15 February 2012

Where the ABBAs (and 'Aid Blogging') Fall Short

The vote for the second Aid Blogger's Best Awards (ABBAs) just came to a close. There have been a few comments via the initial survey, the final vote and twitter that should be addressed.

The ABBAs in fall short in too many ways.

In the most recent edition all of the twitter nominees were men.  There are many many great women on twitter could have easily been listed and are deserving of a follow.* The reason that they were not listed is quite simple, I devised a nomination system that was rather long and ended up for some reason favoring men in the category.  When I trimmed it down to the finalists it came up all men.

The bigger problem is that the blogs are largely from the Global North and written in English. I have to plead guilty to this because I am limited by language and can only read blogs written in that form. Yes, that is a problem when trying to evaluate the 'best blogs.'  It appears the same can be said of my audience (which makes sense being that I write in English).

Additionally, trying to determine what is and is not an 'aid blog' can be a bit tricky. The fact is that Africa Is a Country is not an aid blog when thinking of the majority of what it covers. I would probably call it a culture blog, but that is still too narrow given the fact that they are likely to have posts on new music, politics in a given country and a criticism of a company's advertising campaign all in the same day. They do have posts about aid, but that is by no means the focus.

The reason I did this originally and continue to do so is to expand my own knowledge of discussions that surround aid, development, innovation, enterprise, etc. In doing so, I hope that this can introduce some new writers to a larger audience.

Because of all these things (and much more), I devised a contest for bloggers that was named after a Swedish pop band. The naming is quite intentional as a signal to how serious this voting should be taken.  If anything it should expose the gaps that I have just listed.

Thanks to everyone who voted. If you have any ideas, please write them into the comments. We have some new categories thanks to commenting and idea sharing and I would like to make this better.  At the core, I would love to continue to find ways to reach and share high quality writers from every part of the world. It is also exactly why I co-founded the Development and Aid World News Service.

*To name a few: @semhar, @Kalsoom28, @meowtree, @keshetbachen, @innovateafrica, @texasinafrica, and many many more.