First impressions of BBAW

With the first round of voting complete and, hence, the first of my actual participation in Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I was left with several initial impressions. I thought I would offer up a few of them, even if that may not be wisest thing to do knowing there is more voting to be done (although I’m guessing that’s something this blog probably need not worry about).

  • The number of book blogs, particularly in specific genres, was even greater than I expected. I was also surprised at how many romance, young adult and urban fantasy blogs I ended up seeing as a result of the lists I received.
  • What perhaps struck me the most is what a small minority male book bloggers appear to be, at least of the blogs in the two categories I voted in. On the list of 128 blogs in one of those categories, I estimate some 95 percent are written by women. Granted, I didn’t check the gender of every blog author and there seemed to be a few more men in the other category (which had 140+ blogs, counting duplicates). While I’m not surprised to find a lot of women blogging about books, I never thought the gender numbers were so skewed.
  • While I know this is treacherous ground, the second most striking impression was how many blogs seem so saccharine. I don’t know how else to describe it. Many just seem to have a pervasive, almost overwhelming, sense of adulation and/or sentimentality. Granted, it may just seem that way to an old cynic like me but I saw so many I was quite taken aback.
  • I was surprised — and I don’t know why — at the number of posts announcing a blog’s participation that didn’t follow the rules or format that was suggested. It was a small minority but it’s one of those things that irritates me far more than it should.
  • Perhaps somewhat related is something I checked out for curiosity sakes. Accounting for duplicates, the two lists I was provided had some 200 different blogs on them and we were supposed to visit them before casting our ballots. That means at least 200 other bloggers were provided a link to a specific post on this blog. According to Google Analytics, over the 12-day voting period that specific link was viewed 64 times. Seems two-thirds of the bloggers either aren’t voting or are voting without visiting all the blogs. While time will tell, it renews my concern that the event has a sense of a somewhat cliquish mutual admiration society.
  • As I winnowed each list of the two lists, it seemed a somewhat disproportionate number of British bloggers made my initial short lists. I don’t really know why, other than perhaps the British approach comes from a slightly different or less effusive perspective than the somewhat mawkish bent I mentioned above.

While some of the foregoing leaves me a tad dismayed, I don’t want to leave the impression there’s been no merit to this. I had a very tough time figuring out which blogs on my short list to cast my five votes for in each category. There are a number of excellent book blogs out there. Not only have a couple been added to the blog roll here, the subscriptions in my RSS reader have grown again after I spent some time last month trying to prune them down.

Blogging is an art, same as any other method of self-expression. Some are better at it than others.

Hugh MacLeod, “random notes on blogging

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7 comments to First impressions of BBAW

  • SFP

    I’ve yet to receive a ballot. I received a response Saturday night to the second email I’d sent requesting a ballot, and was told I’d get one on Sunday and would have an extra day to fill it out. It’s Monday morning and I still have yet to receive it. I wonder if 2/3rds of the ballots didn’t go out or if most simply felt overwhelmed?

    Regardless, if some get 12 days to vote and others get a day at most, and there are hundreds of blog posts to read and rank, I don’t think it’s wrong to have concerns about the overall merits in the process.

  • BBAW is always a work in progress. Last year participants nominated blogs, and that was also kind of a mess (although it was nice when you received an e-mail telling you you were nominated). Then select judges voted.

    As for the 64 visits, you got more than the average–those in the latter half of the alphabet undoubtedly got a lot less. There were A LOT of blogs to go through, though, so I can’t really blame anyone for electing not to vote or simply voting for the blogs they already know in an effort to save time.

    • Tim

      I guess I’m outside the mainstream. I looked at every blog on each list — and am glad I did. I would guess half the blogs I voted for were ones I had not seen before (aided by the fact that some of my favorites apparently didn’t participate). But if it’s above average for only one-third of voters to consider all the blogs, then it does skew it toward being a closed loop.

  • Hmm…so the average blogger is a British woman who is putting extra packets of saccharine in her English Breakfast tea rather than reading the rules for the voting?

    It is a challenge, as you say, to be nice but not too nice.

    • Tim

      Which is probably why a cynical old guy who wants strong black coffee while reading the rules may not fare well.

  • Interesting observations. I spent a lot of time reading through most of the blogs in my ballots. I wanted to be as fair as possible. I added SEVERAL new blogs (including this one) to my feed or Google Friend Connect following. So much for less time online! LOL There are some GOOD blogs out there I had no clue existed. Even if Proud Book Nerd doesn’t make it past this first round of voting, I’m glad I threw my hat in the ring simply because of these discoveries!

    I, too, had the thought about those at the bottom of the alphabet (where I do fit, unfortunately). This is my first time through this process, so I’m more watching to see how this all plays out.

    Good luck to everyone nominated! 🙂

  • Tim, what you shared about the first impression was right on. Saccharine would be the appropriate word to describe many of the book blogs. I am sure there exists the need for different blogs that emphasize on the various genres. As to the contest, I didn’t nominate myself because I feel awkward about self-nomination, nor do I have time to figure out which five posts I want to submit for each category. Just the thought of doing all this and abiding by all the rules just overwhelms me. 🙂 I am interested in seeing the shortlist for each category.