I know I’ve been a bit rude about the contrived acronym of the ABBAs (Aid Blogger’s Best Awards), but I just want to say that I think it’s an incredibly rigorous and accurate reflection of opinion in the online development community. This has nothing to do with the fact that this blog just won one of the categories – best organizational blog. Here’s the commentary from Tom Murphy, ABBA host and the thinking wonk’s Ricky Gervais:
“The heavy hitters came out in full force with a race between the Center for Global Development, the World Bank and Oxfam (UK). Two group blogs against Duncan Green’s From Poverty to Power ended in the triumph of the individual.
Center for Global Development – 27.8%
USAID Impact – 2.8%
Oxfam UK (From Poverty to Power) – 31.8%
Peace Dividend Trust – 3.4%
CGAP – 4.7%
Global Voices by American Jewish World Service – 12.5%
World Bank Development Impact – 17.0%
What stands out is that the blogs are of a much more academic bent. There were no nominations for blogs from the big NGOs. FP2P is an exception of sorts, but it is largely Green’s wonky musings that make it much more similar to CGD and Development Impact. This illustrates what I have observed to be a gap between the social media community represented by these nominees and the traditional NGO world.
Looking at the ABBAs as a whole, there are very few NGOs represented. That is in part due to the half where I reside which then has an impact on who this is reaching [no, I don't know what he's on about either], but it also shows that there is a significant audience who does not care for or is unimpressed by what NGOs are offering through social media.
There are people who crave understanding more and getting into the wonky debates that are not limited to academics. Practitioners participate in the space just as fluidly, but are nearly always in a personal capacity. What links the nominees in this category is that they talk less about their organization and more about aid and development at large. FP2P and PDT talk about themselves from time to time, but their bread and butter posts are looking at the industry. Is it possible that is why people go to read the blogs by these organizations?”
Heartfelt thanks to Tom, all those who voted for FP2P and to Oxfam for giving me the space to do this (and putting up with the occasional own goal…). As for the rest of the acceptance speech, I leave it in the euphoric hands of Cuba Gooding Jr at the Oscars. Mental.
And here’s some Abba. Worth it for the flares and stack heels.
Still to come, best overall blog, where FP2P was also shortlisted, but I reckon Chris Blattman has that one sewn up.
Update: yep, Blattman cruised home in the overall best aid-blog-in-English vote, but at least this blog came a distant second. Results here. He teaches, he has a new baby. How many Chris Blattmans are there? It’s time we were told.