The year 2014 is not yet a week old, and still the awards love continues unabated. This past January 1 (New Year’s Day), the Half-Eaten Mind had been nominated for a new and freshly-pressed accolade, ironically named the “I’m Not Featured on Freshly Pressed Award”. This is a brand-new award devised by Thailand-based blogger Don Charisma, the legend behind another recently established blogging gift, the Innovative Blogger Award, which this blog picked up in December 2013.
Those of you in the know are aware that the Half-Eaten Mind uses WordPress as our default (and only) blogging platform. As part of their operations, the organisation behind WordPress, Automattic Inc. have for many years run what some would describe as the ‘Oscars’ of the blogosphere. It’s a little thing called ‘Freshly Pressed’, and for many bloggers, it is the biggest of crowning glories.
In a nutshell, Freshly Pressed is WordPress’ selection of blog articles which have made an impact in some way. Perhaps they have a new way of telling a life situation, are written wittily, have great photos or have that “OMG!!” factor that has made them turn viral and blow up the Interwebz. Every day, the editors and staff at Automattic’s headquarters choose eight individual selections from hundreds of thousands of posts and articles going online. These are scooped up and put on display on the somewhat discreetly designed ‘Freshly Pressed” page which is available to every blogger. Technically, a blogpost that makes it to FP can be about anything, as long as it is enlightening, inspiring, entertaining and/or it gets people talking.
Apart from the obvious promotion that your blog gets in its name, being featured on FP has the additional bonus of attracting more traffic hits and legions of followers and engaged new readers. Also as a parting gift, you receive a special “Featured on Freshly Pressed” badge for display on your blog’s sidebar, which ups the boasting rights and fills the comments sections with a steady stream of congratulations, oohs and aahs, if you’re in to that sort of thing.
However the FP system has come up for criticism in some quarters. Many bloggers claim that the FP selectors generally only go for stories, poetry, parenting articles and other mushy stuff. Blogs that deal with more serious, less of the archetypal “meadows-and-sunbeams” material, such as the civil war in Syria or abuses by major pharma companies for example, are less likely to make FP, at least in my observations. That is not to say that serious subjects are ignored, but you would have a steeper hill to climb. Writing from a personal viewpoint or an angle or hook that has not been done before would perhaps help your case. Nevertheless many bloggers do dream of one day making it Freshly Pressed, because being featured up there with the ‘creme de la creme’ of the WP blogging world is one gigantic ego boost, and many of them do deserve it.
Due to those above criticisms, Don Charisma had created what the Half-Eaten Mind describes as an ‘anti-award’, dedicated to those bloggers who probably do deserve an FP moment, but haven’t yet made the cut. It is a very competitive race to get there, and chances for an individual blogger, even one with writing prowess far greater in real life (i.e. book authors) than in cyberspace, are slim though not impossible, when you consider the millions of blogs carried on WordPress.
The INFOFPA (I cannot be bothered to constantly copy and paste the full title of this award) is exclusive to DonCharisma.org. The Don created this award as, like 99.9% of other bloggers out there (his quoted figures), he has not been featured on FP. Some observers may call it a case of ‘sour grapes’, but I would consider this award as a protest against the system, much like the Guy Fawkes masks worn by Anonymous protesters. The Half-Eaten Mind commiserate with him; we haven’t got an invite to the VIP clique ourselves either. While the creation of the award is a small commentary of the difficulty of wheeling a good article past human editors who obviously have their own biases about what constitutes a ‘Freshly Pressable’ article, it is mainly just for a bit of fun.
The Don has created four badges to choose from, which are all humorously shameless ripoffs and retakes on the original FP badge and uses a similar layout and colour scheme. One of the badges incorporates the Don’s distinctive cartoon of a man wearing sunglasses while nonchalantly oozing cool and charisma, while another one makes reference to the trendy, yet historical ‘Keep Calm’ posters. All nominees selected by Don Charisma are in his words “…all very inspiring and positive people, whom I’m very proud to call friends, or as close to friends as it gets on WordPress. All of them have many “Freshly Pressed” posts in them, and their blogs already contain freshly pressed material as far as I’m concerned“.
These are the rules for the INFOFPA as laid down on DonCharisma.org:
1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the “The I’m NOT Featured On Freshly Pressed Award”.
2. Write a blog post and tell us the blog(s) you have chosen- there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required- and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.
3. Include in your blog post a paragraph about why you’d like to be on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed OR a paragraph on why you couldn’t care less about Freshly Pressed. Up to you
4. Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them- (please don’t alter the instructions or the badge!)
5. Come over and say hello to the originator of the “The I’m NOT Featured On Freshly Pressed Award” via this link: http://DonCharisma.org/2014/01/01/the-im-not-featured-on-freshly-pressed-award
6. And as a winner of the award- please add a link back to the blog that presented you with this award, and then PROUDLY display the award on your blog.
7. If you ever do get officially “Freshly Pressed” then take down this award badge and display the official “Freshly Pressed” badge instead.
WHY I WANT TO BE FRESHLY PRESSED (WELL SORT OF!!)
I like awards. Most people do. Aside from the joy and elation that courses intensely through every muscle fibre and bone in your body when you get chosen for an award, it is nice to appreciate that someone, somewhere, out there, who may not even know you personally has decided that you, yes YOU!!…deserves to receive a big chunk of credit. All due to the now widely noticed fact that your proud self only tripped, fell and created something that you have slogged out and busted your balls on, and has given you a token of their appreciation for your hard work. I appreciate each and every award I receive and am always grateful. Experiencing the chance to be shown on the FP page means I have been appreciated for the hard work and energy I have poured ceaselessly into the Half-Eaten Mind. As a journalist my craft exists because of the consumption and appreciation of its readers and contributors. Indeed the whole point of being a reporter, at least in one angle, is that other people are picking up the paper or clicking the mouse and taking time out to read your words and absorb the message you are conveying. Indeed for any artist, of whatever medium – and I do consider journalism an art of sorts – their very survival depends on getting eyes pointing in the direction of their work. Having said that, if even if no-one came to visit HEM, I would still write and craft because I enjoy writing and blogging. It is about keeping my talents alive. After all, if you don’t use it, you will lose it. Being on FP will mean more fellow bloggers seeing what I have to offer. I can grow the Community and have more friends to share experiences with and more blogs to visit and enjoy. Getting FP’ed means I have passed the mark as far as real-life editors are concerned. If they think I am good enough to appear on their baby, their special page of the best bloggers of today, then I know in my heart and in the blog dashboard’s statistics, that I have made it as a writer. This is not just about flashing around like a peacock and getting in people’s faces, followed by running to the shopping mall to pick up an Armani suit, because suddenly I’m a minor blogging celebrity. No, being FP’ed means that in the future, if I apply for a reporting job and the interviewer is a bit uncomfortable with my lack of on-the-job experience, I can jump in and say “But wait, I was selected for the prestigious ‘Freshly Pressed’ programme after blogging for so many years…etc etc…“. All I would then have to do is explain what I meant by that and that vacancy is almost there for the taking.
I say ‘sort of’ though, because as I said before, Freshly Pressed is a highly competitive race. Although I do put out a fair amount of personal writing, my main crux is journalism, i.e. news writing, and even there I generally rely on other news sources as I have neither the time nor the finance to go out and pursue my own news stories. As the FP generally features entirely original and emotive writing, I have less of a chance than many other bloggers. The race to the finish line is fierce and I happen to have a pegleg. Yeah maybe I can still make it, but only under God’s grace. More likely than not, God has other plans for me, and there will be wooden splinters all over the racing track while I am walking drunkenly in a small circle. Furthermore there is the fact I am a humble guy. I’m not one to blow my own trumpet. You will never see me rock up to an awards ceremony at London’s swankiest five-star hotel, suit freshly-pressed, champagne flute in hand, doing the whole gushing Hollywood starlet at the Oscars thing, telling everyone why I deserved this award and how great I am blah blah blah. Too modest for that shizz. I admit I would get more than a bit red-faced at suddenly becoming the darling of the WordPress editorial team, well, one of eight. Yes I would be a bit proud and let it get to my head a little. I would do something special writing or graphic wise to commemorate getting FP’ed. Who wouldn’t. But then life goes on. The cheering, the accolades and the clouds of confetti will inevitably reduce to a trickle. There’s another eight bloggers to have their 24 hours of shiny sparkling fame tomorrow. I am modest about these things, as much as I love them. I like to keep my feet on solid ground and not float away with the ego fairies on a cloud of self-adulation. The fact that here on the Half-Eaten Mind, I keep my awards on the same page as links to some blogging directories is testament to that. It’s not quite storing your Oscars in the bathroom. After all, these awards were given out of kindness by my dear blogging friends, and I owe to them to show my clear respect and appreciation that they chose me, but for me, all awards, including the seminal and authoritative Freshly Pressed, are perks and bonuses that come with the job. I’m more about creating copy that is engaging, informative and educational that attracts and retains loyal readers, who then come away learning something new. The feedback I get from the HEM community, the daily views, trackbacks and pingbacks from other blogs and websites, and the loving and supportive comments, mean a lot more to me personally than appearing on a Top Eight charting bloggers page for a day and then being forgotten about.
The ten nominees I have chosen to recieve the INFOFPA are:
1. InfinitelyRemote Blog – http://infinitelyremote.wordpress.com/
2. Petite Magique – http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/
3. franciscojaviertostado.com – http://franciscojaviertostado.com/
4. hairballexpress – http://hairballexpress.wordpress.com/
5. Love Life♥ – http://loveriennelife.wordpress.com/
6. Mother Nature – http://asterisk15.wordpress.com/
7. Gleaner Hall Ltd – http://gleanerhall.wordpress.com/
8. Ann – A Friend of Jesus 2013 – http://afriendofjesus2013.com/
9. BEING ME FROM A TO Z – http://beingmefromatoz.com/
10. Kaligrafi Nusantara – http://kaligrafinusantaraonline.wordpress.com/
Congratulations to all nominees, and to Don Charisma, I extend the warmest of handshakes, the heartiest of namastes and maybe I’ll throw in a hug too. Thanks so much for nominating me, Don, and here’s to one day making it big on Freshly Pressed.