Award-Worthy Blogs Showcase Evolution of the Medium

    by Mark Glaser
    September 18, 2006

    i-0096150c125f660311ebcd03bee46054-Stuck in the 80s.jpg
    Not too long ago, your blog might be judged by your skill with the written word. Are you funny? Do you have a new view on politics that hasn’t been covered by the mainstream media? Are you writing anonymously about a sensitive subject? These were the attributes that helped drive the popularity and influence of the early A-list bloggers, who also were well connected to the technology world.

    But as blogging moves toward a new age dominated by collaborative Web 2.0 attributes and the explosion of online video, bloggers must hew to a higher standard. Now they need to do more than just link to text sources at newspaper sites or other blogs; they must include video, audio, graphics and photos. And group blogs and video blogs have become more prevalent.

    Into this new world comes the Best of the Blogs (a.k.a. The BOBs), the International Weblog Awards, run by the German public media company, Deutsche Welle. Rather than limit entries strictly to text blogs, The BOBs for 2006 will include podcasts and video blogs. Even so, I suspect that the notion of blog awards is becoming a bit stale and feels very 2004. Thus, when I asked you to nominate your favorite blogs or podcasts, I received very few comments/nominations — even though I was giving you free space to promote your own blog.


    Still, what you did nominate was noteworthy for being so different from the typical Blog 1.0. There was nothing overtly political in there, and no A-list bloggers. Instead, you nominated one blog aggregator for home-improvements nut, a newspaper-site blog and podcast about the ’80s, and a blog that simply showcases great viral videos. So without further ado, here are my capsule reviews of your nominees:

    Stuck in the ’80s blog and podcast

    This tongue-in-cheek culture blog by St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times’ online editor Steve Spears has perhaps the most blog-like structure of any of these top nominees. But Spears spices it up with great lists like his Worst 80 Films of the ’80s, which was topped by “Gymkata” from 1985. The big bonus is the weekly podcast, which has big smatterings of ’80s kitsch, with appropos songs, and audio clips from movies and TV shows of the era.



    OK, so we’ve had blogs from pet animals, and even a social networking site for pets, Dogster. So why not a house blog, focusing on all the pampering and attention people give to their fixer-upper houses? That’s the idea behind Houseblogs.net, which is more of an aggregator of house blogs than just one simple blog. There are 350 blogs in the network and the home page serves as a showcase for recent blog posts from various blogs. Plus, there’s a forum to help build the community and let people ask important questions. I like the concept and the community aspect for home-improvement folks, but think the home page design could be simpler and not so confusing. For example, it’s hard to tell which blog posts are being written by whom in each column.


    This blog is another concept I love — but could use some help in the execution. The idea is for author Ken Leebow to highlight what he considers to be “incredible videos” among all the video-sharing sites out there. This would help alleviate the suffering of so many of us when we spend hours combing a site like YouTube and wasting our time with the not-so-incredible videos there. The first problem with the site is that all the videos on the front page made my Firefox browser crash. And while I enjoyed many of the videos Leebow highlighted, I thought it would be helpful if he included a bit more background info on each video. One interesting sidenote: Most of the videos considered “incredible” come from professional productions — either from TV or movie clips or commercials.

    [Full disclosure: I’ll be judging the English-language blogs for The BOBs.]

    What do you think about these nominees? Do you create or enjoy other blogs or podcasts that are award-worthy? Share your nominees in the comments below or nominate them for The BOBs here. The nomination deadline is September 30.

    Tagged: weblog

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