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Bruce, Caroline

LJ Idol: Some Thoughts

What is the LJ Idol competition about? Or more accurately, what
should it all be about?

Some take it very, very seriously. I think I may have been guilty of
that last year, when I was unceremoneously dumped from the competition
under questionable circumstances. At the time, I took things very
personally, and I was very angry. I had to decide, at that point, if I
wanted to continue and join the contest again for the 08-09 season.

I decided to do so. But I also decided to totally rethink my purpose for
being in it, what I expected to happen, what I thought people's
motivations should be, and what I thought people's motivations
would be. Most importantly, I tried preplanning my reactions.

In an ideal universe, the LJ Idol thing would be about writing ability
and people's reception of that writing ability. You write something that
people want to read, you get votes for it. You write something that
people don't want to read, you don't get the votes. I've always tried to
at least play the game that way. For a lot of people, though, the
game has turned into a loyalty contest: "If you don't vote for me, you
are not loyal to me". It is this view that makes me question whether I
want to participate in future incarnations of the contest. LJ Idol is
fun. It should be fun. But it's simply not something worth making or
breaking friendships over. I told kittytech at the beginning
of last season that, even though she's my girlfriend, if she didn't like
what I wrote, I didn't expect her to vote for me. And I meant it. This
notion that votes equal loyalty and no votes equal disloyalty is the
stuff that elementary school brawls are made of. I wanted to be judged
based on my writing, or rather, on people's perception of my writing. I
do not feel that happened last year, but I do feel that it did this
year. I was voted out of the contest fair and square, and it had nothing
whatsoever to do with loyalty or disloyalty, it had everything to do
with the fact that I wrote a piece not worthy of a lot of votes.

In a competition such as this, you have to write not for yourself, but
for your audience. It's not about what you would want to read, but what
your audience wants to read. As much as I do not particularly enjoy
putting my blindness front and center in my writing, others enjoy
reading what I write on the subject. As much as I'd like to devote my
writing to CocaCola, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, sleep,
memories of my dad, and my passionate dislike of mushrooms, these
subjects don't interest the general public nearly as much as the
blindess thing does, so in a contest where public opinion is everything,
I write accordingly: not just about blindness, of course, but a little
more than I might normally do.

So there are my thoughts, for whatever they may or may not be worth.
I'll probably be back next year, because the contest is great and I like
the way clauderainsrm runs things. But if I start losing
friends over this, or if I start equating votes with loyalty, then I'm
out, because it's just not worth that kind of a price.
Tags:

Comments

I was thinking about this the other day. The only true way to make it about the writing is to have everyone make a completely anonymous journal...no friends. Each journal would simply be a number and the entries would be linked by number. That way, readers wouldn't know the author and there wouldn't be any campaigning.

Then again, it would be a huge pain in the butt for whoever runs things, I think anyways.

It was the only thing I could come up with to make it completely 100% about the writing and take the element of friends lists and popularity out of it. *shrug* Then again, I'm pretty tired and a nap under my desk sounds like a good idea too.
Hi that isn't a bad idea. Anonymity is how you get the true aspect of someone's viewpoint. I don't enjoy really playing the blind card much, I will if it means that a topic sounds better. One, though I don't think I could write the correct html and two, I really wouldn't be the type to be asking for votes on my friends entries. Just my own thoughts and who knows maybe I will join in the contest next year. I like the Bridgits flame idea but I'm not good at poetry. Bruce you are exactly spot on about telling your girlfriend if she didn't like something not to vote for it, that's the best way to be. Have a good one.
It's good in theory but completely falls apart when you put it into practice. Far too many moving pieces and at the end of the day you are relying that *no one* will mention their entry *ever*... and that people's subjective tastes don't come into play, and of course that someone who knew you were playing wouldn't be able to tell an oberonia entry from someone else's. (not to mention that you could never mention anyone in your life, anything you were interested in, or anything else that might be a give away to who you are.)

*shrugs* I've just spent way too much time on that end of things - on panels that used "anonymous" voting - to ever put on those glasses as to the purity of the process.

Which of course doesn't even take into the account that you wouldn't be able to interact with anyone during the competition - and isn't that part of the fun?
*shrug* Like I said, it was just a thought.
I know and as I said, it's a good theory. It just doesn't survive contact.

The problem I've seen from a lot of people who do bring it up is that they act like *I* haven't had the thought before, or worked with it in real life conditions. (not you of course!!!)

I think I know where this entry came from. I've gained much more than I've lost through the contest. Emotions can run high when you put yourself out there. Some do it more than others. Each person approaches the game differently just as people approach life differently. It is a deeply personal decision as to how much you want to reveal. I lost a long time friend because I chose to express my opinion. So be it. It could have been over something else other than therealljidol. Being cast off because of one comment and one incident means to me it was never a friendship in the first place. I love the contest for what it is to me...a game and a way to meet people and exercise my writing ability. I've been told I can be positive about most anything. And I choose to believe that a positive came out of the whole mess this weekend. It showed that a friend truly was not one.
Oh yeah, I've made a LOT of friends because of LJI. I would dare say that I have about 1/3 or more of my friends list from the game.
Me too. Both seasons have brought wonderful people to my Flist. I have even gotten to meet and spend time with some!
LJ idol is, in my blatantly honest opinion, little more than a glorified popularity contest. More often than not, he with the largest friends list wins. Not that I think you or kittytech are guilty of doing such things, but to a lot of people, I've noticed, that's pretty much what it comes down to. And if they don't get the votes they're expecting, it's automatically because their friends list doesn't care enough to vote for them. It couldn't possibly be that not that many people thought the entry in question was deserving of a vote.

I'll admit, I don't participate in LJ Idol as a spectator. Sure, I read the entries that interest me. I've even been known to comment on one or two. But that's it. Because while in theory the way it's set up is absolutely awesome, in practice, you pretty much have a decent idea who's gonna go far in the competition. Usually by the crying people do for a week after they were eliminated.
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree.

There are some people I thought would go far...

And just didn't. Neither did they cry about it. I actually havea few of them on my flist.

I participated because:

1) it was something with a deadline, and I thought it might be a good way to strengthen that skill in me
2) I wanted a way to strengthen writing abilities in the frame of said deadline
and 3) because it was something new I'd never done before, and I enjoyed the challenge of something new and different

Sure I was upset when I got voted off, probably a bit more than I should have been, but it I never once thought it was because my flist didn't give a crap about me.

the Phoenix
I wasn't looking to name names, and in fact yours never entered my mind; probably because until today, we'd never exchanged two words between us. However, I've noticed simply based on those I *have* seen in and around LJ idol, that it appears to be the trend. Kudos for not being part of said trend.
Ha. thank you. :)

the Phoenix
We agree on some of it, we disagree on other parts. But that's part of the fun because there are as many ways to approach things as there are players!

The line that made me chuckle was "But if I start losing
friends over this"

I always lose a few a season! I'm just *that* charming!!!*G*
Hey, nothing wrong with disagreeing on some points ... that's what opinions are all about. When I was refering to losing friends, I meant real friends, not friends as defined by the LiveJournal friends feature. LJ friends come and go. Again, some people take that extremely seriously. I do not. Just because you're on my LJ friends list does not necessarily mean I consider you a real friend (I use "you" in the generic sense of the word here).
Also agreed. Yes, some real life friends are also on my LJ friends page. I have some people I know in real life who use LJ that aren't. Because, like anyone I meet on LJ and don't add to said friends list, I don't find what they write to be interesting enough for me to follow them on a regular basis.

ETA: I should also mention that's my primary problem with LJ's use of the term "friends list". You write things that interest me. That does not a friendship make. Yes, it gives us something with which to start a possible friendship, but we're not friends just because one of us hit the add button.

Edited at 2009-02-17 06:44 pm (UTC)
Oh James, here all this time I thought you were my friend. Man, you just broke my heart!!!
*grin*
and Bruce, you should totally write LJ idol entries about Coke and Hitch hiker's guide. I'd vote for you if you did! Two of my favorite things!


Shhh, Rox'e! Jessica (samari76) doesn't know! Er wait... that didn't come out right.
Oh, I knew, I just didn't say anything. Hahahaha!
All kidding aside, I consider LJ friends acquaintences until we've known each other for a long time and have chatted outside of LJ or met in person. I don't like to make rules like that, because it's all about the connection. If I remove someone, I have a reason to do so; either something's happened between us, or we just don't connect. But if people I knew before LJ are considered friends, I will add them, because they are friends. I may not think every entry is interesting, but I'm sure not every one of my entries are as interesting either. That's just a fact of life.
Don't worry, Rox'e. I'm here for ya. After all, I'm in the same boat. I'm on his friends page and write very few interesting things, so I'm not his friend either. LOL!
You are officially both on crack. But especially miss Jessica. LOL
I did too.

Although I've lost more of the other kind.

I'm the guy who has to pull the switch.

Sometimes I agree with the voters, some weeks I don't. They always end up getting it right by the end.*G*

But that has led to some people not liking me too much at times.

The burden of leadership. But it also means you get the big bucks these contests generate. Ha ha.
Oh yeah raking it in while watching those people with large FL get to the finals every year.

(What? The only person with "the biggest" FL was welfy?? Drat! There goes that theory!*G*)

I totally agree with you. The first week, I voted for those who were on my friends' list. After that though, I decided that voting for someone just because that person was my friend was not a smart thing to do, especially if I did not like the particular post for that week. It definitely shouldn't be a popularity contest.
Interesting. I haven't heard of anyone losing friendships over LJ Idol specifically. I think that would be a little drastic.
Well, and these are just my thoughts for what they're worth, but, here's what I noticed about the hole idol thing, and, quite frankly, this is the exact reason that I chose not to participate this year. I've noticed that the people that do well aren't necessarily the people with the largest friends lists, but rather, the people who have the time to not just participate in Idol but actually live LJ Idol. Please, make no mistake when I say that if that's how some of you choose to handle things, I respect that that's your choice. But, for me personally, I do not have the time to get overly involved in the green room and all of the little side dramas and chats that go along with it, and, I'd suspect that this is how a lot of the alliances and loyalties are formed. I, unlike many of you, unfortunately, cannot access LJ from my job because the evil work has blocked the LJ website, therefore, my LJ time is restricted to when I'm at home in the evenings. When I participated back in 2007, I was doing good just to get my entries posted, let alone even begin to look at the greenroom, and, as a result, I really don't think I made a connection with anyone.