Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blog Of The Day!

Thanks to a contact I made via Yahoo Answers, I was able to come up with a cool script that randomly chooses a new blog each day.

We imported the list of nominations for the Blogisattvas, so the blogs that are chosen are one's you guys have all recommended others to check out. This is just another way that we think will help garner a little more attention to  blogs other's may or may not have checked out yet.

The "Blog Of The Day" has been up for a few days now, just tucked under the fold you might say, that way we could make sure it would run properly. Now, it is "above the fold" for all to see.

There has been no human intervention in choosing the "Blog Of The Day". The code randomly selects a new blog every 24 hours. And, like I said, the list for the script to choose from has come from you guys.

We hope this exposes some great blogs and as always thank for your interest and support of the Blogisattva Awards!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blogging Summary

Thanks to all who responsed to the survey we ran last week, here is a results summary of the rather unofficial, unscientific poll.

As you can see of the 40 responses we got, under one year was first with 35%, and between 1-2 years was last with only 15%. I think this shows us a couple of different interesting things about the Buddho-blogosphere, which I think were fairly expected. (Obviously these are just our opinions of course.) Firstly, I think this shows how difficult making it past the 12 month mark for new bloggers can be. Many folks do tend to take up blogging and begin with a lot of enthusiasm, ideas and energy, but as you can tell by the numbers after the first year, quite a few bloggers stop writing. Sometimes it is rather difficult to come up with new writing topics and interesting ideas to keep that energy and enthusiasm going. As well, it does take quite awhile to build up some return readers and followers. This can be a bit disheartening to some after awhile, even though becoming a well known Buddhist blogger perhaps isn't their intention to begin with.

Also, as you can see, and I think this is mostly true, if a writer hangs in there for a couple of years, they do tend to stick around and continue blogging for quite sometime. Here are 10 tips that may help new Buddhist bloggers build a readership, keep a steady flow of ideas and perhaps have a more enjoyable time blogging.
  • Don't push yourself too hard, too fast. Be easy on yourself and don't be afraid to take a step back every now and then.
  • Get involved with the online community; join other Buddhist blogs, comment on other posts and perhaps ask to exchange being added to each others blog roll if they are a blog you enjoy reading.
  • Reading others blogs is also a great way for you not only to learn about other peoples practice and what they are writing about, its also a great way to get new ideas for topics to write about yourself.
  • Making a post complimenting another blogger on something they wrote that impressed you can go a long way to building new friendships and getting a dialogue going.
  • If you have time, get a twitter account to promote your blog as well as to converse with other Buddhist tweeters out there. There are tons!
  • When an idea strikes you for a post, jot it down on a piece of paper. Don't ever feel bad about having several partially finished posts started at once. When the moment is right, you'll find the words to finish them.
  • Speak in your own voice about how your practice is coming, or about your understandings of the dharma. Don't be afraid to bring up controversial topics that interest you too.
  • Learn about the different sites around the web you can register your blog to point new readers to your stuff. It only takes one great post to get a loyal reader.
  • When people leave comments on the blog, take some time to thank them and interact with them. 
  • Don't let negative feedback get you down. Sometimes the criticism isn't constructive and should be ignored, but many times you might pick up a tip or two, and make a new friend.
We have reached over 225 blogs and websites that have been added to the directory here already. Don't forget to add yours. Also, Nate has been hard at work on something special we are hoping to unveil in the next few days. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How long have you been blogging/writing online about Buddhism?

We thought it might be fun and interesting to do an informal anonymous survey about how long folks have been blogging about Buddhism. If you’re a blogger/writer/journalist feel free to answer the question below. You can also see the real time results by clicking on 'See Previous Responses' after you submit the form, or just click here. We will publish the final results up in a week or two.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

About the Directory and Nominations

We first wanted to take a second to thank a few of the Buddhist publications for their support and encouragment, and also for getting the word out to the Buddhist community in general. So a big thank you to Elephant Journal, Shambhala Sun and Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. We also want to thank Anoki Casey of BuddhaBadges and DharmaDots for the fantastic graphics he did for the site, and for helping us out as an administrator! I think everyone is enjoying this process tremendously, and it should be a lot of fun as we get closer to November.

Secondly, just a few items of note about the blog directory;
  • It doesn't have to be the blog or site owner that adds a site to the directory, anyone can add a site.
  • The blog directory and the nominations have nothing to do with each other. The directory is a simple link list to Buddhist sites, and being added there does not mean that the site was nominated for an award.
  • There have been a couple of requests to add a non-English language category to the blog directory, so we have. While the awards are for English language Buddhist blogging, the directory is for any type of Buddhist site.
  • Edit: Whatever people enter down as information about what type of blog they are is what I enter in the directory. There are only three expections, if its an academic or Buddhist Resource blog, I do make sure that they are somewhat conforming to that. Also, any sites selling products is fine as long as it isn't the primary intention and focus of the site.
There are over 150 sites added already, so feel free to browse through them and check them out, and of course contact us if you see any errors or changes that need to be corrected.

Lastly, just as a reminder, for blogs to be considered for an award they have to be nominated. So don't forget to nominate your favorite bloggers. We encourage all bloggers, who may not be known to a larger audience yet, to nominate themselves if they so choose. We want to get the word out about all the wonderful writers and blogs out there. Also, a nomination is not a vote, so adding a site once is enough to enter them into the nomination database.

And as always, feedback and ideas are encouraged and welcome!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Welcome to the Panel TMcG!

We'd like to welcome Tanya McGinnity of Full Contact Enlightenment to the panel of the Blogisattva Awards. We are confident that having her as part of the team she will bring a an interesting perspective to the panel. You can see her profile, which was just added, on the Panelists Profiles tab.

Welcome aboard Tanya!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Items of Note and Open Forum

There are a few items of note I wanted to mention, as well as addressing a couple concerns raised by a few folks about the awards. Also, please feel free to comment about what you like, dislike or would like to change about this awards process. It is indeed a process, and one that the entire Buddhist blogging community and their readers can most definitely help be a part of! We need to hear what you have to say.

There were a few vocal folks that have raised a concern that they thought these awards are about being the "Best Buddhist." I want to assure everyone, under no uncertain terms, that this is most definitely NOT the case! Just as in years past, these awards are about recognizing excellence in blogging about Buddhism, to introduce blogs that many may not know about to others and to help build a sense of community. Like many other online blogging genres that have their way of recognizing and fostering a better sense of community through recognition, so do us Buddhists. This is about blogging, and is only about Buddhism in so far as that is what flavors how we blog and what we write about. Here are some quotes from the founder of these awards, Tom Armstrong, from previous years' awards.
"The prime purpose of the awards is to introduce Buddhists -- and others with a nascent interest in Buddhism -- to some of the great many excellent, varied Buddhism blogs that are out there, as close as a click away. In the meantime, we bow to the winners, all the nominees, the excellence of Buddhism blogging and the work that buddhobloggers do to bring us information and joy."

"While our very expert blogger jurors have labored mightily and cogitated deeply and voted faithfully to determine "winners" in the midst of plenty, there is no claim that we have found absolute bests nor that there is such a thing as "absolute bests." But it is worthy -- and fun, just fun -- to seek excellence, honor it and encourage it. It is also beneficial, and the prime directive of these awards, to get out The Good News. No, not that Jesus died for your sins, but that there are excellent Buddhism blogs out there that people like you may read for pleasure and information."
  • Thanks to a lot of good feedback, a public vote, for a multitude of reasons, on the final five nominees’ in each category probably is not the best route to go. Please feel free to have your say on what you think is the best way to gauge the nominee finalists.
  • Just for clarification, while we greatly thank the larger online Buddhist magazine blogs and the like, for their support, promotion and encouragement, the awards themselves will be for smaller individual and group sites and blogs. Perhaps we can do something different for those sites separately to recognize them, but these main awards are to showcase all the wonderfully diverse and sometimes eclectic Buddhist blogs floating out there on this ever growing blog-o-sphere.
If someone would like to volunteer their time to be an administrator of these awards, please let us know. We could certainly use another person to lend whatever help they would be so kind as to offer. Remember, it is just two of us administrating these awards in our spare time, and is most certainly not run by some large office, corporation or any other such entity.

Thanks, and don't forget to let us know what you have to say!

Friday, July 02, 2010

The New Blog Directory

As you might have noticed we have added two new tabs, one to 'Add a Blog to the Directory' and the 'Blog Directory.' We are trying to compile a comprehensive list of Buddhist and Buddhist themed blogs, websites, message boards, journals etc into one place. We have already had over 25 added in just 24 hours, and another 15 to update! Please bear with us as the directory will be spruced up a bit once we figure out how to best export a Google spreadsheet with the formatting we want. A big thanks goes out to Anoki from the Buddhist feed site Dharma Dots for stepping in to help out with the technical aspect!

Please feel to add any Buddhist related site to the directory, we update it daily! Also, let us know if you feel we should add another category to the details. Right now you can choice from;

Personal Practitioner
Ordained/Lay Teacher
Online Magazine/Review
Link/Feed Site
Message Board
Group Practice Blog
News Journal

And don't forget to submit a nomination for your favorite blogger!