The nominations are open for the 2012 Season of the Black Weblog Awards. I am very happy to see that the Science and Technology category is still holding on. (And I figured it would.) However the Green Living/Outdoors category didn't hold on. I was afraid of that happening, but wasn't surprised.
For years, I have been asking the BWA to split the Science and Technology category so as to highlight the number, variety and talent of African-American STEM bloggers there are. When the announcement came that nominations for the BWAs were open, I had an entire list of blogs and individuals I was going to nominate and rally your support to do the same. Only the top five blogs with the most independent nominations would make it to the finals. Very exciting, but at the same time very mysterious.
This year the nomination process has been revamped, which was needed because some mis-categorized blogs would become finalist; and there was rampant nomination abuse. The process is more transparent. Now, to nominate a blog you simply add the blog name, URL and little description of why you think that blog qualifies...and pay $3 to nominate the blog. That part doesn't set so well with me.
Not because of the payment. I think a nominal fee for nomination is a good idea to keep people from blindly nominating a blog for every category. It modifies behavior big time, which I am sure was the goal. But charging for EACH individual nomination?!! At first I thought it was $3 per nomination form, which would be cool. This changes things, and not in a good way.
Before I would nominate several blogs across the 30+ categories. Write a blog post encouraging everyone to do the same. Now, I don't feel comfortable asking you to spend $90 (or more) to nominate blogs. Shoot, I don't feel comfortable dropping that kind of money! And this completely throws a ratchet in my plan to nominate all of the Black STEM Bloggers and Tweeters (in the appropriate categories, of course) so as to broaden the pool of possible finalists.
AND, I was going to make a REALLY big push to nominate blogs beyond the Science & Tech category. Okay, I'm still going to do this. I've read some really good stuff that would make great contenders in other categories, as well. (See the full list of Award Categories). For example,
Best Music Blog: Science with Moxie
Best Microblog: @ChrisEmdin
Best Personal Blog: JBashir
Best Humor Blog: The Hermitage - she cracks me up.
Not to mention awards that have nothing to do with topic genre such as Best Writing in a Blog (I'm thinking Open Laboratory-type pieces), Best New Blog, Best Photography, and Best Blog Post Series.
Science is apart of those things, too, these blogs deserve a shot at the gold in these categories. I dream big, I know.
Now any blog that is nominated (self-nominations are perfectly fine) gets to vie in the category. Number of nominations makes no difference. Not so sure if I agree with that or not. Feels an awful lot like 'buying your way into an award'. I think it quiets the voice (and enthusiasm) of readers. Seems to put the impetus on bloggers now to get yourself the invite then rally readers to vote for you after the fact. I think this nomination system initially favors self-promoted blogs. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It just feels very different from what it use to be - a Readers Choice type of contest.
The best (and most feasible) tactic now is to encourage each Blogger/Tweeter to self-nominate in as many categories they feel comfortable, if they think having a Black Weblog Award is worth it. I can also ask readers to nominate blogs, but since 1 nomination is good enough, no since throwing your money in the wishing well. So check out the Daily Nomination Report first (thumbs up for this feature).
Maybe I am just a little to tough on BWA this year. I don't know. Tell me what you think.
What are some of your favorite Black Science blogs, microblogs, video blogs, and podcasts? Have you nominated any for a 2012 Black Weblog Award? In light of the cost per nomination, will you?