Before the award ceremony is held next week and this gets considered as a post by one of those bad sports who didn’t like not winning, I figured I’d pitch in on the current “it” thing on Lebanon’s social media scene.
First things first, I believe I have to commend the organizers for their work. They’ve been withstanding the barrage of not-constructive negativity well and devoting their time for this – free of charge.
Now, since I cannot, for the life of me, be absolutely gushing about anything, I feel like I have to give a few remarks which I hope are taken into consideration for the awards’ next iteration:
The nomination process was all over the place. I personally didn’t nominate myself nor anyone else for that matter. But I believe that, since databases in all of the awards’ major categories are present, perhaps it would have been better if the judging panel relied on those and narrowed down the nominees instead. Moreover, does the fact that someone randomly nominated a blog or an institution to a category mean the nominee is particularly representative of said-category?
As an example: is the most engaging tweep category truly representative of Lebanon’s most engaging tweeps? Doesn’t it lack some names such as @TawaNicolas, @MarkInHd, @TKHaddad or @Shadonium?
Some of the categories are either too broad or too ambiguous. For instance, my blog is nominated for “best news blog” along with several others, one being Naharnet which later pulled out of the competition to allow bloggers to compete among themselves. I personally think Naharnet should be the only one in this category because they are the only one really providing news. But they’re not a blog. And I don’t think we are really providing “news.” So which is it?
Another example that comes to mind is the best NGO/community category which has Lebanese Memes campaigning against several NGOs such as Donner Sang Compter and Foodblessed. Is it really fair for NGOs who are actively trying to save lives or change the way people think to compete with one of Lebanon’s most popular Facebook pages?
In a recent interview, Aline Chirinian – a member of the Online Collaborative running the awards – said that the NGO/Community category is the most voted on particularly because of Lebanese Memes. I personally find it nonsensical for them to win just because the category was made to include them. And Lebanese Memes are obviously winning.
The 50% judges/50% voting formula is fair. But it would have been better if we didn’t know how nominees stood among the judges. When the voting began, SMABeirut’s twitter account tweeted that nominees were listed in the descending order of judges’ points. If those that are not listed first were to have any “decent” shot at winning, they’d have to get a huge number of votes and I’m not sure how feasible that is with the judges re-voting on the categories later on. Revealing how the judges voted very early in the competition takes away from the competitive spirit.
I’ll take my case as an example. I’m fifth in the blog of the year category and last in the best news category. I’m not optimistic to the point of foolishness about my prospects and it’s more than okay. I’m having fun with the campaign more than anything else. After all, how many times does the Pope endorse someone? However, it would have been more interesting for me if I didn’t know that the judges prefer four other blogs over mine as the year’s best blogs.
Potential Winner Bias:
When members of the jury were announced, it was also made public that those members won’t be in for the running for any potential award. This affected Lebanese politician Nicolas Sehanoui who is, without a doubt, Lebanon’s most active politician on Twitter. However, as I was voting, I couldn’t help but notice that other categories also had some bias to some candidates which are involved in the organization of the Social Media Awards. As an example: Phoenicia Hotel is hosting the award ceremony and they are up for an award – conveniently first in their category as well. Another example: Alfa is both a sponsor and up for several categories.
Judging Panel Bias:
A question that can’t but be asked about the judging panel is the following: can they leave their own personal preference aside and judge a medium in which they are personally interacting with most of the nominated candidates and are on better terms with some than others?
I applaud you if you’re still reading till this point. Many have been telling me how these awards may not be very useful and that their purpose is misguided, spamming timelines in the process. Well, I think this whole thing is just for fun and better have our timelines spammed with this than with posts about the weather, no?
And in case you still haven’t voted for this blog (what are you waiting for, seriously?), please do.