Disability • Education / Education • Ex-Pat / Expatriés • Family & Parenting / Famille et enfants • Fashion, Style & Design / Mode, style et design • Feminist / Féminisme • Food & Drink / Cuisine et breuvages • French Language / En français • General Interest / Intérêt général • Group Weblog / Blogue collectif • Health & Wellness /Santé et bien-être • Humour / Humour • LGBTQ / GLBTQ • Life / Mode de vie • Lifetime Achievement / Prix d’excellence pour l’ensemble de son œuvre • Media & Journalism / Médias et journalisme • Nature & Gardening / Nature et jardinage • Placeblog / Placeblogue • Podcast & Vlog /Podcast et vlog • Political / Politique • Pop Culture & Entertainment / Pop culture et spectacles •Religion, Spirituality & Philosophy / Religion, spiritualité et philosophie • Science, Technology & the Internet / Science, technologie et Internet • Sports, Fitness & Recreation / Sports, condition physique et loisirs • Travel / Voyage • Writing & Literature / Écriture et littérature

2)  Along with the categories comes the realization that there are a lot of very talented people doing online writing. For every blog author, there are reasons for why they do it. I would suspect that no two have the same reasons.

3)  Finally, and it’s the educator in me that is impressed with this. The results are determined objectively. There’s no voting where you can pick and plump your friends. Instead, there is a set of criteria that the jury uses in its determination. It’s an area that I know that people have difficulty when students blog. How are they to be evaluated. In this case, Ninjamatics has laid out its criteria here.

Design

  • Usability and accessibility — Is the website user-friendly and easy to navigate for people of all abilities?
  • Functionality — Do all of its components function properly?
  • Interactivity — Are a comments section and author contact information available? Are its interactive components (including comments, audio, video, etc.) effective and functional?
  • Aesthetics — Is the website pleasing to look at? Is its design original?

Content

  • Originality — Is the content original and creatively expressed?
  • Intelligibility and clarity — Is the content well-written? Are the content’s messages clearly and effectively delivered?
  • Currency — Is the content timely? Is the weblog updated on a regular basis?
  • Transparency and authenticity — Is the author’s purpose and realness both trusted and apparent?
  • Attention to detail — Has the content been edited for spelling and grammatical errors? Is the content arranged for ease of consumption?
  • Engagingness — Is the content interesting? Does it contain broad appeal within its genre?

As you can see, considerable thought has gone into the design of the evaluation. There’s lots, maybe even too much, but there’s a great deal of takeaway from the criteria to think about. The only thing that’s missing is feedback on the evaluation so that we could improve on our efforts.

I would encourage you to wander around and take a look at the blogs that have been identified. There’s some really good stuff there that make for interesting reading and maybe you’ll find something new to follow.

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5 Replies to “What we can learn from Blogging Awards”

  1. Congratulation, Doug. Well deserved! And as usual, I’ve benefited from reading your blog. You’ve provided a more detailed way to evaluate my students’ blogs (using yours as a model:), and more interesting reads to follow. Thank-you.

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  2. Thanks, Heather and Patti. The whole point of the blog was to take us to the criteria that they use for the evaluation. I really like what they’ve done and I think that it may well be worth the time to see what a formula evaluation form might look like and will it help promote the use of blogging in the classroom.

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  3. I like the idea of juried awards. While hoghly popular blogs are usually very good by objective measure the use of a popular vote means that from time to time great but little known blogs may be over looked. Bringing those blogs to the popular readership is a valuable service to the greater community.

    Like

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