Do not make me uglify my blog

The National Heritage Board (full disclosure: I work for them from time to time) is having a "heritage star blogging competition", which asks people to write about a heritage-related topic or a museum visit. Aside from the cringe-worthy name of the competition, or the fact that it is a blogging competition at all, I'll allow that it's well and good to get people interested in writing meaningfully about their history or sense of identity. I even thought of taking part for the hell of it, seeing as I regularly write about museums or being Singaporean anyway.

Until I got to the part where I read that to qualify for the competition, one has to insert the "Brag Badge" on one's blog.

The term "Brag Badge" instantly set off alarm bells in my head (it sounds like something out of a Bratz product line), but even it hadn't, I took one look at the badges and decided that this was a deal-breaker.

Heritage starbloggers Brag Badges

Forget it. No way was I sticking anything that ugly on my blog, just to enter a competition. (Yes, I did it here to illustrate its ugliness, but the above is a screencap from the competition website and doesn't link back to the competition.)

I understand that they need a way to track competition entries. I understand that they're trying to stamp some kind of "branding" on this activity. But the "brand" of my blog is going to last a whole lot longer than any government campaign, and I don't need to clutter it up with other people's short-lived campaign artwork (particularly when that artwork conflates "star" and "blogger" as one word, ugh). Wouldn't a simple text link do the job as well?

Corporate attempts in Singapore to target (or should I say co-opt?) bloggers have been going awry lately (see what Vanessa Tan and my brother have to say). When are PR types going to figure out that not meaningful new media publicity does not come from, in the words of Cowboy Caleb, those who "[v]alue attending blog meetups, blog events, blog outings, blog sex orgies even MORE than actual blogging anything unique and interesting that you came up with yourself"?

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At 9/11/2008 10:42 pm , Blogger trisha said...

Hi Tym: Taking a break from exam marking to read your blog! :)

I agree - no one should uglify their blogs with those eeekky badges.

On another note: I'm looking forward to your future entries about your Vietnam trip. Thinking of going there end of year with my hubby & 10-yr-old and would like to hear from you if that's a good idea. And I don't want a package tour and go with 50 other Singaporeans!

At 9/11/2008 11:13 pm , Blogger YongWei said...

precisey, why do everything have to be blogging, i received this email too, pretty irritated by this particular thing, who visits a museum anyways.

At 9/13/2008 6:00 am , Blogger Tym said...

trisha > Good luck with marking! Drop me an email some time (toomanythoughts [at] Gmail) and we'll talk about Vietnam, ya?

Yeah, a curse on all those evil package tours. I've only gone on two in my entire life (both were school trips, bo bian), and I abhor them.

YongWei > Actually, I like visiting museums. I just don't think blogging competitions are the way to go, nor that any competitions should require you to put ugly badges on your blog.

At 9/13/2008 9:36 am , Blogger Dot said...

I *lurve* the outcomes of Design by Committee.

At 9/13/2008 11:27 am , Blogger Anders Brink said...

I guess I must be the odd person out who does not think they have broken any cardinal sin. Yes, the thing is ugly. But they aren't forcing anyone to blog about it. But I think the folks from the heritage board are good folks, unlike others.

Enough said.


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