Last Friday, many of the Philippines’ most prominent names in online media – read “blogging – came together to honor the men and women who made the waves in the 2009 Philippine blogging scene. The Philippine Blog Awards is one of the most highly anticipated events in the Philippine blogging calendar, and an absolute red-letter day for many Philippine bloggers who take their craft seriously. From all indications, the PBA this year, while certainly not as controversial as previous years, appeared to be the best ceremony in its three-year history so far.
Now thanks to Google Reader, I’m RSS-fed on hundreds of Filipino blogs. I like to lurk, even though I’m not quite sure if my reading a person’s blog entry on my RSS feed reflects in their visits for the day. (I’m inclined to think not.) I’ve been reading people’s thoughts about the awards, and I was struck by how emotional a couple of posts were, on how they didn’t make the finals and should’ve made the finals. (Won’t link to them, and am considering removing the RSS feed; I don’t want to follow people who need that kind of validation.)
Let me tell you something: at the end of the day, the Philippine Blog Awards is a group of people – volunteeers, at the start – who wanted to do something nice for the Philippine blogging community. I’m extremely proud of what that ragtag bunch of people have been able to achieve since then. These kinds of effort should be lauded, not derided. Of course, some people will think it’s political (“The winners are friends of the organizers,” an accusation unproven); I, however, am more inclined to believe that quality will rise above the hullabaloo, and the quality of the winners will speak for itself.
There is a reason why people follow MLQ3: he’s the most astute political blogger of our generation. There is a reason why people follow Cecile Zamora Van Straten: she’s an entertaining fashionista who has a heart for public service. There is a reason why people follow Marocharim, or Elyoo, or Jaemark Tordecilla. The winners are a cut above the rest; there’s something in their blogs that resonates with people. If you want an award – and I think it’d be pretty sad if you’re out to blog specifically to win awards – then make a blog that offers a particular value to a particular target audience.
I’ve been blogging since 2000 (Geocities first, because they didn’t have blog software back in ye olden days of ye Internet, then Envy.nu, then Blogger, then WordPress, then my own hosted site), which makes me a virtual dinosaur in today’s blogging society. I don’t have thousands of people following me. I don’t get tons of comments on every single blog post I put up. I don’t have loyal people RSS-feeding my blog, and I didn’t get a nomination during the 2007 PBA, or the 2008 PBA, or the 2009 PBA. Would it be nice to have gotten nominated? Yes. Am I annoyed that I wasn’t? Of course not. Am I bitter? Of course not. Am I hurting? Of course not. Am I angry? Of course not.
(“Ganns, you can nominate yourself.” “Yes, I know. Yet, surely one of the so many people who follow a person’s blog, must think it’s excellent enough to nominate a person. I’m sorry, I don’t believe in self-nomination.”)
That’s because I’m not blogging to please other people. I’m blogging to please my God and to please me. If my blog happens to be useful or entertaining to other people, then great, what a lovely side benefit. At the end of the day, though, while validation is always a wonderful thing, if one’s motivation to blog is specifically to try and garner accolades and praises for oneself, well, one may end up very, very disappointed. The blogging world doesn’t work like that.
My blog doesn’t provide a particular service or fulfill a particular emotion for people. It’s not funny enough for people to keep coming back for jokes. It’s not political enough to keep people coming back for astute analysis. Yes, a lot of it is about music, but it’s not pop music, it’s Christian music, and mostly American CCM, for which there are other better resources. It’s a typical blog, jack-of-all-blog topics, master of none. And that’s all right with me.
If you didn’t win at the PBA – or just as importantly, didn’t get nominated – please don’t complain about it. It does absolutely nothing for you and your blog other than make you look like a sour-graping loser, and that does nothing for your reputation in the Philippine blogging community. (And believe me, that reputation is oh-so-important if you want to win awards.) Instead, focus on making your blog the best blog you can make it FOR YOURSELF. At least that way, if you know you didn’t please others, at least you were able to please yourself. Your self-worth and self-image should be based on who you are as a whole person, online and offline, and not on whether or not your web journal was recognized by your peers as the best in its field.
(A final side-note: I volunteered at the Philippine Blog Awards last year, and the only job I was really assigned was to keep warm, the seat of plenary speaker Sen. Mar Roxas, who hadn’t arrived on time; when Sen. Roxas arrived, I skedaddled out of there, and spent the rest of the evening cheering on the winners, including Benj. The point is this: methinks you should do your best at whatever you’re doing, whether it’s a job or a blog. People will appreciate you regardless.)