being a judge for the Blogger Idol competition this last year. It was fun, but not without blog-worthy experiences.
For those of you not in the know, Blogger Idol is a writing competition. Over 200 (felt like 600) bloggers auditioned this year, and a council of judges had to pick their favorites. A Top 12 (13) was picked, and they squared off weekly in writing competitions. Immunities were granted, people were voted off the island, and controversial eliminations were rampant.
Back to my experiences.
I didn't want to share this information before the competition ended, because some people could have misinterpreted some of my comments for bias. Was I a little biased? Read and find out...
...yet you'd be surprised how many auditions received a 51, 52 or 53 without doing the extra credit...
Most of us adhered by the rules. Every now and then someone would forget. Or ignore. I dunno.
When reviewing auditions, here are a list of observations. If you auditioned and this applied to you, this is probably why you didn't get in. If you're thinking about competing in 2014 and want to stand a chance, make sure you're don't fit into any of these categories:
- Holy blogger-templates, batman! It surprised me how many people were still using basic, out-of-the-box layouts. Your blog is a reflection of you as a writer and you as a brand. 'Cookie cutter' layout screamed 'cookie cutter blog' to me, and you immediately lost 8-10 points on design alone.
- Everyone is a mommy blogger, even if you have a penis. MY. GOD. Kids are adorable. I've blogged about my children before as well. But come on... COME ON... that can't be all you write about. Even if it's a nice trick, a one-trick pony will never go far in a writing contest.
- (This one may call out 1-2 in particular... sorry) I know you like pink. It's a neat color. And I'm not against the pink layout, but when your link buttons are pink, and the test is a slightly different shade of pink, I can't read shit. They just look like mystery-squares with no purpose. That's a 50 dkp minus.
- You have 6 Facebook fans, but over 5,000 twitter followers? And both accounts have been open for the same time? WTF??
- You submit two posts to review. One is when you break up with your boyfriend, the other is your road to recovery. You mention you dated for less than 6 months. The posts are dated 16 months from each other. AND YOU STILL HAVEN'T MOVED ON. *backs away slowly*
- SPELLING, GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION.
- Your submission piece is 3,100 words - of which 2,500 is pure ramble. Do you have a 'you talk it types' program you use for your blog writing? Because OH MY BALLS some of these posts wanted to make me gouge my eyes out.
- Did I mention SPELLING, GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION?!?!?!?
As a blogger myself, I am most proud of my first 1-2 posts (go read 'em, I'll wait). Because of this, I'd usually go to a blog I liked and read their first few posts. First posts = first impressions, and it often gave be a better gauge of writing than the submissions did.
My favorite observations didn't come from the auditioners, but from the other judges...
|27! Because FUCK YOU.|
We did have a few rogue over-scoring judges (again, giving 53 out of 50 points, with no extra credit done...) but what I loved most were the rogue under-scoring judges.
I tried not to let the other judge's scores influence my marks, but you would notice patterns after a while. You saw clusters of 30s. 40s. High-40s. Marks would be very similar, with a minor deviation...
...mostly. One post was scored like this: 48, 50, 45, 43, 27, 44, 42
This confused me for a while. The final scores were an average score, and the top average scores made it to the finals. Was this to prevent non-favorites from getting in, in the hopes of getting your friends in? Or did the judge just NOT like the writing style at all?
But then I noticed it was more than one judge doing it. And they didn't always go rogue.
And then I found a post I didn't like, gave it a 34, and was the lowest score by 11 points...
Sooo I dunno.
Now that I've auditioned (2011) and judged (2013) I have a new insight on how things work in the BI world. Will I audition again? Probably not. Will I judge again? Maybe. There were some headache-inducing times, but I did discover about 10 new bloggers I love to read. That alone made the process completely worth it.