Remember last year when Colleen first announced the Mouse and Trowel Awards to honor online gardening and we all knew instantly it was a great idea? Then almost 500 of us voted and the happy winners got to put little badges on their sites and blogs and call their endeavors "award-winning". And the whole enterprise brought attention to our community. In a fit of pompous proclamation worthy of cable TV, I called Colleen "blogosphere-changing," something I just assumed must be true and see no evidence to the contrary so that settles it. Anyway, online gardeners are indebted to her for going to a LOT of trouble not in hopes of winning awards herself but just to promote good garden writing on the Web.
Well, it’s that season again. Bloggers are asking their readers to nominate them, because who doesn’t want to be nominated? Lord knows WE do, so we humbly suggest you give us a nod. And don’t forget our individual blogs if they’ve amused or enlightened you over the past year. Here’s the link to the nomination form.
There are lots of cool blog categories to choose from again this year and even 2 new ones:
- Best New Blog, a category many of us lobbied for and I can’t wait to see the nominees.
- Blog Post of the Year, which is a bit more challenging but the results will surely be worth it. I’m more of a skimmer than a reader elsewhere on the Web but here on the Rant I read every word so I’ll be nominating: Michele’s "The Commencement Speech No One’s Invited Me to Deliver", Amy’s "Confessions of a Fake Memorist," and Elizabeth’s "Welcome to my Nightmare".
Beyond the blogosphere, the categories are pretty discouraging. There’s no Best New Website category, and these three categories from last year have been discontinued: Best Informational Gardening Site,
Best Plant/Seed Source, and
Best Gardening Magazine Site. Seems that there was low participation by us voters, and there’s a perception that they don’t fit in with the other awards. So gardening websites are down to Best Forum and Website of the Year.
Bummer! See, I get excited about promoting good gardening information websites, making it easier for the public to FIND them. Instead of the crawlers that steal from us all. Instead of the income-dominated sites that have more ads than content. Instead of the corporate sites that are filled with products we’re supposed to buy. And instead of sites that require payment in order to read them. A few of us webmaster types interested in offering high-quality alternatives to all the crap online have banded together to help Googlers find the content-oriented sites, but we’re few and far between. Whole regions of online gardening information are still missing.
So readers, how about voting for that little band of webmasters as a way to encourage others to start content-oriented sites, too? By nominating Regional Garden Gurus you nominate all of us and more to come, plus all the other good sites we link to. (Of course you’re invited to peruse our individual sites for possible nominations, too.) "Website of the Year" sounds awfully grand and we thought we had a better shot at "Best New Website" – but enough whining from me. Start nominating right here.
GARDEN WRITERS ASSOCIATION AWARDS
Of course we’re HOPING that the blogging community rallies this year and goes nuts nominating sites for the two remaining website categories so that the website Mousies make a comeback next year but just in case, I did a little lobbying of the GWA Awards Committee on behalf of the electronic world. You may remember they have zillions of categories for writing, editing and photography in PRINT, and scant mention of "electronic" efforts, a category that includes everything on the Web, plus DVDs, podcasts and television. Well, I recently ran into the Washington Post’s Scott Aker – he’s the guy responsible for these awards – and asked if new categories would be created, at least one for each unique medium that falls into that supercategory, and his response was superdiscouraging. Oh well. Their entrance fees would inhibit participation by most of us anyway. (GWA awards are a fundraiser for the association.) Here are their 2007 winners.
So bloggers, until something else comes along, it’s up to us to encourage and reward websites in our chosen niche, so let’s go for it.