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January 09, 2012

How Come My Blog/Podcast Wasn’t Nominated?

With last weeks announcement of the finalists for this years Social Security Bloggers Awards there has been the usual buzz about the awards, the Security Bloggers Network and the bloggers meet up.  I want to say from the outset that in total all of the blogs/podcasts nominated as finalists belong there.

Of course there are so many blogs and podcasts that inevitably some worthy ones don’t make the list. This year there has been some questioning of how we pick the finalists and questioning of why certain blog/podcasts were left out. I should say that it seems mostly centered in the podcast category.

As a result I have made a write in option available for qualified voters(more on that in a second) to write in their own selection for best podcast. So far I have a received a handful of write in votes.  That being said though, I wanted to go over how we pick the finalists and what the Social Security Bloggers Awards are all about.

First of all you should know that this year at RSA Conference we will be hosting the 6th annual Security Bloggers Meet up.  You can find out more about it at the RSA Conference blog for Bloggers Meet up, the Bloggers Meet up Facebook page and the Security Bloggers Network.

This is also the 4th year for the Social Security Bloggers Awards. Again you can read more about them on the links above. The idea behind the blogger awards was to recognize some of the leading bloggers in the security arena.  When I first came up with the idea I didn’t think people would get that excited about it.

In the first year of the awards we had judges nominate their choices for finalists (as we have every year since), then we let anyone who registered vote. Well it turned out like so many awards run by other organizations, nothing more than a popularity contest with some people trying to stuff the ballot box.  That was not the spirit that I envisioned with these awards.

The awards really grew out of the Security Bloggers Network which I started 6 or more years ago. While a blog or podcast does not have to be in the SBN to be considered or win an award, it was in that same sense of fostering a community among the security blogging space. 

So going forward I changed the voting for the awards. While our all star panel of judges still picked the finalists, voting was only open to security bloggers.  Each voter had to give their blog or podcast URL with their vote for us to verify. In this way it was an award “by the bloggers, for the bloggers”.  This of course drastically cut down the amount of votes cast, but made it a peer based award similar to the Screen Actor Guild SAG awards.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Each year I try to bring some fresh blood into the judges pool to get new views on what the best blogs and podcasts are.  I also refine and add new categories to hopefully better represent the market. But no matter what is done, there are always going to be some people who feel left out.

So for next year I am already thinking of how we can do this differently. I am open to suggestions. But I will reserve the right on behalf of myself and the bloggers meet up organizing committee to choose what we think is the best method. I want to keep the awards free from ballot box stuffing.

In the meantime I want you all to know that I and many others appreciate all of the great content that the security industry turns out in blogs and podcasts. Thanks to all of you for creating and consuming it. Being nominated or even winning an award is not the payback for why we do this, it is educating and joining in the conversation that keeps us doing it.  So please keep blogging and podcasting!

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