And the winner is …

Journalism has the Pulitzers. Hollywood has the Oscars. Popular music has the Grammys. And young though the endeavor may be, blogging has its own competition, suitably named the Bloggies. Washington Post columnist Leslie Walker wrote a lead up to the already-concluded 2005 competition that included this quote from the founder of the event:

“The point of the Bloggies is to highlight the best blogs around, especially ones that are good but nobody’s heard about,” said Nikolai Nolan, the University of Michigan senior who created the contest in 2000.

But don’t expect to get rich or even famous if you should win a Bloggie. “As for awards, winners mostly get contributions of coupons or $20 from their fellow bloggers,” according to the article, which added that “the affair is more about pride than prizes.”

For beginning bloggers the competition is really about ideas, examples and inspiration. It has 30 categories, which have changed a bit from year to year, but cover many of the basic human interests, such as humor, won in 2005 by Heather Hamilton, a web designer turned blogger who writes under the name of Douce.

There are wide open categories, like best topical blog — someone who blogs about a passion. The 2005 winner here was Bookslut — obviously an edgier view on the literary world than might be found in you family newspaper. Other nominees in the topic category include The Policeman’s Blog, written by a British copper and TreeHugger, which may have began as someone’s personal diary but not describes itself as “a fast-growing web magazine, dedicated to everything that has a modern aesthetic yet is environmentally responsible.” (This may be an instance of a dedicated blog turning into a business, a rare though obviously not impossible occurrence.)

Browsing the bloggies will give you all sorts of ideas. For instance, the best designed site in 2005 was Loobylu, “the personal web site of Claire Robertson … an illustrator and toy maker living and working in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.”

San Francisco Bay Area resident Michael Chu won the 2005 competition for “best food weblog” with his site called Cooking for Engineers. It’s a hoot. Chu posts recipes in an index-card format. A note at the bottom of his screen says he is seeking a patent on the display format. Another instance of an idea, put into a blog, that leads who knows where.

Of course there are entries on politics, technology and other topics central to the Web. Browse the Bloggies for ideas. I did not see a posting yet for the 2006 awards. But when it appears, scan it for what is new and possible. But blog about whatever topic would motivate you to spend many hours each week pouring your thoughts and energy into what may either be a void or your destiny. You’ll never know which unless you try!

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media