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On the Geography of the Bloggies…

Soon it will be time for the annual Bloggies – the weblog equivalent of the Oscars (voted for by the community that makes them, heavily slanted towards blockbuster-sites that get bums on seats, vaguely ridiculous and highly entertaining). The best mock fights are always around the Best Poof category (which I won once a long, long time ago), particularly when Sparky or Ernie are in the game. This year – however – I will be heavily promoting Trash Addict for that particular dubious honour.

Anyway, the standard debate around categories will start emerging shortly, so I just thought I’d get my thoughts in on the localisation issues quickly and early and see what people thought. Currently they’re organised roughly like this:

  • Best Asian
  • Best American
  • Best Antipodean (Australia and New Zealand)
  • Best Canadian
  • Best European / African
  • Best Latin American

There seem to be a few problems with his grouping to me – firstly there’s no category for the Middle East, and I think this year that’s going to be a more obvious omission than ever given Salam Pax and all the webloggers around Iraq and Israel. Secondly, having separate categories for Antipodean, Canadian and American weblogs, but not one for British/Irish ones seems rather random considering that both Canada and Australia/NZ have much smaller populations in general and smaller weblogging communities in particular than the UK and Ireland. And finally, the grouping of Europe with Africa seems to make the possibility of Africa weblogs becoming seen rather unlikely. So here’s my proposed reworking:

  • Best American or Canadian
  • Best British or Irish
  • Best Australian or New Zealand
  • Best African
  • Best Asian / Far Eastern
  • Best European (non UK/Ireland)
  • Best Latin American
  • Best Middle Eastern

It’s two more categories than last year, but it seems more convincing to me. Any thoughts / contributions / suggestions / improvements / comments?

21 replies on “On the Geography of the Bloggies…”

Splitting up Europe and Africa is an improvement.
However, there are still problems. If the categories are to be based on population size, then I don’t quite see the reason why you want to ignore Germany? Or France?
Or Japan? India?
And where did South America go?
And what does localisation actually mean?
Should the webog of a white U.S. citizen currently residing in Japan and blogging about the local European expat community be categorized as localized in Japan? If yes, then I don’t see what the localization parameter actually means.
I’d much rather have categories according to subject or main focus area. Some of those would be geographically related I suppose. Of course, topics such as Japanese art and Italian politics highlight the difficulty of chosing an appropriate category.
Either way, there should be a worthless weblog award as well. I have a long list of nominees. And that would be a universal category.

Well of course there are lots of topic and identity-politics based categories as well (Best political weblog, Best Topical, Best Humourous, Best Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender etc), so that’s not a huge issue.
I’m not sure it’s supposed to necessarily reflect population density as much as it’s supposed to provide workable categories for a prize that needs a certain amount of (most likely) English-speaking weblogs in an area in order to be effective. It’s not that the French or German weblogs might be under-represented, but simply that (on previous evidence) they’re less likely to enter.
As to whether an Asian weblog is a weblog that is written in Asia, written by an Asian person or written by someone of Asian ethnicity – that’s a rather different question (and you’d have to talk to Nikolai about that). Clearly in the past, these distinctions have been more than a little blurred…

I think you’re more or less spot on, especially with the Middle Eastern observation. I’d probably still let Canada have it’s own category, although not for any particular reason beyond my impression that they seem like very nice people who deserve seperate recognition to the US.

Read your commnet Tom. Well, I agree with most of your points, and I can see how population size isn’t necessarily the best measure. The important thing is, as you say, to get “workable” categories (I still think South America is missing though).
I also realize that English-speaking weblogs are implied in these sorts of things. It’s a practical thing I guess, although I’d love to see the equivalent of a Weblog “Olympics”.
However, I’m sceptical about certain categories. Take Best Gay award for example; does a weblog qualify by being written by a gay person or do you actually have to write about gay life, culture, issuess, etc? And if it’s the latter, would a straight person qualify? And so on.
I don’t know for sure, just raising the questions here.
As for Asian weblogs, I just found this one:
http://www.flyingchair.net/awards.php
After a very quick look, there seem to be some good nominees.

One point; why lump Africa and Asia together, but have a seperate Middle East category? What would be the difference between them? I can see the reasoning, but don’t think it draws clear enough distinctions. After all, what would an Egyptian weblogger count as? Would a Turkish weblogger be European, Asian or Middle Eastern?
Making geographical distinctions when trying to take account of population, politics, density of interest etc. will always going to be problematic.
Maybe there are just too many blogs out there to make a simple geographical comparison an easy decision.

oop. as i’ve been informed, i misread the listings when i made my comment. consider it splumped.
whatever splumping means.
still, i’d be a little splurpled over the british isles/europe distinction, since that’s really a question of language. after all, there are loads of german blogs that i’ve come across. i just can’t read any of them.

If you want to avoid bad feelings in SA, don’t label US blogs as “American blogs”. “North American blogs” is ok, “US blogs” is even better.
Also, let people self-categorize, and let them choose more than 1 category (max 2, and only win in 1). Make it clear that selecting more than 1 category doesn’t increase your chance of winning. That should address most of the issues with this categorization.

I like the idea of self-selecting two categories.
But I also like the idea of geeking out in one direction and dividing the world into eighths along lines of latitude and the equator, such that North America is one octant, South America is one, Western Europe/North Africa is one, Sub-Saharan Africa is one, and Asia is split three or four ways. Hawaii would probably wind up in the same category as Australia and Indonesia, while Russia would sprawl across three octants and China would reach into two. (If there are Chinese weblogs.)
OR geeking out in another way, you could simplify all our lives by running Oceania against Eurasia against Eastasia.

What about the bloggers who live in the Caribbean? there are plenty of them too.
I definately think you should seperate the awards per country.
Some countries might not have any bloggers, but if you give some countries an award for themselves it would only be fair to give one to each and every country. That would solve your problem of trying to “group” them. And then you might find that more international bloggers will take part in your competition. And they might even rewrite some of their blogs into English.
If you need a German speaking judge I could do the German language blogs for you. German is spoken in Germany 🙂 and Austria and also in Switzerland. So as you can see its going to be hard to group them all together.
There are quite a few Russian bloggers out there, and there are also a few Chinese and loads of Japanese, Singaporean and Korean bloggers out there.
My opinion would be to just have the best per country and then maybe a subcategory winner per region. Then I would suggest to just use the normal listing of the continents. If you want to truly get the whole world involved.
Letting people choose the country they want to blog under would be very good. So a, lets say, Chinese immigrant living in the UK may choose to blog under the China listing. Or I might want to blog under the Jamaican listing, even though I live in London, or in the German section as I have tripple nationality.

As Marcus said in a comment above here, we”are very nice people who deserve separate recognition to the U.S.” In fact, as an increasing number of social researchers are showing, we are vastly different than our continental partners. Indeed, our retiring prime minister — he’s done next week after winning three consecutive majorities — quipped about relaxing marijuana laws here so he could kick back and light up a spliff upon retiring. Can you see any American politician saying something like that?
So, no, please, don’t lump us in yet again with our Yankee cousins — we share just enough with them. If anything, dump us in with the Irish and/or the Australians. Now there’s folks who, like us, like a good beer and are never too big for their britches.
– Posting from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Some comments:
– “Dividing the world in eights along lines of latitude and equator”. Falls in the trap of “objective categories” that exist in the world. It doesn’t take into account the amount of bloggers in each region, which may well be perceived as unfair.
– “Separate awards per country”. Same comment.

Hey I actually won one of these idiotic things last year, but never got my ‘TBA from Tom Coates’. When oh when will IBA?
Never got ‘$50 from ed k.’ either, but vaguely remember hearing he was set upon by Controversy.
Nikolai did send a stunning bubblejet-printed certificate in the mail, though.

Adding to the mess: Brazil has the 2nd biggest blogging community after the U.S. yet it seems Brazilian bloggers had a hard time been nominated – maybe there aren’t any worthy, i don’t know. But, in my case, a Gay Brazilian blogging from New York on no specific subject – if it were left up to me, none of the categories fully represent my intentions.
We can discuss this forever and never agree on anything – awards rules are set by whoever is giving the award – and as with the Nobel, the approach should be that you don’t lose the prize, only win it .

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