Earlier this week I was cruising the blogisphere, making my rounds, when, as the French would say "I fell upon" (je suis tombée sur) a post dedicated to the practice of giving and receiving awards in the virtual world of our peers.
I paused, I read, I (understatement here) became mildly annoyed.
Let me paraphrase the content of the post for you: "I don't 'do' awards," the author explained.
The writer went on to point out she has received many, many awards and has never posted about them and that she felt odd being put into a position where said award might require the back and forth linking, the telling of personality traits or experiences, the passing on and so forth sometimes involved. She also noted she didn't like the feeling of guilt this could inspire. (Remember I'm paraphrasing.)
This admission was accompanied by the disclaimer that she was indeed pleased if these awards and the comments to her posts inspired others on one plane or another and she was grateful for that. I'm trying to be as fair as possible in the recounting.
The post was followed by a host of "here, here and right on," comments from readers who obviously share her sentiments.
OK, that's the background for the post that has been simmering in my mind ever since I fell upon it. I can't seem to let it go. C'est plus fort que moi and perhaps you'll find I'm over-reacting. It's possible.
This is what I think:
1.) When one is given a compliment or a gift, which I consider the smallest award to be, it deserves a simple, two-word response, "thank-you." (Just like most of us do in the real world in similar situations.)
2.) Once this compliment/gift is given to another that person owns it. It no longer belongs to the giver. Therefore the person who received the generous gesture may do with it as he or she feels is appropriate, i.e. re-gift, ignore the obligations attached to it (I have no problem with that btw), never post it on their blog. Fine. Remember he or she now owns the "award" it's theirs to do with as they please.
3.) However, in my opinion, the very least the person honored with this virtual token of appreciation can/should do is make a quick click over to the giver, followed by two words in the comments box, "thank you." C'est tout.
4.) What possible ulterior motive could the giver have? Let's say for whatever reason you don't like the person's blog; you don't want to be associated with it. You think it reflects badly upon your stellar reputation. The giver is "using" you to get more followers. Whatever. So what?
5.) Aren't we also out here to spread a little kindness, a soupçon of generosity? What's so time-consuming and unpleasant about a simple "thank you" even if one has a head full of fascinating thoughts to share on his or her blog?
6.) If we were writing in a vacuum we'd be spilling our thoughts and prose into a diary.
7.) Some see blogs as creative expressions, some to sell their creative expressions, others to vent or as some say to perhaps "inspire" others in some way, along the way. Why not? Who's to judge why any of us feel compelled to write into the abyss?
8.) And finally, the worst part for me: In the future, if I am given another compliment in the form of an award by a fellow blogger, my pleasure will be the same, but suddenly I feel if I pass it along the next person may feel unease, displeasure or annoyance.
The first award I received was from Stephanie at Bonjour Madame. I couldn't believe it. I didn't know "awards" existed, I was thrilled. At the time I had a handful of regular readers (family plus Carole and Marsi) and Stephanie gave me this enormous gift telling me she liked what I was doing.
You see the picture at the top? That's what I felt like on that day. I didn't even know how to link and pass on, and all the rest back then, but she made me very, very happy.
As I said, it's possible I'm overreacting.