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I intended to write this around Christmas time, but all things being equal, I obviously didn’t quite get round to it. It was supposed to be The Tinbasher revue of 2004 and all that kind of nonsense.

However, there are some new awards in town. Insideblogging are responsible for the 2005 Business Blogging Awards and they’ve provided me with a suitable excuse to resurrect the whole sorry idea.

I’m not overly sure where I stand on awards. Yes, on one hand I’d love to be nominated and actually win one, but, on the other, what purpose do they really serve other than to artificially inflate the kudos of nominees, winners and the award providers? Frederik Wacka takes them to task brilliantly over at corporateblogging.info and, although I’m not quite as stringently opposed to the whole idea as Frederik, I’m more inclined to fall off the fence and spend time in his garden than to pursue nominations for every half-baked blogging award that rears its head on a weekly basis. I also accept they’re a little bit of fun and help spread the word.

The wonderful thing about blogging is the ability to join and share information and ideas amongst a network of like-minded individuals whilst maintaining your own individuality on your own blog. They aren’t an umbrella of tidbits like forums, nor do they lack inter-connectivity like your usual static website – although they can be both. Awards mean that you meet some form of standard, but there is no objective blogging standard, only shared subjective experience. For me, blogging might have a few useful guidelines to follow, but these are only general ones to be applied accordingly by individual bloggers however they see fit.

In essence, each individual blogger, or blog, provides its readers with an award list in the shape of its blogroll. Or, more accurately, it supplies the reader with a list of endorsements and recommendations. This is why I personally steer clear of supplying a link to every conceivable blog on The Tinbasher. The list of links is hardly exhaustive, or definitive and it most certainly isn’t complete, but all the links have a bearing on this blog and on this blogger in some way or other. Subsequently, if you buy into what I have to say then you might be inclined to take a look elsewhere and find the link useful. It’s that simple.

Right, before I start sounding ridiculous, or supercillious, I’d like to present you with a list of blogs and bloggers that have been a font of knowledge, interesting, helpful, or inspiring to The Tinbasher since its rehash. In the interests of sparing the following bloggers in question from seeking therapy by them thinking that it’s some form of top ten list, I’d just like to clarify that it isn’t.

THE TWELVE BLOGS OF CHRISTMAS/BUSINESS

#1. Jackie Danicki: I was on the verge of packing everything in when I noticed a tiny mention in the Times Online Business Section. Jackie had written an article about business blogging and fleetingly mentioned The Tinbasher for some unbeknown reason. She works for the Big Blog Company as a blog consultant and is a prolific blogger/motormouth in her own right. The wife even reads her Gastroblog, although she’s yet to put any of Jackie’s culinary expertise into practice. Ms. Danicki also writes for the group political/culture blog, Samizdata, and has recently started up a new personal blog, Hole. She’s also originally born and bred round Elyria way, which I had no idea of until all this started. In a nutshell, but for Jackie, you wouldn’t be reading The Tinbasher as it is now.

#2. CorporateBlogging.info: If there was just one blog I’d rather be, it might just be this one. It’s written very simply, but authoritatively, and I never struggle to find something of interest there. It’s a brilliant starting point for all budding business bloggers, but you can also grow into some of the more expansive articles as you become more proficient and knowledgeable. Frederik Wacka also writes frequently for Web Pro News and once made an enquiry for one of our stainless steel footballs. Funnily enough, I haven’t received any correspondance since. And his blog looks marvellous.

#3. Wayne Hurlbert: Wayne was the first person I read with regards to business blogging. In the early days of the Butler Sheetmetal site I’d frequent SEO Chat to get advice about optimising the site. Wayne always wrote interesting and entertaining articles there, and I first came across his blog, Blog Business World, when he was the very first person to offer words of encouragement on the first Tinbasher site. He always offers interesting ways to pep up your business blogging experience and is always willing to engage you in conversation on his blog.

#4. Bob Bly: A good old fashioned direct marketer if there ever was one, but, one hell of a good one. Bob is a self-confessed blog sceptic and maybe the very antithesis of all things blog. However, he’s an exceptional read whether you agree with him, or not. We’re still supposed to be having a little online showdown at some point and he’s also confessed that The Tinbasher is one of the best business blogs he’s read. Which, for a sceptic of the medium, can be taken however you want .

#5. Anita Campbell: When I intially approached Anita at Small Business Trends to see if she’d do a powerblog review, little did I know that next week I’d be going to see her speak at a blogging boot camp in Cleveland. I also have to say that I was extremely pleased by how well she understood what The Tinbasher was all about. It’s not too often that somebody understands what I’m rattling on about. Besides that, she also writes a truly exceptional blog if you’re a small business owner.

#6. infOpinions?: Robert French teaches public relations and multimedia at Auburn University in Alabama and is using the infOpinions? blog as a resource for his class. And what a hell of a resource it is. It really does have everything about everything relating to blogging. I find it particularly useful as I’m also using WordPress as a blogging tool and am looking to start up some kind of CMS in the future for the whole of our web presence. If I could currently take a class, it’d be this one.

#7. Radiant Marketing Group: I just love how Paul Chaney likes to play the comedian. This doesn’t mean the guy’s some kind of clown – far from it. Paul has become a full time blog consultant vis his capabilities as a business blogger, so he must be doing something fundamentally right. He comes across as the type of chap you’d dearly love to have as a boss, or partner – that’s business, not sexual. He’s also supposed to be sending me some questions to answer, but even I sometimes have a tendency to forget about me too.

#8. Readers & Commenters: Yes, the obligatory cheesy shout-out. But, in the immortal words of every single boyband – if it wasn’t for the fans……….I am grateful to all of you who take the time to read this and to all those who take the time to comment. Keep it up, it’s a two-way thing this blogging lark y’know.

#9. NevOn: I remember Neville Hobson offering some very kind words of encouragement soon after the revamp and I’m just about to do a podcast with him and Shel Holtz this coming Monday. He’s a business communicator based in Amsterdam and was recently a finalist in the 2004 weblog awards. NevOn is one of the few blogs I have delivered daily via message alerts and I tend to rely on Neville to keep me current with all things cutting-edge on the blogging front.

#10. Harry Hatchett: Harry is responsible for turning me on to the whole blogging phenomenon in the first place. He’s responsible for Harry’s Place, one of the leading political blogs in the UK. He also writes under a pseudonym, so I have to be careful about what I say about him, but we were each others’ best men at our respective weddings. At the end of the day, a blogger is a blogger, and he knows blogging inside out. I learnt an awful lot from posting comments at his blog and setting up the odd daft blog between the pair of us.

#11. The Butler Brothers: If it wasn’t for John and Matt at Butler Sheetmetal, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to set up any websites, write any blogs, or be the CEO of Planters Direct. I only ever thought I ‘d wind up doing the one site, not a plethora and become a blogger in the process. Granted, it could be making me more money, but as it stands, it’s bringing home the bacon rind at the moment and is all still in the very early stages. At least I’ve turned a couple of sceptics into a pair of partial believers.

#12. The Forgotten Blog: You might very well wonder why there isn’t a single sheet metal blog listed here. The simple answer is that this is the only sheet metal blog. I sincerely hope this changes in 2005. I did find one the other week, but it honestly didn’t quite count and I resisted the urge to name and shame it.

If there are any other blogs, or resources you think may be of interest, please leave them in the comments.