Okay. This might be a case of shooting myself in the foot, but I think I have to say it.
Awards are awkward.
There. Good to have it out.
I remember when I first started noticing blog awards I was curious, and in awe. How great these blogs must be, getting all sorts of "awards"! I didn't at first ponder over who gave the awards, or even why. Thus, when I got my first I was thrilled, and I proudly displayed it in my sidebar as I had seen others do. Someone liked my blog enough to give it an award!
That last part is the one thing still remaining in my opinion about awards from the first encounter. It is nice to be liked, and I do think that most people genuinely like the blogs they choose to give an award to. Which is nice. Also, it helps spreading the word about these likeable blogs, which is also nice. Nice, nice, nice.
Despite this, however, I have now decided to remove myself from the whole awardosphere within the blogosphere.
There are several reasons. First, and it's an important one, is that almost all the awards require quite a lot of work. You have to pass it on. Link to whomever gave it to you, to everyone you pass it on and their uncle Fredo. You have to display it in your sidebar, or on a different page, or in a post or on whatever metaphorical mantelpiece you choose (but you ought to pick one, or you'll feel bad and ungrateful). And often you have to answer 5-50 questions about yourself, write 17 lies and one truth, confess 3 sins or say a Hail Mary.
Because of all this work, I have for several months been slacking whenever a friendly "you have an award!" pops up in my inbox. I'm flattered, and I think it's sweet, but I also feel like pretending I didn't see it. Once or twice I simply forgot about the entire thing, and probably came out as the most arrogant, ungrateful person on earth. More than once or twice I have said I would put it up on my site, but still failed to do so.
A second reason I feel awkward about awards, however, is that while most of them are sweet, some of them have ulterior motives (or rather, the person giving them do). I have seen what I'd like to refer to as "spawards" - they are the award equivalent of spam. Many bloggers receive them at once, from a previously unknown sender, whose only intent is for each and everyone of us to display an icon with a link to their site on our blogs. They don't give us anything (other than fake credit), but we give them ads. For free.
I don't do ads on my blog, on principle. Similarly, I won't do spawards. Occasionally, however, they are hard to distinguish from "actual" awards. Recently I got one I suspect is a spaward, but rather than being from a company or organization, this was from a person, a single blogger. A clever way of promoting your blog, or an annoying and cunning trick to lure people you have no intention of networking with into visiting it?
Finally, and more shallowly, I am sick of the way the awards clutter up my sidebar. They made it look messy and disorganized, less pretty and less professional. So now they're gone. For good.
In the future, if I get an award, I will naturally still think it's nice (especially if it's from one of my blog buddies), and I will thank him/her, and I will mean it. But I will not pass it on. I will not display it or mention it here on my blog.
I really hope this does not offend anyone (as it is not intended to do so). It's really just a matter of giving myself an award I've been wanting for a long time.