I so love this motivational poster for painfully true this is.
I think that any form of competition or event involving a group of opinionated bloggers (or any group with opinions) tends to have a set of critics stating that it is elitist. Anyone can go into making an event with the best intentions, yet there will be dissidents who will criticize/troll with various elements of truth. I have to state that all such competitions, such as the Aniblog tournament, are inherently circle-jerking in nature simply because it will always end up to be a popularity contest at the end. There is no point to argue whether it is or not, because awards are meant to reward the best.
Nonetheless, we should also examine the externalities that result from this event created by bloggers. As much as it is fashionable to slam events like this, let us also look and speculate possible positive externalities that can benefit bloggers (or even readers) on the whole. I will not try to answer for everyone, because I can’t. I do not know everyone or even know a good number of bloggers. However, I am speaking on how the event has possibly benefited me and what I expect to benefit others. So, take all this with a nice pinch of salt.
As usual, like every single editorial, I will define externality to those that do not have an economics background.
In economics, an externality (or transaction spillover) is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices, incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit. A benefit in this case is called a positive externality or external benefit
An externality, used in a more liberal way, simply means a cost or benefit that is not aimed by the tournament itself. If you see the tournament as a good, its aim is to provide a competition among blogs. The externalities, in this case, are the benefits that are “spilled over” as a direct action of this competition, or benefiting a third party that is not directly involved.
A review of one’s practices
I have to say that the first benefit of the tournament I reaped is perhaps the hastened improvements of the blog. Through Josh’s review of the blog, I realize some of the things that have to be fixed on the blog, and took into heart the comments made by others in the Aniblog as well. I think it is always good to hear from others on how you can improve, despite the fact that blogging in essence is simply a communication outlet that is primarily your views being shared to the world. Well, a small part of this world. Blog reviews tend to happen/occur more frequently with such awards/tournaments around. Such reviews generally also occur when bloggers/readers are engaged to actively source out information on blogs in this tournament and inform their public or other bloggers to make an educated choice (or to cause dorama!).
Of course, there will be some who say the way I write is boring/poor. The point is that I am not saying that I am going to completely change my writing if someone tells me to do so. There is no way in hell that I will do that, and if that means people hate me or do not visit the blog, so be it. However, most people who actually bother to make a proper review on the blog generally provides constructive criticism on various aspects of the blog (design, content, layout, minor flaws) that can be adopted to improve the social interaction between the reader and blogger. In the end, the blog benefits.
Is it aimed by the tournament creators to provide such a benefit? I presume not.
Facilitation of connections between blogs
I am not saying about the sudden links that allows for a sudden surge in hits by a blog, and that it disappears after a while. What I am trying to derive is the opportunity for a blog participating in such an event to be recognized, or perhaps more likely to explore other blogs in which an exchange of ideas, links and traffic can be achieved. It is through the event that I realize the existence of 2D Teleidoscope (despite the fact that I somehow have his blog in the blogroll, probably during my absence) and asked for an exchange of links on his blogroll. That would not have been possible if I didn’t read the comments on the Aniblog tournament and realize the wonderful posts from 2DT.
I am quite sure that many will come back to me and say, “So what? It’s just a bit of traffic after all.” or “the big blogs don’t do that.” or “i didn’t find that through the event.” My answer back to these comments is that every little bit helps when a blogger is simply starting off. The big blogs are still people, and they will always be open to a bloglink when you ask, and they do bring in some readers every month. I am not saying this is a panacea to all troubles in blogging, simply an avenue for the chance to do so.
It’s a boring existence when you write for a while without any response from anyone. A blog is a public domain that is aimed to elicit responses from commentators, not an information guide/site for people to read and go off. As such, unless the blog is of a private nature, the whole point of a blog is for people to read and comment. Let’s not kid ourselves when we say we don’t care whether we are read or not. We do, just to a different extent for every other blogger. If not, the Random Curiosity elite circle-jerking argument would never have surfaced IN THE FIRST PLACE.
The human attraction to controversy
I will be the first to shamelessly admit that I enjoy reading controversies. I mean, it is really fun to hear drama on the Internet, and it makes me laugh at the weird things that can happen. AstroNerdBoy’s controversy, the controversy I accidentally stirred up (which elicited a Not again post), the Blogging-bad-anime-since-2006 Kurogane/Troll Jinx/Gayfag Lolikit critique of the tournament are all fun posts that provides issues for us bloggers to have fun, merry and get angry on. Stirring up trouble is what some of us bloggers like to do. Not me, of course, but I still like to read drama when I see one.
Such events, be it good or bad, creates an event to unite (by critiquing or supporting) bloggers and readers alike. In that more loose way of looking at it, it still benefits us because a drama a day keeps the bored silliness in us away.
I am not saying that the aniblog tournament is the greatest thing ever. It has quite a few fundamental flaws, but this post is not about the bad things. It’s to show that there are always benefits that we never take note that are not directly caused by the tournament. Let’s try to criticize and fix the bad things in the current system, acknowledge the good things and provide just a little bit of support to the people who bothered to even do anything like that.
If you are not interested and create some discouraging things, it’s all good because it provides promotional advertising to the event. If you are interested and write some nice things, it’s all good because it also provides promotional advertising. All in all, this is a last message from me to the developers: If you see everything as a form of advertising to the event, it might just feel a little better. In addition, if 10% of whatever you did works, be glad because most of the time, it is always a royal screw up.