One of my proudest moments was winning the gold award as best expat blogger from Slovakia. While I realize this was not the equivalent of winning France or Italy or England (or any of a dozen other countries), the www.expatsblog.com site had been highlighted in the New York Times. Growing up, I read the Sunday Times every week. This affiliation gave the blog site gravitas – at least to me. In my mind, elbowing out six competitors for the Slovak crown was a big deal.
This morning I responded to the email soliciting my 2013 application. “I regret to inform you that theworldinbetween will not be entering the awards competition.” After reading the new voting process, which will rely solely on the magnitude of social input, I knew I had no chance of repeating my victory. Plus, I would have to compete for the marginally more competitive title of best expat blogger Hungary.
Social media is the bane of my existence. I have 41 facebook friends many of whom do not know how to comment on, share or like my posts. In the last competition, I garnered 16 “likes” which put me well below the first round threshold of 100 likes. The winner put up 1283. I have decided to relinquish my crown.
Hey, no hard feelings. I realize blogs exist for reader traffic. Quality is a bonus, but not necessarily the goal. Of course the best of blogs are those where quality and social popularity coexist. The most prolific social bloggers drive the most traffic and the most value. I understand the voting rationale and the business model underneath it. So I spent the afternoon googling “mature blog competitions” which may have resulted in the most depressing day I have spent in a quite while. As my three kids read this, they are texting each other – in a reminder of another skill I can’t master – “But I thought she was an IT manager?”
One day my son called bemoaning that he had purchased concert tickets but now could not attend. “Ryan, make some posters really quickly and put them around campus. I realize you don’t have much time, but hurry. It is worth a try.” “No mom. It’s OK. I sold them while we were talking. I just put them up on facebook” This could explain the socially adept 20 somethings pushing us IT elders out of our jobs. IT is a young person’s game. My social media skills would struggle to rival a group of gifted and talented middle school students.
As for the contest, I am not too disappointed. First prize is a 500$ Amazon gift certificate. I could never use it. In over two years of living in Slovakia and Hungary, we have never successfully received a package. Sometimes our bell rings during the day, and we believe it is the mailman. We sprint down the stairs but whoever rang is gone. I picture the postman frantically jogging down the street while tossing our package into the bushes – dear God, were they speaking English!!?? I guess we all have our comfort zone issues.
This afternoon, I checked my email half expecting a note imploring me to reconsider. But there was no such note. Instead, I found an email soliciting my insurance business from AARP. Somehow, I felt vindicated in my decision.