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“