Getting Ahead Of The Relevancy Curve

It isn’t as though I keep up with Hollywood award shows but it was infinitely amusing to read that the Golden Globe awards were reduced to nothing more than a prolonged press conference due to the Writers Guild of America strike. At the same time, the topic made me think about awards in general and since I was also thinking about blog topics at the same time, it inspired me to go searching for blog awards…

After a few Google searches it appears that there are a few
biggies among the bunch: "The Weblog Awards", "The Bloggies", and "The
Blogger’s Choice Awards." In all three cases, each competition had
multiple categories and an open nomination process. At the same, time,
when I went through looking for a "culture blog" category I
came up empty handed. There were categories for "music" and
"entertainment" but based on historical voting trends, these categories
were populated entirely by blogs specializing in pop culture topics. Case in point, some of the awards had separate pop culture categories.

It should come as no surprise that non-pop forms of culture were
no more or less represented in these awards than they are in the
mainstream cultural consciousness. After all, if most blogging is done by "regular people" then the blogosphere should be a somewhat accurate mirror of the mainstream consciousness. Nevertheless, the quantity of
culture blogs has increased exponentially over the past year. A quick
stroll through Adaptistration’s Big Roll of Blogs shows 84 blogs and by no means is it a complete or authoritative list.

All of this left me wondering if culture blogs
deserved more recognition inside the mainstream blogosphere and since the explosion of culture blogs has been fairly recent, the blogoshphere simply has yet to catch up. In order to find out more about how
the blog awards determine categories, I contacted the folks at The
Blogger’s Choice Awards to suggest they create a Best Culture Blog
category for 2008 since none of the other categories seemed to fit the
majority of culture blogs.

I was pleased to receive a very prompt response from Scott Mulrooney
and after a few email exchanges he wrote "I looked at your blog and
without a culture/society category fitting your blog into any of our
other categories would be a tough call." Fortunately, he also wrote
that adding a culture category was a great suggestion so there’s
certainly hope that culture blogs might do a better job at keeping up
with the mainstream cultural consciousness than the culture they blog
about.

To that end, I think it is high time for everyone who enjoys a
culture blog to write into one or all of the major blog awards and
request that they establish a category for culture.

There’s strength in collective action so don’t hesitate to suggest
to your friends that they should send in a note as well. In order to get everyone started,
here’s a sample message you can use in whole or edit as you see
fit:

As a blog reader, I think it would be useful if you created
a new category for your 2008 awards: Best Cultural Blog. Culture blogs, meaning those blogs which focus primarily on issues related to the performing arts,
such as adaptistration.com have increased considerably throughout 2007 and I hope you’ll consider adding a relevant category to
acknowledge these blogs in your fine awards.

Of course, you can feel free to substitute "adaptistration.com" for
any other culture blog you prefer. Ultimately, what’s central to this is for the
award websites to hear from readers that culture blogs are an important
part of the blogosphere.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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