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Art Predator Earns GingaTao Seal of Approval!

November 14, 2008

GingaTao Seal of Approval

Well, golly gee whiz and thank you too to GingaTao aka Paul Squires!

It is a lovely badge; now to just figure out how to put it up on my blog for all to see for all time!

And I am in such grand company! Here are two of the other recipients so far:

20 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2008 4:14 pm

    that’s so neat.

  2. November 29, 2008 4:11 pm

    You’re a creative person in your own right. It seems strange that a blogger would put his name on an award to give out, as if he were the arbiter of good taste, and not you. His award is pompous, in my opinion. Why not give you an award showcasing the name of your blog, not his?

  3. November 29, 2008 5:24 pm

    it is very pompous and self-directed–but isn’t that what all blog awards are about?

    in fact that’s what awards in general seem to do–they direct attention to the person/organization giving the award as well as highlight the person who receives it. Oscar, Nobel, etc etc

    publication awards are about getting people to know about the publication (and raising money), not about highlighting great work although that is a wonderful by-product for all concerned.

    maybe if people were banging down the comments and my email offering me awards i’d feel different. but this is my first one and just like any first, i am happy to have it!

    maybe i’m jaded and cynical but much of the business of social media is about directing traffic and attention to your site. giving and receiving awards are one way. i’ve been to 3 blogging conferences in 3 months and what people want to know is how to increase traffic and rankings and how to monetize which you can only do by increasing traffic and rankings… the presenters say over and over you have to have content. but people don’t want to talk about that. and the people making money don’t want to pay for decent content either (see forums including linkedin where people are searching for free or cheap content)

    here’s a related post:

  4. j.k.lynn permalink
    November 29, 2008 8:00 pm

    Very interesting little aside on award giving there, art predator! I would have to agree completely and calling a spade a spade is admirable. Let us not pretend things are all rainbows and ponies! Ha.

    Really enjoying surfing your blogs. :)

  5. November 30, 2008 4:26 pm

    Art Predator, your writing is wonderful and it’s definitely award-winning. No doubt about that.

    The whole blog readership-building/monetization issue you raise is interesting. I don’t think most blog conferences are targeting poets, whose work — by its very nature — is part of the gift economy. Yes, some poets can make money at it. But very very few (at least in this country). Billy Collins and Mary Oliver come to mind. And they aren’t making money through blogging.

    For me, monetization is a dangerous word when it comes to poetry, as are words like marketing and branding – which necessarily come into play when people start talking about monetization. Blogs are a great communication tool for poets — allowing us to connect with a wide audience directly and for little or no money. Poetry blogging has become a central part of my personal poetics, and when I try to write poetry without blogging, it simply doesn’t work. There’s something about the act and process of blogging that gives writing “life” for me and inspires me to write more. I wouldn’t trade blogging for anything, at least not at this point in my writing life.

    But to link poetry to blogging to money to marketing to branding seems like a dangerous path for the poet to go down. I’m not saying that you are going down it by any means, but the impulse is always out there – as evidenced by the blog conferences you’ve gone to as well as the fact that this issue seems to be one most bloggers are grappling with. The pressure to try to monetize blogs is strong. But where does the writing get lost and the marketing and branding take over? As Sam Hamill has said, “Presumably we turn to poetry in part because it has no marketable value.”

    Badges are a very cool part of blogging, no doubt. They tend to be used for group projects that are participatory, like Read Write Poem or NaNoWriMo. They are an easy way to say, “Hey, I am part of this community of writers. Come take a look at what they have to offer. And maybe participate in the fun yourself!”

    Some people do create badges on occasion that link to their personal sites as opposed to a participatory group blog. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that, although it’s usually a temporary measure until a separate site is created for whatever the project or award related to the badge is about.

    In this case, the badge seems to be a different creature. For me, it is the way it’s worded that is troublesome, with the blog name in the badge and the idea that it’s a personal seal of approval. The badge language is inward-looking rather than outward-looking to some degree, and by that I mean that it places the emphasis on the awarder rather than the awardee. And also, I do agree with Christine’s impression that it sets Paul up as the arbiter of good taste. He might not mean it that way, but it does – for me at least – come across that way.

  6. November 30, 2008 5:06 pm

    Thanks, Dana, for your thoughtful and lengthy response on this subject. I appreciate the time it takes to write such a response. And thank you for the compliment.

    Our blogs and our projects are our brands–we cannot escape branding. If we want to be successful, we have to build and enforce our brand. Read Write Poem strongly enforces and protects its brand–for good reason. Its badge helps build identification within and without the community. RWP asks people to link and to tag (I don’t tag because I have seen how it would overwhelm my tag cloud. The other option, which I have considered, is to ditch he tag cloud completely which seems draconian in order to promote RWP. However, I have noticed this is how regular RWP participants have dealt with the tag cloud problem–just eradicate it).

    I have seen all kinds of badges out there; mostly I try to ignore them, especially the flashing kind (ugh!) Now that I think about it I guess you would call these two the closest thing I have to a badge: my Open Wine Consortium link (which helps me get to my page easily) and Doug Cook’s Able Grape which is also a link to help me search his pages. They are both very subtle and small.

    There are lots of ways poets can monetize their blogs–and they do, I’ve seen it. For me, it’s not worth it. The sites that I go to that have banners and other ads, even google adsense ads, I leave as quickly as possible. Even for a high traffic site like Alden’s with 10,000 page views a day, he says he only makes $150 a month. A friend gets a check for $20-30 a month, and while yes, that pays for a book or maybe two, is it worth cluttering up her blog with ads? Not to me.

    There are people making $10,000-$100,000 a month from blogs; I’ve been curious how as I am currently unemployed and exploring my options. So far I haven’t liked what I’ve seen.

    Even WordPress sneaks ads onto the sites of users who don’t pay an upgrade!

    While I admire Sam Hamill and his work in the peace movement as well as his poetry, he is presuming a lot to someone with working class roots that I turn to poetry because it has no marketable value. I don’t even expect to make a living from my poetry.

    I heard UC Santa Barbara paid Mary Oliver $30,000 for a reading–and tickets were $20 each. She can do whatever she wants at this point–blog or burn books or bras!

    We are all arbiters of “taste.” We arbitrate with our feet, our page views, and our clicks. We arbitrate with our time. We arbitrate with our comments. Paul happened to make an award and give one to me. To bring this round again, I don’t see it as any more inward looking as any of the other ones out there.

    “amazing astounding arts award
    bestowed in awe inspired wonderment”

    My only beef with it is I think he should have used his gingaTao banner art for the badge to make it more interesting looking.

    Well, I think this is all for now–time to make some coffee and breakfast now that I have devoted 30 minutes to this comment!

  7. November 30, 2008 9:16 pm

    I have posted a piece on this subject and linked here, Gwendolyn. This issue should have been taken up directly with me, not through you, so I have posted a piece and if these two want to discuss the ethics of blogging with me, they may do it with me.

  8. November 30, 2008 11:42 pm

    “And also, I do agree with Christine’s impression that it sets Paul up as the arbiter of good taste. He might not mean it that way, but it does – for me at least – come across that way.”

    Perhaps he is an arbiter of good taste. What if he is? Should one be embarrassed by another’s good judgement? Isn’t the proper response to a compliment simply to say, “thank you.” Why cannot this badge be seen in the light of kindness and spiritedness — and fun? Why are these comments so dour? Hasn’t anyone got a sense of fun?

    I write a blog about art. And recently I wrote a whole series that one could say was about “being an arbiter of good taste.” That might seem ambitious to some people or pretentious to others. I decided that, whatever others might think, that I am a rather good judge of art. So why should I apologize? If it were to bother anyone, well tsk, tsk. Yet I do not impose my views upon others and I also respect and learn from the views of others. I’m not saying Paul is a bit like me in his intention. But what if he were? Don’t we all make judgements. So what? I think it’s neat that he gave an award.

    I admire Paul Squires because I’ve seen such an abundance of kindness and wisdom and courage in his remarks. This touchy sensitivity about awards is self-defeating. I once won a monetary award for my paintings. It was a very nice honor. I noticed that one of the earlier recipients was not a very good artist (in my opinion) and they like my paintings and they liked his too (evidently). So, it was flattering and humbling all in one package.

    I did not throw the money back in their faces, nor did I feel like there was something wrong about accepting the award, nor did the award have anything really to do with the value of my art, nor would the not getting the award have signified anything about my art either. One’s art is what it is. Period.

    If someone tells me I look wonderful, I don’t analyze their compliment. I don’t question their sincerity, nor do I start looking for a Hollywood agent either. I just say thank you. What’s wrong with that? It’s what our Mums taught us to do. Didn’t anyone’s mom tell them to just say “thanks”? Someone says “how are you today?” They’re not looking for a dissertation. “I’m fine, how are you?”

    All this commentary hurts feelings, accomplishes nothing. Has anyone the good sense to apologize?

    I think Paul Squires is super. I think the badge is wonderfully kind like a bright red balloon. I’ve got to tell you, if I were planning a birthday party, I’d think twice about inviting those who were going to pop all the balloons.

    Take a deep breath. Relax. Lighten up a little. And listen more to your Mums.

  9. December 1, 2008 2:24 am

    Well Paul, thanks for offering to take this up on your own and for your support as well as the post and link on your blog.

    I am taking a deep breath before I figure out what I want to say next in the comments here, Painter/Poet A. I may even eat dinner. I am already drinking a glass of Swirling Dervish Sauv Blanc! (a bit too oaky so not enough sauv blanc character but versatile and such a deal at $4!)

    I do know a few things:

    1) I am going blind trying to read these long comments–the text in the comments section is WAY TOO SMALL! I knew that from the first time I switched and Paul cared enough about the changes I was making to give me immediate and supportive feedback.

    2) I think it’s clear from the post and my comments I am proud to receive this award.

    3) There are some MAJOR issues, controversial issues, coupled possibly with some personal ones, which are important to contemplate and address and consider.

    It is beneficial for us all to thnk on all of this–awards, link baiting, monetization, branding–and what it is that we are hoping to accomplish as bloggers and poets.

    Here’s Gary Vaynerchuk’s questions from the Wine Bloggers Conference:

    Important questions for any blogger to consider include:

    what’s your goal with your blog?
    what do you want out of it?
    global or regional?
    how can I mix it up?
    what’s my “real” job?
    how can I kick ass and create cool shit?

    the whole post is here:

  10. December 1, 2008 5:11 am

    I think all of you have w-a-y too much spare time on your hands. I don’t need Paul’s award, I have his friendship. That’s what’s important to me.

  11. December 1, 2008 9:32 am

    Dana says ‘There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that, although it’s usually a temporary measure until a separate site is created for whatever the project or award related to the badge is about.’

    !!!!!!!!!!! Wow! Who is she again? Goodness gracious me, that sentence is hilarious within the context of what she is supposedly writing in objection to. The whole thing is pathetic (literally) but unfortunately all too common. Gwen, for what it’s worth I have written my opinion down and ‘blogged’ it. I chose not to do it in your comment box in case it inflamed issues for you but it is as a sign of support to you and to Paul.

    The internet is a big wide world and I’m sure you don’t need people patronising you in the above fashion as you are actually combining the real world with this in order to advance towards your goals. Onward and upward, ha!

  12. December 1, 2008 5:37 pm

    I try my best to ignore badges I encounter on sites. But I have seen so many variations and uses that it is hard to imagine there is one right way. Since I became embroiled in this issue, I have paid a bit more attention. I still think there are as many variations and uses as there are people.

    To go back to one of the original issues, I am proud to have re’d an award the gingaTao award because I think the site has an excellent collection of words and ideas which I enjoy and appreciate on a daily basis.

  13. December 1, 2008 6:06 pm

    Hi Gwendoline, I’m a big reader but not a big commenter. I think it’s lovely to get an award, no matter what for or who from. It’s like a hug. A hug is a good thing and given as a sign of support, appreciation and friendship. I’m going to give you an award now for best hat-wearing avatar picture. Would anyone like to call me pompous?

    Kindest Regards,

  14. December 2, 2008 5:59 pm

    ebby, that is a most wonderful award! thank you very much! you’re right, it does feel like a hug!

    this whole thing has been wild. 40 people clicked through from gingaTao. 153 page views, with most of them in the past 48 hours.

    it’s been a bit overwhelming.

    i just hope that some of the folks who came by checked out some of my poetry, my broadsides, my videos or other posts and pages to see why i might have received this award…

  15. Grace permalink
    December 3, 2008 10:15 pm

    “i just hope that some of the folks who came by checked out some of my poetry, my broadsides, my videos or other posts and pages to see why i might have received this award…

    All it took was for me to read the comments about Paul’s award to give you a straight answer:

    I won’t be bothering to read through your blog. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you wrote. The level of backhanded ungratefulness and snobbery I just read will insure that I won’t be coming back here.

    However..I will definitely be keeping up with Paul.

  16. December 5, 2008 8:43 am

    Think then react. you know, Gwendolyn, why I hace decided in divine mercy to forgive these two, and the rest of them too scared to say anything. It’s because the worse thing they could think to say about me in public is that I am pompous and arrogant and they did it in the most judgemental, pompoes, arrogant manner they possibly could. Notice that niether of them ever says anything about my writing. Only about me. That is why I have decided to forgive them. Call me as many names as you want. And if you ever feel like coming over one more link and commenting on my writing, feel free.

  17. December 5, 2008 8:50 am

    That badge was made for me as a birthday as a bit of a joke. I gave it three or four people that I liked, as gift, as a joke. They all accepted in the spirit it was meant. And two people who hardly ever say anything to you come over and insult it for no reason at all but I forgive you, go in peace.

  18. March 13, 2009 9:41 am

    It is arrogant of me to hand out a badge, Gwendolyn, WHat right do I have to say what is good writing and not. Yet they edit magazines? They run small (and irrelevant) chapbook manufacturing machines. They call themselves editors but it is arrogant of me to hand out a badge?

  19. August 1, 2012 3:58 am

    Eek! First time I have read this post Gwendolyn – what a great honour to get the Gingatao seal of approval and how his feelings must of been hurt by the comments – good to see his followers standing up for him.


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