Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Life After About.com Awards

I am writing this before these awards are over. Some of you do not realize that this contest has been going on since February 11. Many people did not come into the game until a week ago when the race became frantic. Three and a half weeks of emails, Facebook messages, Tweets and every other gimmick known to the technical and non-technical world of promotion has been used, reused and then regurgitated once more. If I have friends and family left after this, I will be surprised.

In a moment of lucidity, I thought about Hartley's Life with 3 Boys and the other blogs trying to do the same things I pride myself in - spreading the word about children with special needs, trying to connect with others and enlighten others about our situation. Something about this race seems contrary to that purpose.

Then, my competitive streak takes over, and I am at it again.

Some family members have asked what will I do after this is over. Not to worry, something else will take its place. I think Ben's epilepsy issues are about to take on a life of their own. I foresee another hospital visit in our future. Amazing Race, yet another competitive challenge, is this Saturday - must study my city's history, design costumes, test Ryan on his knowledge, convince Ryan to wear a cape and stretch! And then it looks like I may be facilitating more leadership and team building activities for local groups in the near future. So what I am saying is - life will go on.

But I do have a lot of questions to ponder. 

Please mull them over with me.

I would love to hear others' thoughts on this subject:

Was it worth it?

Would I do it again?

Was this the best method to gain a larger audience for my site? Other sites?

Was this a healthy competition?

Was awareness raised to new groups of people?  Or were we preaching to the choir?

What are About.com's reasons for sponsoring the award contest?

How many ways can people suggest to cheat the voting system?

Finally, why isn't there a trophy (that's from my 5 year old son)?

I will be posting my thoughts as well as comments from others later this week.


  1. These are good questions, Vanessa, and I'm glad you're asking them. This was my first time hosting the Readers' Choice Awards on my site, part of a larger contest across a number of About.com sites that's been going on for a few years. I had hoped it would be a fun way to get some attention for some great special-needs resources. And certainly, as you have hoped to get more readers for your site, I have hoped to get more readers and traffic for mine. In addition to being an About.com guide, I'm the parent of two children with special needs, and my work on the site helps support my family. I work hard on my content and want to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. So I'd hoped this would be good for all of us.

    I did not at all expect the level of interest and competitiveness this would draw, especially since, as your son so appropriately points out, there is no trophy. All four of the categories have close two-way races with thousands of votes cast. At this point, it seems impossible that four finalists and their followers won't be severely disappointed and feel that they've wasted their time, and I feel terrible about that. I'm doing what I can to bring attention to all the finalists; I'd like everybody to feel that they've been a winner in some way. But I've got a lot to think about, too, in terms of how I want to conduct this thing if I participate next year. I hope, in the end, after the frenzy dies down, that this will have been a good experience for you.

    I'd like to remind your readers that, after the voting ends tonight, it will still be possible to support eSpecially Ben by leaving comments about why you love the blog at http://specialchildren.about.com/u/ua/rca2011/Especially-Ben.htm. There are some very nice comments there already, and they'll stay up long after the contest is over.

  2. Well said. I love learning about the mentor books,childrens' books and other blogs. At the end of the day we are all in a battle and if one of wins then all of us win!!!


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