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Deconstructing blogging: Nikolai Nolan

by Giles Turnbull -- 2002/02/08

In the first of a series of interviews on WriteTheWeb, Bloggie awards creator Nikolai Nolan talks about why he organises them.

WriteTheWeb: Why did you start the bloggies?

Nikolai Nolan: In mid-2000, there was an idea going around that popular webloggers were on an "A-List," and many complained that these popular webloggers didn't deserve to be popular. I was curious about which blogs would be chosen as "best" if it was left up to the entire Web, so I began the Weblog Awards.

WtW: What do you get out of it?

NN: A lot of stress. :) The Bloggies became more popular than I expected them to be, so my personal site, Fairvue Central, gets many extra visitors, but other than that, it's just part of my hobby of developing things on the Web. I tabulate the votes, I post the results, and I pay for the Weblog of the Year prize. My weblog itself isn't that spectacular, so the Weblog Awards are my way of contributing to the weblog community, like I do with some of my other features.

WtW: What's your take on weblogging as a meme? Is is a passing trend, or something that has really made a difference to the internet?

NN: I wouldn't say that blogging is a miracle innovation of the Web, but the idea of weblogs has given many sites a foundation. Someone who may have no content for a personal site might have the skill of browsing the Web and blogging what he or she finds. And weblogging isn't a passing trend. There have been weblogs since the beginning of the Web, and they'll never die out.

WtW: That said, the Bloggies too - how important do you think they are? Not to you, but to others?

NN: Some people may get worked up about the competition, but it's generally understood that the Bloggies aren't the "official" award for weblogs. They were just the first of their kind, and have held prominence because of that. There isn't an "Academy of Webloggers" who chooses the best sites.

Sure, there's no reason not to be proud if one wins a Bloggie, but I do the Weblog Awards for the fun of it, and I want all the people who participate to have fun too.

WtW: What kind of comments do you get about the bloggies? Do some people take it all a bit too seriously?

NN: There's no problem with people taking it too seriously; it instantly became the authorative award for weblogs, and people don't seem to mind that. What I usually get complaints about is that people think it's a popularity contest, and therefore it is useless and demeaning.

This probably stems from the "A-List" resentment. People also will disregard the procedures (which mention that it's a public vote) and complain to me when a weblog they don't like is nominated. I say that many popular weblogs are popular because they are good, so if half the winners are the most popular in their category, that's logical.