I don’t hide the fact I was a complete loser at school. I was the most unpopular kid at 4 of the 5 schools I attended (I kept moving to try and escape bullies. Turns out were are everywhere). I always found school to be just one big popularity contest and it was the “cool kids” who decided your fate each day. As an adolescent moving into the big wide world of full time employment I found there were lots of popularity contests in the workplace as well, and as it turns out, in my former workplaces it would seem your career was decided by the “cool kids” as well except they had fancier job titles. After slaving away in the workforce for 10 years one of the things I constantly had a problem with was a lack of popularity with the “big bosses” and not being able to progress because of it. One day the decisions was made, I returned to this little blog and decided to pour all my energy, money and time into it. At that time, blogging wasn’t a popularity contest. There were no popularity contests to define which blogger was better than another. Blogging was an amazing, supportive community but now it is starting to become tarnished thanks to popularity contests.
From today onwards I am declaring this blog a “popularity contest free zone”. Now let me explain.
The thing I hate most about popularity contests is that it ultimately says one being is the “winner” based on nothing to do with skill, often with some kind of voting system. I didn’t want this post to get into specifics or use examples but I am going to have to because I cannot make my point without it.
Until recently there were no formal ways to honour bloggers and the contribution they make to anything. I didn’t like that and thought it would be nice to have something to reward bloggers that work hard to improve their skills in writing/community/whatever, but I also loved it because it meant there was minimal competitiveness amongst the blogging community. However, now there is an award handed out on every corner and I am finding few of them are aimed at rewarding a skill.
When I was notified recently by Kidspot (a website for parents) that I was nominated for an award in their Voices of 2013 awards, I was honoured. Naturally anyone would be when some kind person has taken the time to submit you for an award because they like what you are doing. That is an amazing feeling because I put in so much blood, sweat and tears into this blog and it is nice to be recognised once in a while.
Now to give you a bit of background, this award is a new program that replaces the former Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers competition. The past winners of that competition, and like many competitions, have been given bragging rights to state they are Australia’s Best Blogger or Australia’s Most Popular Blogger. I think it is great for those people that they win but what I hate about this is that it sends a clear message that every other blog is not as good as the winner. In the blogging world, that is just never true because every blog offers something different, has a different voice and makes people feel something different. There can never be a “best blog”. Worst of all, it takes away from all the hard but amazing work every other blogger is doing, and we know that not every blogger in the entire country could have been evaluated for every single award.
I can’t speak for the past awards run by Kidspot because I was never nominated but for Voices 2013 we were advised:
“a judging panel is assessing each and every blog nominated and scoring them to strict criteria to determine the Top 100 bloggers.”
I have a lot of problems with that single sentence but nevertheless I let it pass. We were advised the top 100 would be contacted by March 13 which was a fact I had only discovered after preparing to publish this post. I have been slowly writing this post over the last 2 weeks trying to put my thoughts and feelings into words that made sense ( I still don’t think I achieved that). But as you can guess, I wasn’t contacted so it is safe to assume I am not considered one of the Top 100 bloggers in Australia.
Even though I am quite a strong person and I believe in my own capabilities, it is hard to not be offended by this ruling. I have worked tirelessly for years to create my blog, I love helping people and I have seemed to build lots of great friendships through this blog, so why am I feeling like the unpopular kid at school again? The truth is, I shouldn’t be and it shouldn’t matter. Even if I had won the award I would still not be the best blogger in Australia, I would just be the best according to a panel of two(!) people based on an unknown set of criteria. And all the other blogs that wouldn’t have won would probably be feeling like I am right now.
No matter how many great achievements one has, it takes just one little loss in a popularity contest to leave you completely doubting your worth. This is one of the reasons I am banning this blog from popularity contests.
If you were reading this blog in 2012 you may remember a contest held by Revlon I participated in called Revlon Inspires. From the minute I agreed to participate in that competition I regretted it. I knew it was going to be a popularity contest but the prize was to have our own curated nail collection packaged and released in Australia. The idea of having The Plastic Diaries in the nail polish section of Priceline was so alluring that I said yes before I had really thought it through. I found myself hounding people for votes everyday. My friends, family, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, Instagram followers, random people on the street …… I wanted to win so badly that I didn’t realise how annoying I was.
When I lost by a landslide I was devastated, even though I came second. I campaigned hard, I put so much thought into my nail collection and why each colour was included. But it didn’t matter how or why I lost. I lost and I found myself doubting my capabilities as a beauty writer and blogger. It took me quite some time to realise that I was no less of a person for not having my own set of nail polish on shelves.
So from here on in, you will not find me or this blog participating in any popularity contests. The only contest I will ever consider entering myself in is for awards that honour writing, or community, or something to do with an actual skill. And if I ever win one of those awards, I will not parade around claiming I am the best blogger …. well, no more than I already do!
I started this blog because I wanted to share my vain love of beauty with others. I write and work on this blog daily because I want to create something I could be proud of and something to help other people. Yes, it would be nice to be recognised for the countless nights I have stayed awake editing photos or to compensate the amount of times my lips have bled from swatching too many lipsticks, but the reassuring of one persons ego is not worth the upset caused to others.
I hereby declare this blog a popularity free zone. You will not be hounded to vote for me. You will not be asked to share my plight. And I will not be made to feel like my work is a waste of time because I didn’t win an award.
How do you feel about popularity contests? Have you ever felt invalidated by an awards program? Let me know by commenting below!
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