If you’ve been blogging or reading non-professional blogs for any amount of time, you’ve most likely come across the “award” or tag post at some point. These wily little beasts are the cause of much inconsequential dilemmas in the blogging community. Everyone has their own views and takes on them and how to approach one.
You see, they happen to be quite the mixed blessing.
I remember when I got my first ever nod from the ever inspiring Shokamoka. I was so excited and happy. You can read about it here if you want to know all the gooey details but in short – it really made my day and it’s still special to me. I think most of us feel that way really. You never forget your first! I went on to show my eternal gratitude to Shoka by constantly pestering him with further tag posts, which he skillfully ignores, and encouraging everyone I come across to do the same, effectively drowning the poor kid in tags. The sad part is, it was an earnest show of appreciation at first, I really hadn’t considered the long ranging implications. Now it’s just fun! I’m not a great person….
At their very core tag or award posts do seem to come from a good place. They allow a blogger to reach out to the community by nominating others, potentially help blogs get discovered by new people as they get linked from one blog to the next and generally foster a sense togetherness in disparate blogs. I know I’ve discovered a bunch because they were nominated by a blogger I was already following.
They also allow you to stretch your writing muscles a bit. Most of these tags either ask you to answer questions or write on a specific subject that you would probably not tackle otherwise. It gives bloggers with usually strict formats a chance to get out of their shell a little and gives readers a chance to see something new. Occasionally it also gives us a chance to get to know each other as people, on a more personal basis. It *can* be a lot of fun.
However, let’s not pretend there’s no single self-serving interest behind it. Almost all tags include a rule about linking back to the person who nominated you, which gives them a bit of publicity, the more entrepreneuring tags ask that you always link back to the creator of the tag, potentially spreading their blog far and wide across Word Press without any additional effort on their part.
Now, I don’t see anything at all wrong with that. We all want to get our blog noticed by as many people as possible and an “award” tag is probably one of the nicer ways to do it, but c’mon it’s not ALL for the community though.
They can also be quite demanding. Answering 11 questions, even in short form, is a lot. At the moment I have close to 40 of these posts to answer. Even if only half of them are the 11 question types, that’s still 220 questions. No one wants to read that much about me… Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy writing these posts whenever I find the time for them, but I don’t want to turn my blog into an all tags blog… I once did an entire week of tag posts to celebrate my 500 followers and it was super fun, I’m thinking of doing it again if I ever hit 1000. Wait did I just invalidate my own point again…
The usual progression of these tag posts is that smaller or newers blogs tend to answer them a lot. They generate decent views usually. People are curious about the format and obviously anyone you’ve nominated or linked to is going to come see what it’s all about. Moreover, a lot of people do read these posts in hope of finding new interesting blogs to follow as well. It’s an easy way to draw eyes and get new followers so newer and more eager bloggers will take advantage of it. However, people soon find that these pile up way faster than they can answer them, often leading popular bloggers to announce that they are no longer *accepting* or answering tag posts, or just ignoring them all together.
It can be a little daunting since you want to show your appreciation and encouragement towards a blogger but you don’t want to pester them. Unless it’s Shoka of course. And then there’s the, for lack of a better word, exclusivity…. That’s not the right word at all.
Doing a tag post without nominating anyone always feels like a cop out to me. I mean eventually it’s probably a good thing or else that’s all WordPress would ever be but if we all did that then tags would die instantly. I love the nominate just one or two people standard, I think it’s much more reasonable but of course, you won’t get as many eyes on your posts or people to your blog. On the other hand, the nomination part is always the hardest for me. I really hate thinking someone is going to feel left out. I try to make a note of anyone who’s mentioned they don’t do these so I don’t put them on the spot but I still feel like someone might be disappointed if I don’t mention their blog and that’s the opposite of what the tags are for.
Generally, I try to nominate blogs that are newer and I think will still get excited about getting nominated and haven’t been completely swamped yet. One in a while, if I really think a specific individual would enjoy a certain tag, I’ll throw it their way. I struggle with this and if ever you wonder why you aren’t nominated for something the answer is usually, I thought you wouldn’t want to do this or I thought you were already nominated for it.
There’s also a lack of consistency in these. Some people put in tons of effort in tag posts. Coming up with fun detailed answer, really putting some effort in the questions they ask others, tying the entire post into their blog’s theme. Others though seem to use it as pure filler making for some pretty boring reads.
So, you know what, I think it’s time we started tailoring our tags a bit. Maybe widdle down the number of questions and nominations for these. Try to come up with a new format – other than simple questionnaires. I really loved the one liner challenge tag I recently did, and I love reading all of them. Kimchisama also created an absolutely lovely tag that I’m always eager to read. On the other hand, I think I’ve answered why I started my blog at least a dozen times now (and I’ve probably asked it of others just as many times…) And let’s find a good name for them. Awards just doesn’t quite fit, wouldn’t you say. maybe Sodality posts? It’s a bad name, I’ve just never had the chance to use that word before!
Most importantly though, whenever you do get nominated (and you will), whatever else you do, even if you decide not to answer, do NOT forget to tag Shokamoka’s Blog of Wonders. You can just copy paste from here.