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Best of the Best


Best of the Best

by Kenneth Lyen

Why are we so obsessed with prizes and ranking?

We all know about the most prestigious prizes, such as the Nobel Prize, the Olympic Gold, the Pulitzer Prize, the Oscars, the Grammys, Miss Universe, and so on. We also know about the highest honors bestowed by important institutions or magazines, such as the Forbes lists of successful people and companies, and the Time Magazine Person of the Year.

I guess this obsession is a manifestation of the competitive streak embedded in our nature, and is a relic of the forces of evolution which allow only the fittest to survive.

We compete for success in sports, school, jobs, and love. And we enjoy the game of ranking people and things, and awarding prizes to the top few. Just look at our obsession with competitions like the American Idol. Crazy?

Perhaps there is some justification in ranking. We rely on it to help us sift through the masses of potential competitors (both people and products) so that we are spared the tedium of doing the donkey work ourselves. Take blogs. There are literally hundreds of thousands of blog sites and the number increases every year. How do we know which blog is the best?

Is Blogcritics the best group blog? Well, it was nominated, and people voted for it. It did not win, but that does not matter. Like the Oscars, just being nominated is honor enough. It was nominated as part of the Weblog Awards.

But is the ranking by Weblog Awards better or more prestigious than, say, the Bloglines Most Popular FeedsBlogstreet top 100, Top 100 Technorati, Best of the Blogs, Forbes Best Blogs, World’s Best Blogs, or Best Blogs in Asia?

Some blogs are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them (apologies to Shakespeare). Are we thrusting too much greatness onto too many blogs? 

With this deluge of web awards, how do we rank the rankers?

The bottom line, as always, is the choice of top blogs must be a personal one. We each have our own preferences and prejudices. We all have our own reasons why we blog. Some of us bloggers want to influence the world. Others want to be famous. Yet others blog to expurgate their inner troubles and to attain catharsis. But ultimately, all of us bloggers, like the Olympics, are winners.

So which is the best blog? Drum roll while I open the envelope. The best blog for 2004 is....

(I’m not telling)

20 December 2004