What Should An Award Stand For?

For some years now I have been mentally questioning the increasing commercialisation of awards. There was a time when winning, or even being nominated for an award, was an honour because it meant that the quality of your work was being recognised and held up as a benchmark.

Can we say the same thing today?

Real Estate Business Awards. Interior Design Awards. Architecture Awards.

Jewellery Awards. Fashion Awards. Design Awards.

Marketer of the Year Awards. Advertising Awards. Film Awards. Telly Awards.

Worst Movie Awards. Worst Dressed Awards. Worst Awards!

Best Travel Agent Awards. Best Tour Operator Awards. Best Hotel Awards. Best Airline Awards.

Online Journalism Awards. Content Marketing Awards. Blogger Awards.

Need I go on? Hopefully the point has been made. The avalanche of awards instituted in the hope of sponsorship money, television ad revenue, ticket sales and even award entry fees has devalued the whole purpose.

I think it’s time we all ask ourselves a basic question – What Should An Award Stand For?

Yesterday, being only human, I was pleased and flattered when I saw a tweet from a talented blogger, Deeshani Batra nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. This, in spite of my growing scorn for the business of awards. I must confess that in an attempt to grow my audience for my posts, I have been experimenting with blogger awards’ nominations and entries. After all, let’s face it, we all like recognition and appreciation.

Yesterday, however, I decided to research the Sunshine Blogger Award. That’s when I discovered, thanks to an excellent post by Jolene Davis, that it’s not really an instituted award but functions more as a chain letter to ostensibly enable bloggers to get to know each other better*.

Nothing wrong with that. Question though is why call it an award?

Karen Goodman has a nice take on the matter in a post aptly titled Spreading a Little Sunshine – Sunshine Blogger Award

Viewed from Karen Goodman’s perspective, the Sunshine Blogger Award is to honour bloggers whose posts spread the light of knowledge and creativity. Deeshani Batra is certainly one such blogger. To that extent, her nominating yours truly is an award in itself. Which is why, I have decided to respect her nomination and at the least, answer the questions she has raised. But Deeshani, I am going to stop at that and not continue the chain. Because I cannot fall prey to the commercialisation of awards and become complicit in their devaluation. The Sunshine Blogger Award does not even have an official website and as far as I looked, one has no idea of its origin, organiser or purpose.

Everywhere I look these days, I see an erosion of quality standards. I had blogged about this state of affairs in Has anyone seen Quality? I am looking for her. In another post, Halt! Save Those Blogs From Being Banquished!, I made an appeal to all bloggers to self-regulate and raise the standards of blogging.

I must, then, live up to my self-professed beliefs.

Awards have a role to play in the progress of human civilisation by honouring and benchmarking quality work. To do so, they must be meaningful and not easy to get.

I wish that a respected academy of writers, journalists and other creative artists would get together to spot, sponsor and cultivate really talented bloggers and budding talent. I think this is important given that we now live in a digital world.

I hope that happens soon. In the meantime, Deeshani, here are my answers to the questions you raised:)

Tell me about your proudest achievement. 

I honestly think that the only thing I can be proud about is that I have survived life in this world so far by working hard and honestly.

How much time do you spend blogging? 

The posts I write take anywhere between 2-5 hours a day. It depends on the subject matter I am trying to tackle. The time taken also depends on how easily the creative juices are flowing on any particular day:) Recently, I have been posting virtually every day. But I am beginning to think that I would be better off sacrificing the traffic gained through daily posting because then I would be able to focus more on trying to maintain meaningful content and a certain standard of writing.

Do you believe in destiny? Why/ Why not? 

I have grown to believe that circumstances of a person’s life is destined. How you face those circumstances is individual choice, which in turn determines the course future destiny will take. Choose to go right, left or straight ahead to determine your own destiny:)

How do you evaluate success?

It’s always a thrill to see the response to your work. The satisfaction, thus gained, is one important measure of success personally. On the whole though, I evaluate success by character. It doesn’t matter if a person is brainy or not; talented or not; beautiful or not; materially successful or not! Are they successful as a human being? That is the only measure as far as I am concerned.

Have you been an inspiration to someone?

I would like to think so. But that is really a question that others who I have interacted with must answer:)

What is the most difficult part of the writing process, according to you? 

Why, finding the right words of course! A writer has a message to convey. The words she or he chooses to express that message should leave an impression in a reader’s mind book. Isn’t that the endeavour of every writer? To convey a message through the use of word pictures that move a reader into agreeing or at least, thinking about the subject matter?

Tell me about one interesting and one frustrating thing about blogging. 

My frustration has already been conveyed in the introduction to this blog. Blogging should be about writing, not networking. That’s why bloggers need patrons who could arrange to get their work marketed. What interests me about blogging? It’s a wonderful platform to encourage writers who may otherwise have never got an opportunity to reach a wider audience. Before the Internet, I am sure the work of many writers had an audience of one! The writer herself or himself!

What’s the best thing a blogger can give to her or his readers? 
Well-researched information and opinions, conveyed in an objective and empathetic manner.



Featured Cover Image Credit: Victoria Crowned Pigeon by Steve Wilson (Flickr.com CC By 2.0)

*Jolene Davis. Blogger to Blogger Awards: The Sunshine Awards UnveiledOctober 3, 2013.

*Karen Goodman. Spreading a Little Sunshine – Sunshine Blogger Award. October 24, 2013.

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