Sunday, August 09, 2009

Lessons Learned in Organizing a Writing Project


The 3rd year of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs writing project has given me a live preview on what I mentioned in the blogging ahead segment of the book - Blogging from Home.

This year's winners list is something that I'm very proud of for the following reasons:
  • Masa - Real People
    There was a notion in the past that blogging was somewhat an elite activity for the resources and time required to actively maintain one. However, our winners this year represent people of various economic status and some are even going through crisis challenges. This year winners has shown that blogging can no longer be seen as an elitist activity - especially in the Philippines.
  • Ageless
    This year has strongly proven that one can excel in blogging regardless of age as our winners roster comprised of bloggers from various age groups and profession.
  • Community spirit
    I think they key in winning this year is all about genuinely reaching out and being part of communities. The top 10 represents bloggers who do not hesitate to converse, exchange information, and learn from their peers online.

On the administration side, this is the most challenging year so far for the following reasons:

  • More entries
    I was hoping for more entries but what I did not expect is that nearly half of them will be submitted on the last 5 days of the writing project (July 26 to 30). As a result, the one-week final count and preparation time was quite chaotic.

    Fortunately, as in the past two years, several bloggers also took this opportunity to observe and learn by making their own tally sheet using information submitted in the comments section, weekly summary, and the masterlist. The stream of e-mail reminders from August 1 to 7 has helped a lot in providing the necessary check and balance on this one.

    For next year, will certainly allot a minimum of ten days from the deadline to the winners announcement date to be more rigorous in the final checks.

  • Sponsors
    This is the first time that we required entries to mention the sponsors if they like to be included in the raffle. Our updating requests have caused inconvenience and irked some. We got suggestions for the use of a program script next year to avoid this hassle.

  • Offline entries
    This is the first time I encountered a situation where some entries were offline during the final count for one reason or another. We asked the bloggers concerned for a replacement entry that can be posted in another site. Those unable to provide were removed from the masterlist.

  • Transparency
    In the past two years, I receive clarificatory e-mails about entries - checking if they got included in the weekly summary or not. This year was the first time we got something similar although the questions were more broad and no specific blog url entries mentioned.

    One way this concern was handled is by exposing our spreadsheet count. In the process though, it created a new set of problems where some got disheartened to participate as they felt the winners are already clear earlier on. Some also expressed worries about their blog being exposed to spammers since the spreadsheet is already a database of new blogs.

    To work-around this, I have provided a list of blog entries to those who worry that their votes not being counted accurately for cross-checking with the hope that we'll get a heads-up in case we missed any for our immediate cross-check as well.

Are we going to have another Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs writing project next year? As of this writing, yes I still want to do it as the writing project has always taught me the following for the past 3 years in various ways:

I thank all participants, supporters, and sponsors for your patience, understanding, and support to this humble writing project. More power to you all!

Related notes: