swiss blog awards are dead – for me

i am sorry to announce that i won’t participate in organising the 2nd edition of the swiss blog awards next year. for one i can’t afford another 2-3 months of intense, unpaid work. i need jobs that pay the bills this year. yep. simple.

but more fundamentally, i don’t believe in the event as such anymore. i don’t want to associate myself with an event that favors the wrong tendency in blogging, the sad trend towards elitism. i have been and always will be a “long tail” kinda guy, meaning i am interested in the multiplicity of opinions expressed through blogs. any efforts that try to re-establish oldschool, elitist pyramids and powerstructures should be condemned imho. helas, alot has happened in this past year that made me question the medium blog in general and the swiss blogosphere and its take on blogging in specific.

2006 will go down as the year of my big desillusionment with blogs. i will freely admit it, initially i was probably too enthusiastic in my passion for blogs. with my usual naive idealism i had nourished high hopes in them; i wanted to understand blogs as a much more democratic medium, one where the mass of bloggers participates in revealing truth and as such adds a truely independent voice to the existing media landscape. in a lot of ways, and certainly as a potential, this still holds true. but the blog hype of recent years has brought back in its wake some of the old media mentalities; hirearchies, rankings, earnings, market shares, hick hack and bickering have started to dominate the scene. in short, the market mentality once again has taken over.

when we organised the 1. edition of the swiss blog awards we tried to establish humor and irony as THE key ingredient for the event. yes, we would hand out awards. but, please, who cares who was going to win them… we simply hoped to create an event for bloggers organised by bloggers and to have a great party. we tried to communicate, that the social components of the event were much more important; the getting together, the exchange among bloggers, the networking. the awards themselves were but the easy to communicate bit for the rest of the world, the one that the mainstream media would hopefully understand ;). however it soon became clear, that our message was not understood. the outrage of the frenchspeaking bloggers, when none of their blogs were found among the nominated blogs (after a democratic, webbased nomination process, mind you), stands out as the most significant symbol for the way our message had not passed. yet some other “top”-bloggers behaved in ways that were equally weird, trying almost everything to win.

the relatively new possibility to make a living as a blogger of course adds to this situation. so i am not blaming anyone, but let’s face it, things do seem to take a turn towards elitism in the blogger community; the bottom-up medium once again struggeling to adopt top-down structures. this is why i can’t participate in organising an event like sbaw any longer, one that can so easily be missunderstood to be in favor of this trend towards elitism. award ceremonies tend to create a ranking and i guess it would be asking too much, to do this just for fun and with a healthy dose of self-irony. we got lucky for our first edition, where we found a winner with the totally right attitude (heather ftw!). but in the current climate i doubt that this could happen again.

i might be interested to help organise a swiss blogging conference, or unconference, a festival, whatever. but we already have the excellent LIFT conference in geneva. and do we really need another one in our small ass country?

[i want to apologize to our generous sponsors for abandoning this project, but since this is something that has to be done with herzblut (= enthusiasm + passion & a belief in the basic cause) i no longer see how i could do it. hopefully others will be willing to take on the project. if so, please do]

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.