The Versatile Blogger Award: A Risky Response

Yesterday I received the coveted Versatile Blogger Award from Sandra over at She Can’t Be Serious. For those unfamiliar with this particular WordPress honor, it’s a way for avid WordPress bloggers to pat each other on the back while generating more hits. Recipients are supposed to list seven little-known facts about themselves and then spread the award around by providing links to twelve or fifteen (I’m not sure which it is) other bloggers’ sites.

Ta-da.

I think my primary responsibility as a blogger is to deliver engaging original content to my readers, be they one-time visitors or long-time subscribers. To be honest, I am not sure that simply accepting the award, and then giving links to other bloggers, makes the grade. Other bloggers whom I read have received the award, and frankly, the resulting posts aren’t that interesting (especially if they haven’t forwarded the award to me).

The time involved in properly accepting and executing the Versatile Blogger Award makes me think about the three full-time jobs that I have as a freelance writer. The first job is to write. The second job is to track down the payments that are due to me for what I have written. These payments go awry for every possible reason: invoices are lost or mislaid or misfiled or delayed, checks arrive unsigned or are sent through the wrong damn processing center, and the supposed convenience of electronic payments just leads to a whole new labyrinth of delayed processing and missing or mistaken bank codes. But I digress.

The third full-time job is promoting my work. While writing quality stuff attracts an audience like nothing else can, this is different from the public relations and networking operations that also build and maintain your audience. I fear that using a post to celebrate my Versatile Blogger Award is dangerously like straight PR instead of writing – and it’s PR for other bloggers as much as for me. Is that fair to my readers? Sorry if that rings distastefully to anyone, especially fellow bloggers, but I always try to tell the truth on this blog.

That being said, I recognize that all us bloggers are in this together and it’s worthwhile to help each other out. I’m always grateful for the chance to get my work in front of new readers. Perhaps the most appropriate thing to do, to avoid rubbing anyone the wrong way, is to crack a mild, self-deprecating joke about awards and graciously thank the one who awarded me.

So thank you to everyone who made this day possible, especially in light of yesterday’s blog about how I never win any contests.  And thank you to Sandra. I’m so glad you found my blog and that you enjoyed it. Alaina Mabaso’s Blog readers are hereby encouraged to check out the humorous, easy-to-relate-to She Can’t Be Serious.  And I will now follow through with seven things about myself.

Hmm.

After two years of writing this blog you might already know more about me than you ever wanted to.  But here goes.

1)      When I was a kid, I thought I could communicate with the people on TV by stuffing my crayon drawings into the       VCR.

2)      I love sweet-n-salty treats over any other food.

3)       I work pretty well with editors generally, but I loathe it when they take a notion to add in adjectives that I didn’t write or imply.

4)      I hate going to the mall, but my husband loves it.

5)      I have never learned how to drive a manual transmission.

6)      I surreptitiously try to smell all food before I take a bite.

7)      Once a parent told me that I would have more friends if I was less opinionated.

In light of my total lifelong failure to become less opinionated (thankfully, my friends don’t seem to mind), before I move on to nominate more bloggers, I have a few suggestions for the Versatile Blogger Award.

How about a smaller list of awardees? What with my three jobs listed above, in addition to writing, illustrating and promoting my own blog (my family and my highly needy goldfish also fall in there somewhere too), I don’t have time to go read twelve other blogs just because you suggested them. Can we narrow it down, perhaps concentrating the honor of the award even further for those worthy enough to be chosen, and making it more likely that potential new readers won’t be overwhelmed by the list?

What is the meaning of the Versatile Blogger Award? Does it simply mean “blogs I like”? I’d like to take it in a more literal sense and honor bloggers that I not only enjoy, but who truly are versatile: showcasing a range of knowledge, topics and tone.  Let’s face it: being prolific or hilarious isn’t always the same as whetting an intellectual appetite or inviting new perspectives. By the way, if your blog doesn’t appear here, that doesn’t mean I do not (or would not) enjoy reading your stuff in my (very limited) free time.

Let’s be sure to make the pay-it-forward list more than a column of links. In the spirit of comradeship and effective mutual PR, let’s say a few words about why readers should visit those blogs.

So I’m going to go ahead and follow my own rules now.

Go on over and check out that crotchety Don Mills at The Problem With Young People Today Is… Readers who saw last week’s post about the thoughts of old people versus young people already know I draw inspiration from Mr. Mills. His subject matter may not be very wide in scope, but the side-splitting contortions of his overall tone (don’t miss out on the comments) are not to be missed.

Please visit Renee at Life in the Boomer Lane, if you haven’t already. Most of the posts deal with the perils of aging, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something for everyone to enjoy there, and Renee often plays with different formats and tones, so that her blog is not merely a humorous slice-of-life site.

Why not try Thomas at Middle of the Freakin Road? I name him versatile because unlike everyone else in America these days, he makes of point of commenting on political issues from a centrist position that does not favor one side or the other.

I also like Gideon’s Golden Way, an unassuming little blog written by a thoughtful woman about training her service dog, Gideon. I am partly a sucker for this blog because I love golden retrievers and the human-animal bond in general, but I also bestow the Versatile award because some blog posts are written by Gideon himself, and I admire this depth of interspecies teamwork.

If you’re still ready for more, you could check out Merry Farmer – not only does she write in a genuine, enjoyable style on a variety of topics, her first book is coming out soon! I’m looking forward to reading it.

So that’s it for today, folks. Thanks for sticking around.

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12 Comments

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  1. pretty sure you’re ok, because it’s your blog — do what you want. Also, it would be sad if someone got upset about an award that has already gone around half of wordpress.

  2. First time visitor. Alaina I agree with EVERYTHING you wrote. I also voted.

  3. As always, love your stuff, Alaina 🙂 !!

  4. Thank you very much for thinking of us. We really enjoy your blog too. Stop by to see Gideon’s thoughts on the award.

  5. From a fellow award winner, I heartily approve of your post. If it’s any consolation, I’m a first time reader, and plan to read more!

  6. I just finished writing a post, wondering also if I was less than gracious about the award. Then happened on your post, and couldn’t agree more.

  7. I’m very glad to have found your blog via Seeing Clarely who comments above. I have not received a nomination for my blog, but am pretty sure I would feel the same as you if I did – but could not have voiced it anywhere near as eloquently.

    • Well, thanks, and thanks for stopping by and following along. Pretty sure I’m just a smart-ass ingrate in general, but it’s always nice to know there are like-minded folks out there when I take the time to write!

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