Last week a post went viral within the SFF blogging community pretty fast. It was this post written by Stefan from Far Beyond Reality. Soon after that was posted bloggers were popping up all over with their list of the top five bloggers/fan writers they’d nominate for a Hugo. Then Kristen, from Fantasy Cafe popped up with this thought provoking insight into what she had seen of the nomination process so far. I kind of sat back and watched it all explode and get tons of attention and discussion… all the while stewing on the one concern that had bugged me since the issue first came up.
I stewed on it for a week, all the while wondering how I could raise attention to the one aspect of this whole Huge discussion that had been thrown around without seeming like a total bitch, and I think I might have figured out how I can best attempt that, so here’s my post. I’m sure I’ll still come off as a bitch to some, and I’ll fully show my cynical stripes here, but oh well. I’m attempting to be nice and I hope I can somewhat pull it off.
I basically saw the same few blogs being tossed around on people’s lists over and over again. Now, let me make it clear that big blogs are big for a reason: They are good enough to get a huge and loyal following. However, I didn’t really see any small or average sized blogs on any lists. The reason this irks me is probably two-fold. First, I run a small blog, so I feel some loyalty toward my fellow small-blog peeps out there. Secondly, when I really look critically at small blogs verses big blogs, I’m usually more impressed by the quality, quantity and passion I find in small blogs verses big blogs. Some big blogs seem to make their blog run purely off of posting cover art, or links to other sites/blogs. That posting links/art doesn’t really qualify as a review or fan blog in my mind, because anyone can do that. It’s these little blogs that everyone seemed to ignore on their lists that really deserved the attention that none of them got.
*I should note that I have a baby and thus not as much time to read blogs anymore so some individuals could have done the very thing I’m complaining that no one did and I missed it because I was changing a diaper or something.*
For example, Iceberg Ink, a blog which is far larger than mine, is run by two men in Canada who continually post quality reviews and insights into books, tv shows and comics, and not only that, but they also started a podcast. No one nominated them, and that bugs me. They are small, and thus not as popular as the big name blogs, but I doubt anyone could find two men who are more fans, or quality fan writers than those that run Iceberg Ink.
I’m not big on awards anyway and I never have been. I tend to see them as popularity contests, but it bothers me when small blogs get overlooked in these popularity contests when their quality and quantity is, often times, higher than that found on these bigger, more popular websites.
There it is, my bitch and cynical side.
I’m not writing this because I’m pissed no one nominated me. Trust me, I don’t expect it, nor do I really want it, though it would flatter me just the same. I’m writing this because the little guys, the average kids on the block filled with passion and wonderful insights, regular posts and quality… everything… really need to be looked at. I know we all look at these blogs and I know we all, on occasion, forget to acknowledge what they have to offer the SFF community, so lets do that now.
Please leave a comment and list your favorite average-to-small sized SFF blogs. Pretend this was a Hugo Award for your favorite blog that isn’t an SFF superblog and let me know who you’d choose.
Thanks for your post, Sarah. I think you make a very good point, and I was thinking about this later as well. It does seem like the same blogs keep coming up over and over again in the conversation.
I also find myself enjoying a lot of the blogs that may have less content but also have more original content instead of a flood of covers, press releases, etc. I tend to actually read a higher percentage of the posts on those types of blogs.
Some of my favorites are:
Adventures in Reading
(was on hiatus for a while but has been active again lately)
Some of my favourites (which Kristen did not already list and which I think are not huge):
The King of Elfland's Second Cousin
Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations
This is an excellent post. I have to admit that I was also thinking something along the same lines, however I don't think I'm quite as up in arms about the topic as you (not enough to organize my thoughts, at the very least) so your post has helped me pinpoint both the hesitations I felt and the aspects of this issue I can forgive.
In general, awards tend to focus on the better-known books, magazines, movies and inevitably blogs because that's what people know. But even more to the point, I think that smaller blogs fulfill a very different purpose than the larger, more link-style blogs. They often don't fit a niche quite as cleanly. The same thing that keeps them relatively small also makes sure that they won't get the recognition that they perhaps deserve. You're right – they're popularity contests and that sucks. That's a problem I don't think will change anytime soon.
Whoa. That's about as high praise as I think Chris and I have gotten from a fellow blogger. We appreciate that you enjoy our site Sarah (as we always enjoy yours, since you were one of the first sites I read before blogging).
I'm simply glad that people don't think Chris and I are just rambling into the ether. We often feel that way, but we both come at it from a "we are passionate about "item A" and we'd like to tell you why" standpoint.
Again, Thanks Sarah, you made our day. 😀
Thanks for the kind words Sarah, they are very much appreciated. Yes, some days it feels like Scott and I are very much blogging into the ether, but its nice to know that someone is enjoying the final product.