Blog North Awards 2014: Enter, nominate… Win?

Kate Feld

The Blog North Awards is back, choosing the very best of blogging goodness – but are blogs still relevant?

“Oh my God, you still have a blog? How cute. That’s like, so 2005.”

This is the voice of someone who would have had a blog back then, when it was all the rage. First, a personal blog, then a food blog. Since then they moved on to a Tumblr site, Instagram, Pintrest and Medium. Now, they’re expending all their social media energies on something mere mortals like us haven’t even heard of yet. But, yeah, we’re still blogging – and, as Creative Tourist’s Top 25 Blogs series so ably demonstrates, lots of us are still reading and writing blogs. The only difference is that blogs have become such an accepted part of the media landscape that nobody makes a big deal about them anymore.

Except for us. At the Blog North Awards, currently in its ninth year, we’re still dorkishly excited about blogging. I just read this good post on Elisabeth Spiers’ blog. The original blogger at seminal NYC media blog Gawker, which spawned a hugely profitable media empire, Spiers single-handedly invented a certain style of blogging – smart, literate, snarky – and then went off to do lots of other things. Lately she’s come back to personal blogging. Why? Just like writing your favourite band’s name on your jeans when you were 14, writing a blog is like writing your favourite band’s name on the internet, at whatever age.

The 2014 Blog North Awards is open for entries until September 8 – so get involved!

We figure out what we love by writing about it. It’s also about choosing what to spend our time on – whether we’re on a quest to visit every railway station in Britain, cook our way around the world, or open people’s eyes to the realities of life on the margins of their own society. Hell, you can write a blog that combines your interests in photographing your pet ferret in cute outfits and The Grand Old Opry. It may appeal to a small audience, but it will definitely be an enthusiastic one. (Oh God, will someone please write this blog?)

Increasingly, people are seeing blogging as a path to career success… Or at least free stuff. You can parlay a successful food blog into a cookbook deal, a film blog into a paid reviewing gig, a music blog into guest lists at gigs. But Blog North Awards’ favourite blogs over the years might seem unlikely candidates for career advancement. Gonzo junk food reviews. Razor sharp feminist rants. Pictures and songs that capture one person’s experience of a single moment. What they have in common is originality and good writing (well, we are part of Manchester Literature Festival) – and, well, the internet’s a big place. We run this competition to help good blogs find a bigger audience. It’s hugely gratifying, then, that so many of our winners have gone on to get book deals, national media attention or paid work following their win.

The 2014 Blog North Awards is open for entries until September 8 – so get involved! If you’re a blogger, you can enter your own blog. If you know of a good blog (or three) written in the North, you should enter them. We’ll post the shortlist later this month, and ask for you – the public – to help us choose the winners. And be sure to join us at the Blog North Awards on 8 October at the Deaf Institute in Manchester. We’ll have readings from the year’s best bloggers, some micro-fiction antics from Manchester’s mighty Flashtag collective, and the premiere of a specially-commissioned short story from Claire Dean, set on Manchester’s mysterious Pomona Island. And, we’ll announce the winners too. A fun night out is guaranteed. Ferrets in cowboy gear optional, of course.

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