Just Sayin… A Word about Awards
Great blue herons show sibling rivalry even before fledging. They compete with each other for food from the parent herons. They engage in bird-to-bird “play” combat, bill dueling like the adults. They perform elaborate territorial displays, strutting and erecting feathers to scare away the other.
I have received six awards, and have thought long and hard about the meaning and intent of awards, and why some people declare their blogs award-free zones while others do not. There are pros and cons for each stance, and I want to share my perspective, just speaking for myself.
Professionally, I have worked for international publishing and media companies for nearly fourteen years, and I’m sure that publishing company orientation affects my views on audience engagement and awards.
I think of blog readers’ involvement as falling along a continuum.
People have lots of demands for their attention every day, and for any person to even click on your blog’s link in an email or reader and read your post – well, that’s a compliment. There are hundreds of thousands of other posts and sites a person could be reading in that moment, movies they could be streaming, games they could be playing, work they should be doing, etc., but they chose to read YOUR blog. That’s really something – just having their eyeballs on your post (out of all the choices on the internet and in real life) is an amazing thing.
Next on the continuum is the person reading your blog and then clicking the “Like” button on a post. That says even more about the reader’s appreciation of your writings or photos. They like it, good for you! (Some people don’t have “Like” buttons on their blogs, and that’s their choice, but it isn’t mine.)
The next level is the person who leaves a comment. They’re definitely involved with your post, usually in a good way, but not always – sometimes they disagree with your premise, sometimes they spam and run. Getting a comment is a big compliment – it takes time to craft a meaningful comment, time people could spend elsewhere, and they are sharing of themselves and making a deeper connection to you as a blogger in their own words.
And at the end of the continuum are the various awards. Not all awards are created equal of course – there’s the Oscars on one hand and The Razzies on the other, but we’ll come back to the Oscars later.
When a person takes the time to honor your blog with an award – and it does take time, a lot of time in many cases – they are giving your blog a gift. They are telling the community that YOUR blog adds value to their world. How great is that? (If I had a self-esteem issue, I’d say it’s “Sally-Field-They-Like-Me-They-Really-Really-Like-Me” great, but I don’t, so I won’t.)
If you find a wonderful new restaurant or read a book that opens your eyes or visit a gallery exhibit with breathtaking works, don’t you want to share it with others? An award is like that, people sharing their enthusiasm.
And look, most people blog because they need to, or want to, or are driven to – apart from those who are *required* to blog, say as part of their employment. An award is an affirmation of your efforts. How fun is that? Not only are your blogging efforts not going unnoticed, they are being actively validated by your readers.
Some people decline awards because they don’t want to risk offending anyone they have omitted, whether accidentally or not. I have had that concern on occasion, myself, and have made peace in this way: we are all adults, or most of us are, and this is not choosing up sides for softball in high school. Do our blogging friends keep score and compare who gets what? Maybe. When you post comments on a blog, those are publicly visible via search engines, just like giving someone an award is. Do people bother to keep tabs on comments, and feel jealous if you comment more on Suzy’s blog than on theirs? Not likely. I think most people are way too busy to do that, and I also think most people want others to succeed. Are people capable of being happy for the accomplishments of others? At the end of the day, yes. Yes they are.
We are all only human, doing the best we can in any moment and we all make mistakes. Sometimes we even leave out a blog we meant to include. In her Best Actress Oscar acceptance speech at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, Jennifer Lawrence forgot entirely to thank David O. Russel and Harvey Weinsten, Director and Producer, respectively. That was huge, but she recovered gracefully, chalking it up to a “brain fart.” Will she ever work again in Hollywood? Duh.
Everyone moved on.
Even the nestling great blue herons shown at the top of this post moved on, and coexisted peaceably until the next sibling squabble in the nest.
Everyone always eventually moves on.
A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.
Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™
The Tao of Feathers™
© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Awards, Great Blue Heron, Fledgling Heron
Posted on December 9, 2013, in ardea herodias, Awards, Birds, Great Blue Heron, Heron, Photography, postaday, Wildlife Photography and tagged great blue heron, postaday. Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.