Today on Blogcritics

Best of the Best

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Why are we so obsessed with prizes and ranking?

We all know about the most prestigious prizes, such as the Nobel Prize, the Olympic Gold, the Pulitzer Prize, the Oscars, the Grammys, Miss Universe, and so on. We also know about the highest honors bestowed by important institutions or magazines, such as the Forbes lists of successful people and companies, and the Time Magazine Person of the Year.

I guess this obsession is a manifestation of the competitive streak embedded in our nature, and is a relic of the forces of evolution which allow only the fittest to survive.

We compete for success in sports, school, jobs, and love. And we enjoy the game of ranking people and things, and awarding prizes to the top few. Just look at our obsession with competitions like the American Idol. Crazy?

Perhaps there is some justification in ranking. We rely on it to help us sift through the masses of potential competitors (both people and products) so that we are spared the tedium of doing the donkey work ourselves. Take blogs. There are literally hundreds of thousands of blog sites and the number increases every year. How do we know which blog is the best?

Is Blogcritics the best group blog? Well, it was nominated, and people voted for it. It did not win, but that does not matter. Like the Oscars, just being nominated is honor enough. It was nominated as part of the Weblog Awards.

But is the ranking by Weblog Awards better or more prestigious than, say, the Bloglines Most Popular Feeds, Blogstreet top 100, Top 100 Technorati, Best of the Blogs, Forbes Best Blogs, World’s Best Blogs, or Best Blogs in Asia?

Some blogs are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them (apologies to Shakespeare). Are we thrusting too much greatness onto too many blogs?

With this deluge of web awards, how do we rank the rankers?

The bottom line, as always, is that the choice of top blogs must be a personal one. We each have our own preferences and prejudices. We all have our own reasons why we blog. Some of us bloggers want to influence the world. Others want to be famous. Yet others blog to expurgate their inner troubles and to attain catharsis. But ultimately, all of us bloggers, like the Olympics, are winners.

So which is the best blog? Drum roll while I open the envelope. The best blog for 2004 is….

(I’m not telling)

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About ken

  • http://www.templestark.com/blog Temple Stark

    He he. I like the way you handled this one Ken.

    Nothing from you Jim C. :-)

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Very cool post. As a relatively new blogger, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pulled in by the numbers game. Perhaps that’s because in the blogging world, you can go from relative obscurity to relative fame in a relatively short period of time. Of course, it’s all relative (ha ha).

    Take Blog Critics. It’s only been around for a few years, yet it pulls in thousands of visitors a day — this is something that would have been unheard of (without couch-loads of cash) only a few years ago.

    So we’re really at the infancy of an egalitarian, cheap, and open-all-night medium. It’s fun, it’s free, and if you live in a country that at least claims to value freedom, you probably won’t get hauled off to jail for it.

    Eric Berlin
    Dumpster Bust: Miracles from Mind Trash
    http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com

  • http://www.dsng.net Daryl

    Yes, very cool. On the one hand, people like to blog to express themselves, but on the other hand, these awards at least say that someone is listening – the old “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it” dilemma.

  • http://ani.rediffblogs.com Animesh Rawal

    Why just focus on blogs? Aren’t “Best Movie”, “Best Song” etc. also all very personal choices? So does that mean that nothing anywhere should ever be awarded?
    In a world where everything is special, nothing is. [A warped line from a dialogue I heard in “The Incredibles”]

  • http://kenlyen.bravejournal.com/ kenlyen

    Thanks. I’m just secretly chukcling at one the quirks of human behavior… ranking people and things. Sure, it occurs in nearly every area of endeavor. The flavor of this month just happens to be blogs, which is why I’m writing about it. And yes, I’m all for awards… it adds spice to our otherwise lackluster existence!

  • http://kenlyen.bravejournal.com/ kenlyen

    Thanks. I’m just secretly chuckling at one the quirks of human behavior… ranking people and things. Sure, it occurs in nearly every area of endeavor. The flavor of this month just happens to be blogs, which is why I’m writing about it. And yes, I’m all for awards… it adds spice to our otherwise lackluster existence!

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Kenlyen – agreed on the secret chuckling and the ranking and the awards and the spice!

  • http://SquaringTheGlobe.blogspot.com/ Harry Forbes

    Awards be damned. The best (or worst) thing to happen to blogs is the sitemeter.

    Do you remember the story from ‘Cat’s Cradle’ about the extraterrestrials who conquered an entire planet without war by publishing certain false anatomical statistics on cereal boxes for all to read? Well, I believe the sitemeter came from those extraterrestrials.

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