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Last night was the Edublog Awards Presentation, also known as the “Eddie” Awards. This event happens once a year at this time honoring those who excel in the area of Educational Social Media. Categories include educators, students, groups, and vendors. It originally started out recognizing Blogs and Bloggers, but has now expanded to all forms of Social Media as Social Media itself has expanded. This is an example that schools should emulate; the ability to be flexible and change to meet the needs of an ever-changing and developing culture.

The Edublog process is simple. Categories are established with little description other than the title of the category, and people in Social Media nominate people in Social Media. They could nominate others or themselves. This year there were nineteen categories and thousands of nominations.  After the nominations are posted, the voting begins, and continues, so that everyone has an opportunity to vote. Yes, that opportunity includes the ability to vote once a day for everyone as the voting continues. There are no judges; just nominators and voters. This is the element that has brought out the voices of discontent each and every year since 2004. Of course when this started it was a smaller community. With the advent of Twitter and Facebook, the Education Social Media community has grown to huge proportions, and, hopefully, will continue to do so.

The Presentation of the Edublog Awards is a virtual gala event. It takes place in a virtual room and all are invited to attend. It usually draws between 100-200 people. There is a dialog box where participants exchange pleasantries and jabs, as a fun time is had by all. Some of us jab and joke more than others. The event is hosted by Steve Hargadon, Sue Waters and this year Ron Burt. These people are also great contributors to the connected community of educators in their own right, beyond their Edublog contribution.

The best part of the presentation is when the winners take the mic for a very few short words. This is nothing like the Oscar speeches. Student winners always bring on the most Ooohs and Ahhhs from the audience as evidenced in the chat box. Last night one young, very young, winner took the mic to thank the group for his award. His name was Royce and obviously, Royce failed to tell his Mom about the award ceremony being held virtually. As Royce quietly thanked the group from what was evidently a computer in his room, his mother was heard yelling to him from another room “Royce it’s getting late turn that computer off”.

Now here is the not so funny part of this piece. The process, the awards, and even the nominees are often targeted by some disgruntled (for whatever reason) educators. These individuals find fault with and gripe about the process. They try to trivialize the award itself. They comment to the nominees that they shouldn’t use social media to tell anyone about their nomination. They sometimes even call for standardization of the awards with judges and criteria for assessment of sites. This has gone on every year that I have been involved in Social Media. Whatever happened to “A rising tide lifts all boats”?

I LOVE what the Edublog Awards represent. They recognize the hard work that individuals so unselfishly offer to a community. They recognize and publicize many education social media sites that might otherwise go unrecognized and unseen by those educators who need to see them most. They put a face to the text voices that we all see and hear every day. They enable connected educators to be further connected. Why would anyone object to any of this? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that such people are in the very circles that I travel.

I was nominated in five categories and I did not win one award. I was so impressed by the people I was nominated with, that winning really did not matter. The idea that people actually saw me in the same light as the individuals that I shared the nominations with just blew me away. Of course, I would have loved to have won in every category and create an Edublog record that would last for years, but that did not happen. I was still proud to be involved. Everyone who won deserved all the accolades this award brings. These are people who have a vision and act on it. It is hard work, albeit a labor of love, to consistently put out a product for Social Media that remains meaningful to others. The best incentive to continue happens when public recognition in any form comes your way. The true reward however, is never in the Edublog Award itself. It is in the connections you make with others. Affirmation of those efforts by connected educators is always a shot in the arm.

Next year, if I am nominated again, I will tell all my friends and neighbors that I am an Edublog Nominee. After all this is social media and the social thing to do is share news with others. We do it every day. I will nominate people who are adding meaningful content to our community of connected educators. I will participate in the presentation ceremony to honor those who so deservedly receive their Eddie awards. This is truly a supportive effort to those who support us with ideas, links, and sources all year-long. I will also speak out publicly to those who find fault in these awards or the process. I will also publicly thank Steve Hargadon, Sue Waters, and Ron Burt for yearly designing, accumulating, tallying, and presenting all that they do to make the Edublog Awards happen. Now as Royce’s Mom’s voice still rings in my ears. It’s late, so I better turn off the computer. Congratulations to all of the Nominees and the winners of the 2011 Edublog Awards.

Here is the link to the Top Edublog Nominees and the winners, as well as the addresses to their sites: http://edublogawards.com/

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