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Blogligations: On Breaking the Blog Award Chain

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September 21, 2014 by Paula Reed Nancarrow

I am grateful for any and all attention this blog receives.

Even though on a very essential level I write for myself, for insight, and my blog is a vehicle for moving that process forward and facilitating my story work, I know I have more motivation to blog weekly because my post will get traffic and be read and commented on by others, particularly other writers I respect, colleagues who blog regularly.

After all, nobody wants to work in isolation. Well, almost nobody.

Blogging is a lot like performance storytelling. The audience is practically in the room with you. Sometimes it’s a tough house; sometimes the football game’s on the big screen over the bar and they’re distracted; sometimes what they have to say when you’re finished is not what you had hoped to hear. But when they are paying attention, when they get it, when something you write moves them or brings them to an insight of their own – that’s every bit as satisfying as a round of applause.

My first nomination for a blog award, the Liebster, was initially a thrill.

Nillu Nasser Stelter sent me an email in mid March of this year, asking me if I was willing to accept the nomination. The award involved answering a set of questions provided by the person who last received the award, and then nominating others who were to do the same thing.

Oh, I thought. Like a chain letter.

But I agreed – because I truly was honored, and I liked Nillu, and this is how I was told relationships – and traffic – were built.

For my Liebster post, I decided I would introduce the bloggers I knew through the #MondayBlogs #wwwblogs and #ArchiveDay hashtags on Twitter to the storytellers I knew who blogged, as they were not connected to this community.

It took me a month to get all my storytellers lined up, get their pictures and bios together, and finally respond to Nillu’s questions. Out of the five well-intentioned but very busy storytellers who agreed to answer my questions, I got one actual completed response. It was a great post, but not the series I had intended.

Still, I have no right to complain.

Next came the Writing Process Blog Hop.

Kennedy Hall Lounge  Sock Hop 1957 Courtesy Dakota State University Archives

Courtesy Dakota State University Archives (OK – Wrong Kind of Hop)

This is not exactly an award, but it has a similar “tag, you’re it!” structure. The lovely Teagan Kearney sent me an email and asked me if I would agree to be included. I was to answer 4 questions: What are you working on? How is your work different from others? Why do you write what you write? and How does your writing process work? Then I was supposed to tag four more bloggers.

I told her I’d love to participate, but I had already been nominated for the Liebster award, so I wasn’t sure how soon I could get to it. There was no set time, she said; as soon as I managed would be fine. And she put me in her March post.

My Liebster post was published in April. I have yet to manage.

In June the equally lovely Lisa Reiter tagged me in a separate Writing Process Blog Hop. Lisa is working on a memoir about surviving stage IV cancer, and I have missed her posts over summer vacation, when she’s been quite rightly focusing on family. She too asked me beforehand if I’d be willing to participate. I said I was honored, but I had also been tagged in another Blog Hop – could they perhaps be combined? She didn’t see why not. So I agreed. Which is why I appear in her post.

You will not, however, find a Writing Process Blog Hop post anywhere on my site.

Once my Liebster post was done, I started looking for other writers who had not previously been tagged in a Writing Process Blog Hop.

This was surprisingly time consuming. In the meantime, I needed to stick to my own weekly blog schedule, hold down two part-time jobs that added up to one full time one, and find time to write and perform stories. I finally sent three emails out, got one “yes, after I get back from vacation” and never heard from the other two. Nor did I really have time to follow up on the one, or seek additional prospects.

Meanwhile I was nominated for the Versatile, One Lovely Blogger, and Very Inspirational awards.

Versatile is on the left; Lovely on the Right

Versatile is on the left; Lovely on the Right. Very Inspirational Not Pictured. Flickr Commons.

Often this was announced in a Twitter post or in a comment on my blog. I turned down several; politely, I hope. A couple of times I’ve been too busy at work to respond right away, so I’ve thanked the person, starred the tweet to respond to later, then not gotten back to explain that I would be unable to participate. I had too many blogligations (a word I once thought I had coined, but is apparently in the Urban Dictionary dated 2008. I know this courtesy of Lisa.)

I first saw the “Award Free Blog” badge on Diane Mottl’s blog.

Courtesy J. W. Alden

She explained her own struggle with awards, and linked to another author, J. W. Alden, who had created the badge. Though it’s here for illustration, I’m reluctant to actually use the badge on my own site. Being Freshly Pressed in April was an award of sorts, one that came with no blogligations, just a lot of traffic, comments, and new followers. It seems inconsistent for me to claim to be “award-free” and then pick and choose which awards I accept.

In many ways this post is a draft for an Awards Policy page, to go next to my page on Social Practice. If anyone has seen such a policy elsewhere (the two posts above excepted), I’d appreciate a link in the comments. And if you have any ideas about what should go into an awards policy, I’d like to hear that too.

The fact remains that each and every time I have been nominated for an award I’ve been honored and pleased.

And each nomination has given me a special awareness of and affection for the person (or in one case, persons) who nominated me. In many ways we dance together.

But I have to wonder whether blog awards that depend on tagging others are the best way to grow a community in the social media era.

I try to make the most of memes like #MondayBlogs and #wwwblogs and #ArchiveDay. In this way I am getting to know bloggers new to me, and participating in an online community in a way that can ebb and flow with my offline commitments.

That’s the best I can do right now. Is it enough? What do you think?

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59 thoughts on “Blogligations: On Breaking the Blog Award Chain

  1. Great post, Paula! I hereby nominate you for the Blog Chain Breaker-Uper Award. Just respond to these ten questions…

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  2. Lisa Reiter says:

    Hi Paula

    I am delighted to see this post for a number of reasons and I have about 4 awards in the ‘queue’ that I realise I have no time nor actual desire to ‘pass on’. (And there’s no-one left that I have time to follow that hasn’t already had at least one of them!)

    Like you, I think Liebster was my first award, quickly followed by a couple of others including the writing process one. I had only been blogging for a few months so had no idea the thing was virtually viral and there was no-one left on the planet to ‘tag’. I also thought I’d be churlish and stupid to turn ANYTHING down when I didn’t really understand the blogosphere and having read the blog-advice sites, initially thought this was THE way to get a following!

    As you’ll see from my evolving thinking in my recent 2 postings, I’m trying to get back to the reasons I’m here in the first place and focus on core themes. The support I’ve had – particularly in the early days from other writers, such as yourself was amazing – is still amazing, but my true target readership probably aren’t those who comment and hop all the time. They’re a silent reader popping by for a bit of inspiration with something – I see the traffic to certain posts is HUGE (my chemobrain series for example) – but I have no comments on those to indicate they reach people.

    Taking a break over the summer, I realised comments aren’t always the indicator of a great post, but early on, that feedback, was the only measure I understood. A bit like a bike however, it does feel like the stabilisers can come off and I can attempt to ride this thing without that kind of input now.

    I still love to see my friends on Twitter and from time to time pop by their blogs to see what they’re up to, but if I phoned my best friends every day here at home – that would be truly bizarre! Perhaps it’s time to realise some quality time, occasionally, might be more inspirational and enriching rather than checking in with everyone you ever met nearly every day!

    That’s where I’m at I guess. And I WILL pop by – you have been a lovely, friendly support since the get-go but I don’t expect to see you every week! :)

    With love, Lisa xx

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    • I had a very full day at work yesterday, Lisa, and it was all I could do to keep up with my retweeting, let along responding to comments on this post – from the people I can count on to comment, and from writers I have come to respect, as well as a few new folks whose comments I did not have time to moderate and approve. I did read your posts on goals/gaols (yup – it’s always a both/and rather than an either/or, isn’t it?) and staying organized; have yet to get to the one on the next bite-sized memoir challenge. Despite the fact that the themes have been attractive to me, I’ve stayed away from bite sized memoir, as well as Charli’s Flash Fiction, because the slam stories serve that purpose for me. We all have to figure out how to eat that elephant the Internet, one byte at a time… without having it trample us in the process. [Ugh. Why did we think it was a good idea to eat a live elephant in the first place?] At any rate, I am very much behind you in your resolve to focus on what is important to you, and to complete your own memoir. If you come to the point where you’d like a beta-reader or two from across the pond (I love that phrase), you have my email.

      I am probably one of the few people I know who is not trying to write a book; I have no problem with putting all my creative energy into the blog, and toward story performance. Having said that, I sure wish I knew what “huge traffic” means to people whose work I admire, and what I should be aiming for in terms of growth in page views, etc. I have also noted, however, that the measure for high engagement on blogs (i.e., the more comments the better) has significant drawbacks, and the expectation that bloggers will respond to every comment creates a weird, semi-craven dynamic of its own. I hope to address some of these issues and clarify my expectations for blogging in an online course I have signed up starting October 13 for taught by Patrick Ross, whose work I very much respect. I expect y’all will be hearing about it.

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  3. Terry Tyler says:

    Agree totally. For ages I refused to do any of these things. I’ve only ever done about 4. They’re not awards, they’re indications that you network with other writers a lot. They’re nice, they’re friendly, but I can’t much be arsed with them. I tried not to do the WIP one because I don’t have any interesting answers. Why do you write? Because I’m good at it and it makes me happy. End of. I don’t want to start spouting a load of creative-wannabe bullshit.

    I do all this stuff (by which I mean blogs, Twitter, etc) as a background to what I’m really here for, which is writing my books. And I am not going to stop editing the WIP that I love in order to answer a load of questions about it, email lots of other writers asking if I can tag them, make sure the blog post looks pretty and eye-catching with lots of pictures, etc.

    Lisa’s right – feedback (and the amount of views!) is what indicates that your blog is successful. Unless you have one of those ‘gone viral’ blogs, most of the comments are usually from people you already ‘know’ online anyway.

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    • “I can’t much be arsed with them.” Now that’s an expression I have never heard before. My cultural competence is increasing significantly with blogging. ;-)

      I’m still trying to figure out the right amount of effort to put into a blog that is an end in itself. I do know that I want more control over my calendar and the continuity of themes I address than responding to awards and blog hops allow.

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      • Lisa Reiter says:

        “Can’t be arsed” part of the British vernacular – unless you’re a bit posher than we clearly are and maybe older than 60! Love it! :D

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      • Definitely not posher. Can’t be arsed about being posh at all. ;-)

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      • Terry Tyler says:

        ha ha ha! Thanks, Paula, for my first out loud laugh of the day! Being a middle aged middle class 55 year old, it amuses me greatly to sometimes speak in the language of the 15 year old urban schoolboy ;D

        I have just been reading a terrific book by Rayne Hall about the things writers do in the hope that it will sell their books, that are a waste of time. Endless stuff like blog hopping was one of them. :D

        (ps, thank you, Lisa!)

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      • Happy to be of service. :-) Most of my opinions about the value of social media engagement and the effect of the Internet on the arts, both pro and con, have been shaped by Jaron Lanier’s manifesto You Are Not a Gadget. But it is four years old now, which in cybertime is a century. Please share the title of said book. Although I’m not trying to sell my writing at this point, I’m very interesting in hearing about what works and what doesn’t in terms of developing audience. Like I said, I write for insight, but if I had the discipline to write solely for that purpose, I probably would have found the secret of the universe by now, ascended to heaven, and left nothing behind but a Buddha smile, like that lovely Cheshire cat.

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  4. latasun says:

    I loved this article. I love receiving the nomintions, but the rest of it about answering questions with smart answers, then again nominating people is tedious. like you, I am also occupied with work and family full time. I write during the time I squeeze out during daily chores. I just hope i dont sound too rude when i decline them awards.

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    • Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, Latasan. One of the reasons I want to post a policy on my blog is that it will be more neutral, and well thought out, rather than a hurried response. Then if people nominate me for things I don’t have time for, I can thank them and refer them to the policy, and it is my hope they won’t take it amiss or personally.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Am with you too, despite being the first person who nominated you for one! Like you I am in two minds about them. I take part if I can find the time but awards are time consuming and I’m not sure how interested readers are in them. The hashtag communities like MondayBlogs and www are a great way to support other authors and better than the awards.

    As a beginner, until you get more confident about online etiquette, it can be hard to work out whether a no thanks will be taken badly, but I think it is enough to say thank you, I appreciate you thinking of me but I can’t right now.

    As usual, your thoughts expressed with nuance, and always a pleasure to stop by, dancing jigs, breaking blog chains, I’ll be here regardless ;)

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    • That’s also a key point, Nillu. “I’m not sure how interested readers are in them.” One of the things I have noticed is that – at least at present – the posts I do that profile other bloggers or storytellers get considerably less traffic than the others. I thought there would be a built-in audience for the slam interviews, for example, and there was. But it’s very small.

      The chief audience for hops and award nominations really seems to be the people being tagged. And in truth, I have not seen a lot of traffic going out from the links I provide to other people’s sites, which is supposed to be part of the point for them. What is supposed to be a win-win seems, after all, a lot of work for diminished returns all around.

      Still, in blogging as well as storytelling, you meet friends along the way as you are learning the ropes that are well worth having. And so it goes. Thanks for teaching me the two-step.

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  6. I think I feel the same way. I did participate in the Writing Process Blog Hop, but that’s the only one so far, although I have been currently nominated for a Lovely Blog award. Like you, I’m extremely grateful to the person that nominated me, but at this point, I don’t think I’ll be participating. I don’t participate in any tagging meme-type posts on FB. My mind is just never in the right frame of mind for it, I never know who to tag, and I never seem to find the time.

    I already follow several blogs, and participate in the #MondayBlogs and other similar hashtag blog networking things over at Twitter, RT friend’s tweets, and for now, that’s going to have to be enough. :)

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Gisele. I’ve enjoyed interacting with you on Twitter, my social media drug of choice. I’m still trying to determine the degree to which I am using Twitter, or Twitter is using me. I’m never in the right mind for the tagging posts on Facebook. I’m seldom in the right mind for Facebook, period.

      One of my jobs for the last few years has been in public media, where there is a big push to modernize, become more interactive, and engage the audience, rather than just expecting them to listen. Grant proposals for media are requiring more and more “meaningful” measures of that engagement, rather than just “XXXX” liked our story on Facebook. I hear a lot of jargon about this every day that sounds rather like the Emperor and his new clothes.

      I don’t have the same expectations by any means for my personal writing as journalists do for breaking news, but this is my life we’re talking about here, and I want to put my time and efforts where they make the most sense and further my own goals, as well as benefit the community of other creatives which nurture and support me. There is an unfortunate tendency for that latter part, however, to become a solipsitic “mutual appreciation society” that looks like it is nurturing, but is actually just spinning its wheels.

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      • I’ve enjoyed interacting on Twitter with you, too, Paula! And, like you, I’m hardly on FB either. The energy really drains me over there. And yes on the “mutual appreciation society.” So much of this whole thing has become a “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” kind of thing, which is fine, but then there is also a point where it becomes meaningless and empty. That’s why I no longer follow back automatically on Twitter. I’m not interested in having thousands of followers who don’t have a genuine reason for following me in the first place. I mean, really, what is the point?

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  7. Annecdotist says:

    Great post, Paula, and I’m in a similar position: so excited about the Liebster that I dragged it out across three posts, also pleased to get the Versatile Blogger and to showcase my dubious versatility, despite not yet fulfilling my quota of paying its forwards, but only a few months on I’m virtually overwhelmed with awards blog hops. I do fully intend to honour them, but it might have to be the flash fiction version or incorporated into a single post.
    I do like the idea of the Blog Chain Breaker-Upper Award, though!

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    • I like James’ idea, too, Anne, and it’s tempting to make up a badge for one. But again, there are feelings…. In the storytelling community striking the balance between supporting others and developing one’s own work can be difficult, and it probably is that way in every vocation which is both avocation and marketable skill.

      When I am performing in a Fringe Festival, for example, one of the benefits is an Artist’s Pass. You can get into any show for free ten minutes before curtain. This is done to encourage artists to support each other’s work, pack the house, and write reviews that go onto the online web page of each show. The longer you are involved in Fringe, the more other artists you know and you’re all supposed to support each other. Which means you can wear yourself out trying to go to all the shows and write positive reviews. If you’re not careful this can absorb all your time, and you miss the opportunity to see new artists and connect with the out of town talent that comes through.

      Moderation and balance in everything, I suppose. But with me it’s always two steps forward, one step back.

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  8. Gene'O says:

    This is a very thoughtful post. I’ve also struggled to keep up with award nominations, and I’m also sensitive to the fact that nominating someone for an award is asking them to do something.

    My (unwritten) policy at the moment is that when someone nominates me, I try and thank them and link to them in a reasonable amount of time (say, a week). I often do short posts that lend themselves well to adding a thank you, so that’s easy. Whether or not I actually pass the nomination on depends on my schedule and on the award rules. The more work the nomination post requires, the less likely I am to do it.

    But I will say that it’s handy at times to be a little behind on the award posts, because it’s a ready-made posting idea when I need a good post in a pinch. The only awards policies I’ve ever seen have been on award-free blogs. Here’s an example from a blog I follow

    http://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/about/award-policy/

    As for the “is it enough?” question . . . that depends on what your goal for the blog is. If you’re trying to build a large audience as quickly as possible, probably not. But if you have other goals that you’re mostly meeting and are satisfied with your level of traffic & interaction, then probably so.

    Thanks for the #ArchiveDay tip. That’s a new one to me.

    I discovered this post via @Mondayblogs, just so you know :-)

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    • Gene: I always appreciate learning how people discover my posts, thank you. And thanks as well for linking to Trent’s blog. I especially like his award image. As you can see, I’m struggling myself to even keep up with the comments. That’s not entirely correct; I’ve just wanted time to address them thoughtfully as well. And I actually had a fairly detailed response to yours that for some reason became road kill on the information highway when I pushed “reply.” I do like your approach, though for someone who can only post once a week, it probably would not work well. And I do appreciate the advantage of having something to draw on when you need a post “in a pinch” – though I’m not sure how “good” those posts end up being. What I’d prefer is to be able to draw on an already planned but flexible blog calendar in which posts, and topics, build on one another. I’ll be taking an online course in October from Patrick Ross http://artistsroad.wordpress.com/, whose blog has a few awards of its own – not the chain letter kind – and I’m hoping to get some of my questions answered there, or at least develop a better strategy than I have now.

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  9. Charli Mills says:

    Great post and terrific photos to illustrate your points. The pic of the nun with the word ‘shame’ is similar to how I feel about my as-of-yet-unanswered-award-blogligations: guilt. Award icons languish in my to-do pile. The best writers/bloggers in my world are the Rough Writers. It was through the gifting of awards that I thought I’d rather do something meaningful to ‘reward’ the writers who take the time to practice and discuss craft with me on my blog. There’s no blogligations, just recognition that these are the sharp-shooters in the flash fiction writing arena. I’m building a page that links to their blogs and books and they are my priority for blog post sharing on #MondayBlogs. It creates a dynamic that’s more authentic–kind of like getting a letter from a friend without having to ship off the spouse. I’m always grateful for anyone who thinks my blog deserves a flower, heart or trophy icon, but I’m more grateful for the bloggers willing to share craft and hone skills in a literary community, rather than a cheesy read-mine-and-I’ll-read-yours consortium. I’m glad you posted your thoughts in a respectful and thoughtful manner. We’re all trying to figure out how to make our voices heard and kindness–giving, accepting or even politely declining–goes a long ways and really, the heart of the awards is one person demonstrating kindness to another. Until it grows to become obligation. That’s when it feels uncomfortable. It’s also uncomfortable to pass the award on to a blog that you really do enjoy only to get bit by a blogger with an attitude against awards. If you don’t like ’em to the point that you would be rude to someone (especially a new kid on the block) then definitely post so on your site.

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    • Thanks, Charli. Yes, even though Terry doesn’t like spending time finding cute pictures for posts, and even though I sometimes don’t like the obsessive way I look for them, I find I enjoy the results. Although I still remain unsure sometimes as to whether they disrupt the reading or enhance it. I do know it’s an advantage on Twitter to have pictures attached to a post. I often used to wonder why one #MondayBlogs blogger (Drew Chial) would post pictures as a teaser for his blog posts – it seemed a little too much drama to me. But when you are using a post scheduler, it is far better to have a picture link that is native to Twitter than one that has to be clicked on to be seen. So I’ve taken to posting my pictures beforehand as well – just not as lead-ins to the post.

      We tend to forget that people were blogging before Facebook and Twitter, and that back in that ancient blogosphere, awards were one of the only ways to get to know one another. The other way was blogrolls, which have mostly gone out of favor now. Your page is something like that. The other thing the blogosphere had at its disposal were writing challenges like A to Z – which many people still enjoy.

      My issue is always trying to figure out how to balance the opportunities for practice that are fragmentary with my desire to make sense of life – my life – with a body of work that has coherence and progression, and makes sense to others too.

      I agree that the “read mine and I’ll read yours” agreement has the smell of camembert about it. But it’s hard to avoid that dynamic and also stay open to discovering new voices. And since I remain hopeful that mine is a voice someone will be glad to discover, and I know no other place besides social media to do that, I continue to try to engage new people on Twitter. Inevitably I end up retweeting more than I can possibly read, so the end result is that I try to read as many of the people who retweet my own posts in a week as I can. It’s not ideal, but I haven’t figured out any better way to engage others.

      I agree about the kindness, too. What I do find is that the desire to be kind often has very little to do with the pursuit of craft and art. And also sometimes smells like cheese. In all communities of practice, there is this tension. The question, I suppose, is how to make that tension a productive one that focuses energy, rather than an enervating one that dissipates it.

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      • Charli Mills says:

        That’s a good tip about photos native to Twitter. I’m biased as a visual person, but I do think the photos enhance the post. According to studies, those with “modern attention spans” need the photos to stay engaged. And statistics show that links with photos are more likely to be read.

        I didn’t think about early bloggers. I still remember the presentation I gave my management team years ago about social media and it was so new! Now it’s so pervasive! Thank you for that background on the awards and activities. Now that the digital world seems so over-saturated, the different challenge is how to stand out in a school of sardines. Ever evolving, this online space.

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      • The Social Media Sardine Tin. Now that’s a small, small world. ;-)

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  10. Hi Paula,

    I would love to hear a bit more of your take of the other two hashtags you use. #wwwblogs and #ArchiveDay

    I also share the sentiment – isn’t it nice when someone reads what I write? I am not an author or novelist, per se, but even a blog post requires some crafting and writing skill. I enjoy the idea of improving my writing from different angles.

    Of course, we know one another through #MondayBlogs, so I am familiar with how that works. Do the other two hashtags have the same people involved?

    Thanks!

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    • Terry Tyler says:

      Can I leap in here, a bit? All the three hashtags you mentioned are open to anyone. On a site as big as Twitter, they will never work as they should; people abuse the Monday one because it’s so popular, by tagging promotions in it, and the problem I’ve found with #www and #Archive is that so many people just use the hashtag without RTing others or looking at blog posts. Happily, though, they do (I find) gets one’s blog more widely known. If I post an article over the weekend I will get about 200 views for it. After I’ve posted it on Monday, it usually has about 400 more, and continues to be viewed all week.

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      • Wow. Finally I finally have metric to aim for. ;-) Terry’s providing good info here, Leslie. There is some overlap in the audience you reach for #MondayBlogs and #wwwblogs, and actually I’ve been trying to introduce more women to #wwwblogs, as well as #ArchiveDay. (I link to guidelines for all three in the post.) #wwwblogs began in the US, and though there is someone in Spain connected with the administration, the heaviest traffic has been on US time, Eastern Standard. So I’ve been particularly trying to push the boundaries on that by getting more people involved round the clock. #ArchiveDay, on the other hand, has been primarily a UK thing, and mostly parent bloggers. I’ve been trying to get more literary types involved, and more folks from the States, but at present it doesn’t run into the evening in the US; it pretty much wraps up by 6:00 p.m. EST. It’s all been a learning curve for me, but because I’m not trying to sell books, I have some leeway on that score. On the other hand, I do have to write grants. And right now I’d better get back to it. More response to comments later.

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    • Did my response to Terry’s reply answer your question, Leslie? I’m not sure if you would have been directly notified that it was there…

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      • Both hashtags sound nice… And then the question becomes, where is the time? Working a full time and demanding healthcare job, sometimes (often) doesn’t leave much time.

        As for the photos, I think they are crucial to a post, specifically, so it can be pinned. You can see in the link I’m providing, that I pin some blog posts, so I can refer to the post or to the author.

        (In fact, you’ll see this post pinned there.)

        Sometimes, when there is no image, or one that is far too small, I hunt one down to use for the pin. It has to have an image to be pinned.

        Thanks for the info; an informative post, food for thought.

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  11. lorilschafer says:

    Speaking as someone who has been tagged for several of these of late, I can honestly say, Paula, that the people who nominated you for the awards you never passed on were probably so relieved to have found someone to tag that they probably didn’t care that you never followed up on it. I was actually most happy with the One Lovely Blog nomination I received from Roz and Patty Writes because it had the very polite notation “If you want to play” appended to it. These awards can be nice ways to share information about ourselves as well as pass the honors on to someone else, but not when it turns into a burden. Let the people who want to play, play, and let’s permit those who don’t to step graciously aside.

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    • I agree, Lori. Though it did amuse me once that someone nominated me for an award on a post I re-blogged. The first – and last – time I re-blogged anything. I know it’s a popular thing to do on Tumblr, and the principle is similar to retweeting. It wasn’t just because the person was in such a hurry to nominate someone that they mistook a re-blogged post for an original one. But this was a photography post, full of lovely spring pictures that someone else had taken, and when I reblogged it, all those posts ended up in my media gallery, as if they were my own. Most of my pictures are public domain, and the few personal ones I don’t mind sharing, but if I were doing a photography blog, I think I’d find that disturbing.

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  12. You’ve clearly hit a nerve here, Paula, and it seems for many writers/bloggers the task of fulfilling the award obligations can be onerous, particularly when it comes to searching for others who’ve not already received a nomination for the award in question.
    Having received a few nominations, I’m with Lori – let those who want to play, do so (as you’ve expressed, it is a compliment, albeit with strings), and a gracious refusal shouldn’t offend.
    Re blogligations – a word that doesn’t roll off the tongue too smoothly – indicative of the tasks involved?

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    • The word doesn’t roll off the tongue smoothly, does it, Teagan? And the original definition I saw from the Urban Dictionary refers only to the obligation to post regularly – presumably whether or not you have anything to say. Although that’s hardly an invention of blogging. “A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not,” Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, 1749.

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  13. […] here. Blog hops and awards can be time-consuming as Paula Reed Nancarrow discussed in her excellent post this week, so ladies don’t feel pressured to pick up the baton if you can’t manage it. Look […]

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  14. Tempest Rose says:

    I have an awards policy, which I made shortly after I got 4 awards in one day and just couldn’t handle it anymore. Like you, at first I was honored, and loved to pass it on. But it just got to be too much. (However, I’m shallow so I still accept awards I haven’t yet received: http://nonsenseshenanigans.com/award-policy/ )

    I do think it’s a great way to network, but all the “musts” are, in my opinion, overwhelming and rude. I always made it a point to tell people there was no pressure to participate. I also think being asked to nominate so many other bloggers (15 for some!) makes it less about the blogs you really really like, and more about just giving everyone a chance to get one. I admit I just started nominating people I hadn’t nominated before towards the end.

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    • Wow. You do have the repeat nominations, don’t you? ;-) I don’t think it’s shallow to like or accept awards. When I was Freshly Pressed, for the longer version of Puzzles, it was terrific. And there are other awards that lead to really good things, and carry minimal blogligations. I am very glad I wrote the post; it’s been preying on my mind for some time, and it was good to realize that others were also struggling with the issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. […] too. And to some degree that Venn diagram overlaps. As the discussion on last week’s “Blogligations” post on chain letter blog awards confirmed, we all like to be read by colleagues we […]

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  16. First I am once again in awe of your clever visuals that illustrate your clearly heartfelt piece (that you’ve managed to pull off without whining about the required blog-hopping that goes on to gain an audience). The typewriter tap dance ought to be required viewing for the generation who have missed the typing era.

    Personally I am turned off by blogs that proudly show off various contrived awards, as most seem hokey and amateurish. Of the many ways to spend time away from writing and creating as we seek an audience for our blogs, fulfilling the award obligations seems nonproductive–unless you’re doing it just because you enjoy the discovery. The first “award” that was bestowed on me took me down that path, and wasn’t much welcomed by those I passed it along to, after much patient research and blogging.

    My time is better spent, and I feel better about myself, when my effort goes into writing the best piece I can write, and trying to find an audience who resonates with my work, not my so-called blogging awards.

    Hope you decide to resist them too, and focus instead on the fantastic connections that come from #MondayBlogs, #wwwblogs and #ArchiveDay, all of which I’m indebted to you for promoting. There’s your award–the reward of that!

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    • Aww Jann. Thanks. I have noticed that people who have been blogging a long time, with platforms that show their age, often have a lot of reciprocal awards on their site. Now we have other ways to assess the interactive reach and value of a blog, but before, this was it. It’s all a learning process. And figuring out the best way to spend time doing what feeds the spirit (while also paying the bills) is, in the end, what it’s all about.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’ve made a good point about the age of the blogs. But that said, all blogs can use a refresh at some point. Your YouTube clip really inspired me, btw, and you’ll see the results in my post tomorrow. I’m especially pleased about a poster I created in Canva to accompany the post; it’s a great site, but my first time really using it for pure design. Thanks again, Paula, nice to make your virtual acquaintance.

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      • Thanks, Jann. I know zippo about Canva, so I’ll be interested in checking that out. Virtually yours, etc., etc. ;-)

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  17. Paula, reading through all of the comments and your replies has been an education in itself, and has given me leads to even more intelligent bloggers to follow up. I’d like to add a postscript to my first comments: BRING ON THE FRESHLY PRESSED AWARD!! I’ll take it! That’s more like getting the Oscar of blogging–judgment by many of your peers and often even deserved, IMHO, though not always. Whenever I’m chatting online with WP tech support, I always throw in a final question: “How do you get Freshly Pressed?” 😏

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    • It seems to me that I have been seeing fewer articles being Freshly Pressed over the past few months, and I am wondering if that is a staffing issue more than anything else. For awhile I was seeing very old posts, not fresh ones at all, being highlighted. I know they have editors that review things, but there is also some connection to this company Automatic, which seems to be growing faster than they can hire new people. Me, I just seemed to get lucky: one of the editors was dealing with Alzheimers in her family, and was moved by a piece I wrote.

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  18. Jan Ryder says:

    Enjoyed this post, Paula. Pleased to see that other commenters have also gone down the blog-chain-busting route. I started to decline awards (graciously, of course) about four offers ago. I like the friendly blogging communities on #Mondayblogs #wwwblogs and #ArchiveDay (though I’ve been absent from posting there for some time). As Terry said above, Twitter and blogging are the background to what I want to do most – writing novels. Sadly, I let social media take over my time for fifteen months after my first book was published (did someone mention the spinning of wheels?). Now I put it firmly in the background. Writing comes first.

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  19. […] my post “Blogligations,” in which I expressed discomfort with blog awards, I scoured the internet for blog award […]

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  20. Fantastic summation. I did one, which I think I nominated you for. I don’t think I really understood when I started. Perfect answers to my hitherto unexpressed discomforts. :)

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    • I think yours was one I politely (I hope) declined. TheBlogCoach is right – they can be fun if you have the time. And it’s nice to feel like part of a club. But I feel like the hashtag memes do that well enough. Perhaps even a little too well. If you look at my post from this week, “10 Reasons to Just Say No to Blog Awards,” you will see that many other people have also expressed such discomforts.

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  21. […] His blog has won a few awards of its own – not chain letter awards, like I’ve discussed in one or two recent posts, but awards like the 100 Best Websites for Writers award for 2014; Top Ten […]

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  22. […] posts on these awards and other time-distractions for writers. Paula Reed Nancarrow addresses, Blogligations: Breaking the Blog Award Chain and offers 10 Ways to Just Say No to Blog Awards. Memoirist, Lisa Reiter, posts about putting more […]

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  23. My, I’m I glad I came upon this post? I got here from your post about 10 ways to say no to blog awards, which I saw in your tweet a little while ago. There are some very important things, I think, is vital to learn about blogging and this is definitely one of them. I must say that I’ve tried not to, ‘stretch my neck’ when I’ve read sentences about one blogger nominating another for a blog award, or read about a blog being an award winning blog, or seen award badges on blog.

    I perceived that there were different degrees of blogging awards and I’m so glad that I now understand a bit about the mechanism of the ones that require you to nominate others as part of the criteria to get yours. From reading your post, I must say that this tagging awards do not sound appealing to me; though I must admit as a new blogger, that I would have been supper chuffed if I had previously been nominated for one due to my lack of understanding about how it worked. I’d like to find out more about them and reflect on their purpose more.

    Thanks for sharing some of your experience of some of the blogging awards that have come your way, it’s an insight I really appreciate at this early stage of my blogging.

    I look forward to reading more from you.

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  24. […] of: I wrote about it. I put a stop (mostly) to award nominations by writing a post called “Blogligations,” and a follow-up, “10 Ways to Just Say No to Blog Awards.” I also added an […]

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