Intrepid Tales on Insulin

Type 1 life adventures

Why I cannot accept the Versatile Blogger Award

Rather than nominating 15 bloggers (as per the terms for me to accept the VBA) I’m listing 5 reasons outlining my decision to decline:

1. The VBA is not really an award.  It’s essentially a blog chain letter.

I used to throw those in the bin at school, mostly because their content was trite rubbish. The Choose Your Own Adventure books were way more fun to discover where written trails could lead.

My first thought on reading about the VBA was that it was a clever way to connect people.  But when it came to nominating 15 bloggers and sucking them into the vortex, it all felt rather superficial and contrived.

When a post genuinely interests, inspires me or makes me think, I’m content to leave a comment.

2. Attracting readers is not the main purpose of my blog.

My friend Bernadette recently asked me the why question when we attended an informal writing workshop. At the time I was not sure of the answer.  Now I know I am essentially writing the blog for me.

It’s an indulgent catalyst for catharsis and a tool for change.  I’ve thrown myself some challenges and the blog is part of contributing to and charting the progress. But most importantly I have found that the regularity of posting gives me momentum and is keeping me accountable to myself, in a way that I don’t think a private journal would.  I don’t spend buckets of time trying to perfect and overthink something (which is what I usually do). It gets posted and I move on to the next thing.

And as I progress personally, my satisfaction with the tone and content of the blog will improve. Chel reminded me last week of her participation in the 365 project where she took and uploaded a self-portrait every day for a year.  It was good to hear again about the process of that sometimes angsty expression of the personal in public, across a transition stage of life.

Another friend had suggested the blog initially as a business to facilitate the hiking project.  I remember challenging his contention that business is just business and so I should prepare myself to keep lists, respond positively to everyone and cultivate all avenues of contact. In my personal life I just don’t have the capacity or desire to pretend to like something or someone. I can pull it off in a professional context, although I did once have my lovely friend and boss Rho Den lament that my face tends to give away what I really think way too obviously.

3. I’m channelling Holden Caulfield and his distaste for phoneys.

It took me a while to register that folks hit the like button on posts essentially without reading stuff.  This seems to be about getting their mug shot on as many pages as possible to facilitate traffic to their own site.  I get it and I don’t begrudge it. It’s just not how I roll though because it feels fake and contrived.  It’s not establishing real community or connection.  I guess the popularity contest doesn’t really interest me – ideas do.  And that is for what I shall scour and support with my own comments or likes, which are meaningful rather than hollow attempts at self-promo.

4. I don’t bleat very well. 

It’s part of the reason I resisted social media forever. Not that this makes me a leader. I’m sure I’m not the Lone Ranger – more like the umpteenth millionth person to rail against the many superficial aspects of the online world. But the predominant notion of follow does sit uncomfortably with me. And at times I have admittedly found myself on the edge of feeling the pressure to politely follow or like. But this nomination thing is like a line in the sand.

Am I following people? Yep, absolutely but not without thought and not with the express intent of building my own cult.  An emerging Melbourne band followed me on Twitter this week and I could not actually find their music online yet for me to decide whether I liked them. So I sent them a message asking where I could listen to them. Why would I blindly follow them? Their only response was to unfollow me. Classic.

This rant does not mean that I don’t appreciate the internet as an information and connection source.  I’m enjoying lots of blogs, tweets and divergent communities and the thoughts and advice coming from them, including the Diabetes Online Community, which I had no idea about before embarking on this project.

5. Gratitude, recognition or kindness is diminished if it comes with an expectation of reciprocity

The scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours ethos does my head in.  It’s superficial and hollow and runs the risk of rendering things meaningless. It’s my intent to show real or genuine appreciation, not that articulated out of any false sense of politeness or etiquette.

Having said all of this I hope not to offend VBA or anyone who engages with it – it’s my stance for me.  I appreciate that Tammy selected me as one of the 15 bloggers she chose to nominate. I like her blog because her struggle with chronic illness and her intent to make things better for herself is of genuine interest to me.  And that’s why I’ll continue read it, not out of any obligation because she nominated me and I feel compelled to join some gang.

Nomination link is at – Look, I’ll even throw in the VBA link for free…


9 comments on “Why I cannot accept the Versatile Blogger Award

  1. njd1insulin

    P.S. Reason #2 doesn’t in anyway mean I want to discourage people from reading or genuinely liking or commenting…welcome, welcome and all that. A big audience is just not the driving force.

    • inthedarkshadowofimagination

      Great (in a non-sycophantic way) post and comment.

      • njd1insulin

        Ha! Thank you. Knew you’d get where I was coming from.

  2. Anita Narayan

    Nat, I almost fell over when I read that band unfollowed you. What a bizarre response. Classic, indeed! You’d think they’d want their music heard… Or is that too old school…?

    • njd1insulin

      I think the new school rule is hype first, product second. I checked their Facebook, and their home page, which had nothing underneath. I looked for them on SoundCloud and was going to try Bandcamp where all the cool kids hang out…nothing. They’re a new duo who list a couple of gigs they’ve done, that was all to date. I suspected they were trying to build a blind follow fan base, which is kind of why I contacted them. Either that or I was being an IT numpty, which we also know to be a plausible possibility. It’s funny and sort of symptomatic of the marketing world we live in where meaningless contact is used to create the illusion of popularity, which snowballs into more perceived popularity as people FOLLOW. Until you become a tall poppy of course, and then the rules of engagement change.

      • njd1insulin

        So Nit, I suspect it was less hassle to unfollow than to explain their strategy!

  3. Anita Narayan

    Oh gawg.

    • njd1insulin

      I might use that and see if it takes off. Oh, wait, I’d need followers for that…

  4. Anita Narayan

    Oh gawd, even ;)

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