I enjoyed myself so much this past weekend. Heading down to Cork for the weekend, staying in a decent hotel and meeting lots of fabulously interesting, opinionated, talented articulate and passionate people. I loved having some time with my beloved little sister and the banter and craic were mighty altogether. The Ladies Tea Party was delightful and the award ceremony was organised and enjoyable. Everyone I met was warm and friendly and all were impressed at how well Damian and all his helpers had managed everything. New friendships were made and old ones strengthened.
It was delightful to return to my family. Gordon met me at the airport with the boys. Thomas blew kisses every time I looked around and smiled at me like a matinee idol, Duncan grinned and held my hand as we drove to pick Lady up from her friend's house. It was a rapturous reception.
Later I had a quick look at the blog which won in my category and was shocked to see that it only started on December 2nd. Now I'll be honest, when the shortlist was announced, I had a quick read through the 4 other "Specialist Blogs" and I thought that the only one that didn't stand a chance of winning was the one that won, Irish Economy. The blog content, while incredibly topical, seemed to me, to be written in a dry textbook style. I fully admit that I only spent a few minutes reading it, whereas I read many posts by the other bloggers, and personally,I was more impressed at their content, style, wit and the level of engagement they had with readers. And what I had taken on first glance to be a blogroll on the Irish Economy blog, was in fact the list of contributors- 24 in total. Each of the other 4 blogs shortlisted are written by just one person.
Now I'm confused about something. Perhaps people will think this is just sour grapes that I didn't win. It's not though...
I was a judge for this year's blog awards. Judging each person's quota of the massive list of nominated blogs began at the beginning of February, only 2 months after the Irish Economy blog commenced. But crucially, the awards nomination rules stipulated that, "to be nominated the Blog has to have been actively blogging between July 15th and December 15th 2008." As a judge, I took this to mean that to be eligible, all blogs (except those nominated for best new blog and best blog post) had to have regular posts in the period stipulated, not that the blog must have had some posts at any point in that time. It never occurred to me to use the 2nd possible meaning. For each blog I judged, I went to the archives and read a large selection of the posts written between July and December and ignored the rest so when I came across blogs that hadn't started until later in the year, I gave them as few marks as possible and wrote my reasons for the low mark in the allotted space. It now seems that other judges interpreted the nomination rules the 2nd way and I fear I have discriminated against many good blogs.
I would appreciate it if Damien or someone who knows, could clarify this. It's too late to do anything about it this year but I hope that by next year, it will be more obvious to those nominating and judging, exactly what the rules are.
PS, I'm really delighted that 3 of the winners were those I nominated; well done, Maman Poulet, Trust Tommy and The Cedar Lounge Revolution, and well done too all the other winners...even if some of you might be glad you weren't judged by me.