Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bloggers' Night Out

Irish Blog Awards Alexander Hotel

Since my very own Skyroad was shortlisted in the photoblog category, my wife and I registered to attend the Irish Blog Awards, held in the bowels of The Alexander Hotel. Sam put on her finery, so I dressed in what passes for mine, the good blue jacket and black shirt. We needn't have bothered. Though many had dolled themselves up, code was decidedly casual. Most of those attending were about half my age. It reminded me of a student gig, the kind of thing I'd have queued for at UCD about a thousand years ago.

A wide, long conference room, with two screens, one halfway down to make sure the people at the back got a look. Onto these were projected the Blog Awards logo set on a blown-up webpage. We assumed that they would be displaying excerpts from people's blogs on these screens, but no. Oddly, (it seemed to me) we were treated to large snippets of GW Bush, taken from some press conference or other. His voice had been painstakingly dubbed into making dumb comments (Bushisms) that related to the different blog categories, interludes which served as intros to the announcement of the winners and the presentation of prizes (a trophy, a DVD player and bottle of Champers for each winner).

Since Twenty Major, for the third time, won in two categories (‘Most Humorous Post’ and 'Best Irish Blog'), I finally got a glimpse of him: a fine strapping lad, as I might have guessed. He has paid tribute to the event and its organisers on his blog, in a post that is, unusually for him, an expletive-free zone.

We left relatively early, but, altogether, it was an interesting night, and I was very pleased to get shortlisted, to know that some people (other than photographers on the Blipfoto site) have actually looked at my photojournal.

The Irish Blog Awards have been running for three years now. Apparently, although Ireland hasn't yet shown a great interest in blogging, the audience for these awards has been growing rapidly each year; the large conference room certainly seemed reasonably crowded (50% more than last year according to Twenty Major).

Given that practically every young person now has a Facebook page or some kind of online profile, I wonder how long it will be before the Irish Blog Awards bursts out of its enthusiastic youthful shell and becomes something very different, with more razzmatazz and louder media coverage, some kind of bloggers' equivalent to the Oscars, and if, when it eventually does, how this will affect the blogs themselves. Will some of the raw energy and inventiveness be lost? Maybe not; maybe, in fact the opposite: people who are oddly snotty about blogging will finally see that there is just as much (if not more) quality reportage, criticism, political analysis, humour, photography etc. etc. as can be found on the other media-tentacles.


Poet Bloggs said...

A few quick notes Mark -

The awards aren't plastic. (The dvd players might be though...)

2008 was the third Blog Awards.

I think it's fair to say that there was quite a lot of media coverage (RTE radio, TV, all national papers) and the sponsors involved were pretty high profile.

And the average age was definitely higher than half your age...

At least you enjoyed it. Sort of.

Mark Granier said...

Hi David,

I didn't know the awards were Waterford Crystal; they seemed plastic from a distance.

Nor did I know the blog awards were mentioned in the papers and on TV. Of course, I should have checked to verify the facts. But my point was that there did not appear (to me) to be any high profile coverage. I wasn't being sniffy about this, just going with the flow, since much was being made of the newness of the event, the fact that the audience was growing and that more and more people were blogging etc. I do believe that this can only get bigger.

Half my age would be 25, and there did not SEEM to be that many who looked older (though I may be mistaken, yet again).

As I said, I was grateful for making the shortlist and I did enjoy the night, though I should have had a meal before coming, which might partly explain my grumpy-old-man attitude. My one big gripe was having to sit through all the Bush stuff; his idiocy is an OLD joke, long past its sell-by date. Though I checked many of them out already, I would have been far more interested in seeing other bloggers' web pages, which were nearly always visually sophisticated and, I'm sure, in need of further exposure.

I have corrected accordingly, and thanks for putting me right.