We’ve seen it so many times before. Virtually no awards ceremony of any kind is organised without someone being aggrieved about the shortlist and the results. Seems BloggingGhana’s inaugural Blogging & Social Media Awards is no exception to this rule.
There’s an akan proverb which loosely translates as: “He who clears the path is unaware the path is bending”. Of course, for the wise ones reading this. I could leave this proverb up and you’ll get all the meaning you need to get from it, but for the sake of clarity and to avoid any ambiguity, here’s the long version of the post…
For the period that we had the form up online to take nominations for the different categories, 314 people submitted nominations.
Here are some figures for you to munch on:
- There were 1,128 nominations spread over 13 categories.
- Averaging about 87 nominations per category.
- Lowest number of nominations in a category = 33
- Highest number in a category = 148
Granted, a few of the blogs were nominated multiple times in the same category but even after cleanup, most categories came down to looking at about 50 blogs and applying some generic rules to them. The idea being to clean up the list and create a shortlist before the judging panel sees them.
It came down to a team within the BlogCamp Ghana organizing committee going through every single blog and checking for the following:
1. Does the URL exist?
Where there was an error within the given URL we made reasonable attempts to find the blog by search or correcting the URL. No one was eliminated because we couldn’t find their blog
2. Does a blog exist at the URL?
The general definition of “blog” that we used was that there was some sort of chronology within the posts and that one could see an archive of the old posts by either scrolling or by being given links to them somewhere on the main page. Not many blogs were eliminated here.
3. How many posts the blog had that fall within the category it was nominated for?
The general cut off for most categories was that there had to be at least 12 blog posts within 2012 calendar year. The only exception being some blogs within the Creative, Literary Short Stories, Poetry Blog category where the nature of some very long stories made up for the fact there were that many posts in the first place. For all other categories, this was what pruned the list the most.
4. Is there a link to Ghana?
Now pretty much all the blogs that we found had some sort of “link” Ghana. So there wasn’t much there to look at.
5. Is the content relevant and/or ethical to the category it was nominated in?
The good news is that we were lucky not to find any Ghanaian blogs for instance advocating eating Ghanaians or something more sinister so the ethical question didn’t pop up but relevance to the category came up a lot and many fell short. For instance “Tech Blogs” that barely had any tech news, views or reviews on them. Organisational blogs that turned out to be personal blogs.
After the first pass, and after all the “chaff”, so-to-speak, had been removed it became obvious that there were too many blogs still left. If we expected the judging panel to do a good job and thorough job reviewing each blog in every category they were assigned, we needed to reduce the list down to a shortlist of the very best within that category. Essentially, any single one of the blogs shortlisted could win and there shouldn’t be any uproar about the quality and consistency of their output later.
With that in mind, we made another pass especially looking at the content that was produced over the qualifying period. At this point we were looking at point 4 and asking more meaty questions;
- How strong is the link to Ghana?
- Is it just a blog by someone with a Ghanaian name?
- Is the content Ghanaian enough?
- Is the content in-depth?
- Are there other blogs especially outside Ghanaian circles covering that same content?
- Are there follow-up posts?
- How well does the blogger engage readers/commenters?
- How much integration is there with other social media platforms?
These are the questions that were asked of every single blog that came through the first phase in order to get the final shortlist. Pretty much if you thought your blog or your favorite blog was good enough to be in the shortlist and it didn’t make the cut, apply the original 5 rules… then ask yourself these other 8 questions. It might give you a clearer indication of why it didn’t make it and at the very least give you a better shot of making the shortlist next year.
The dubiousness of the opening proverb is however not lost on us here as the organizing committee and we’ll use whatever feedback and criticism to improve future Blogging and Social Media awards. After all without your feedback we would also not know our path is bending.
At the very least we hope we’ve given the judging panel a headache in finally deciding who the winners should be and you the readers and voters an opportunity in discovering some really great Ghana-related blogs out there you may not have already known.
All in all, we believe we stuck largely to our original principle of rewarding content… after all we have borrowed that phrase “Content is King” for BlogCamp Ghana 2013.