Is it a popularity contest?

Credits: kneehigh85

Lots of people on lomography have been saying (well whining actually!) that the competitions where popularity decides the winner, particularly with regards to a lot of the blog entry competitions are fixed as to who has more friends. In light of all this, and the situation regarding the cheating in the “analogue for a day rumble” having made me quite angry, I thought I would get my thoughts down in a nice coherent blog entry. I am quite partial to a good rant. . . .

The way I see it is that the “friends” I have on the lomo community are not people I have worked with, gone to uni with, met on nights out in my hometown (with the exception of my fiance – fletchinski84). They are people whose photos I enjoy looking at and who, in turn like looking at mine. I like reading their blogs and talking to them and sharing hints and tips. If one of my “friends” on here enters a competition, either with a photo or a blog entry, I might like it and therefore click the button, I might not and therefore I wont click the button because they are my friend. Equally if someone who I am not “friends” with posts a photo or writes a blog entry for a competition and I like it, I will click “like”.
For example, in the case of Zoezo, her blog entry which won the analogue photography competition was fab. She did not win it because she has a lot of friends. I liked that blog entry because it was good and there are others who liked the entry who are not Zoe’s friend because it is good. Equally Zoe has written other blog entries that I don’t like, and as a result I have not haphazardly clicked the like button because we are friends. I have a problem with people who write blog entries and win prizes because all of there friends (who have only signed up to lomo to like their entries) just like their competition entry piece, even if it is a load of s**t. If this was me, I wouldn’t feel like a winner at all (even if I did manage to get LSI to send me a free camera!)

written by kneehigh85 on 2011-03-18


  1. scorpie
    scorpie ·

    Okay, I was one of the persons complaining it was all a popularity contest, so I want to explain. (I'm sorry if this get's lenghty, but I feel I need to say why I think so).
    First of all, yes, I agree, "friends" here in the community are not necessarily people who've met or even talked to each before. But to keep things simple, lets just assume that in this community, and in social networks in general, people who "follow" each other, are "friends".
    What you describe above is how I handle things, too, and how I think it's meant to be: if somebody posts something I like, I hit the "like" button - never mind if that person is a "friend" of mine or a stranger. Again, if someone posts something I don't like, I don't hit that button, no matter if it's a friend. It seems to work pretty well, as long as there's nothing to gain, except the feel good moment you get out of someone seeing and liking what you do.
    Now, with the rumbles that determine the winner by a number of likes it's something different. Often there's a huge amount of Piggies or even a camera as the grand prize, so winning is very attractive. So what do people do, who really want to win that prize? Well, first of all, people with more "friends" get more exposure, because "friend's" activities show up in the activity feed. Second, you could always just post a link to your competition-entry elsewhere, like on facebook, and say "please click like, i could win a camera". which would mean a lot of people who have no idea about lomography simple see this one entry, maybe don't even read it or get what they're looking at, and click "like". So basically it's about how many people you can mobilize to click a button. Which is a popularity contest, imho. And frankly, when there are people posting links to their entry in the shoutbox twice a day for weeks, begging for likes, it annoys me. Also, when I recieve private messages here where people who I've never spoken to before ask me to "like" their entry, it annoys me too.
    (It's getting uncomfortable to write, more to come, sorry!)

  2. scorpie
    scorpie ·

    The other aspect I see: for competitions there's usually hundreds of submissions. And now "the community" is to determine which is the best. What I wonder: Who's gonna look through all the entries, every single one? Nobody. You just look at a few, and you might miss something really great, simply because you didn't have time/energy to look through everything. Which means, there might be some really amazing photos or blog entries out there, who simply don't get likes, because people don't see them - maybe because the user doesn't have as many followers, or because they don't post a link to their submission everywhere. (I guess we've all had that moment, where we came across a really great photo by accident, but it has hardly any likes or comments, and we wonder why on earth people don't like it - possibly because they haven't seen it!)
    That's why I think there needs to be a jury, who has to go through all entries, every single one, and choose the best ones. Yes, it's a lot of work, and it's very hard work, but I think it's important. This is such a creative community with so many talented people, and I love it here, because of that.
    With all the competitions, it should really be about quality (the best should win) and not quantity (the one with the most clicks).

  3. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    Yeah I do agree about the exposure thing because of course if you submit first, more people are likely to see your entry which seems a bit unfair, maybe it would be better if LSI kept all entries hidden and then released them all at the same time to gain votes that way. So I see what you mean there.
    And I do agree that the shoutbox thing is annoying (I have only really used shoutbox for 2 days and it is bugging me already, (though I realise I did it with this blog entry but that was purely because I couldn't write all I wanted in the shoutbox) asking for likes seems a bit desperate to me. I also agree with you about posting to facebook/twitter asking people with no knowledge of lomography to like your photos/entries even though they have no interest in lomography whatsoever and it is mainly those people who this entry was aimed at. I think that for all the popularity contest argument - some entries do well on merit (great example Zoezo's poem). She would have won if she'd had 2,000,000 friends or just 2 friends as it was a great entry and people genuinely liked it.
    I know what you say about it should be on quality and not quantity of likes but surely, if this was all working well, then an entry with a lot of likes would be high quality - hence all the likes!

  4. sthomas68
    sthomas68 ·

    My problem is obviously the ability to go in, create an account, and make a "lomohome" simply for the purpose of adding votes to a particular person's photos to win a rumble. This can be done over and over again without any checks and balances. If we all did it, wouldn't it reduce to something much less than creative expression? That is what I see is happening with the person in question we have discussed. I have a fair feeling that many of those "friends" are not simply friends at all but ghost entries created solely for the purpose of gaining votes. I do not think rumbles should be based on likes but should be decided upon by a jury panel. It's like if a political party is able to get votes from deceased people and rig their books to make it look like legitimate votes, that is simply unfair and they should be punished for it. I vote for less rumbles that depend on "likes" and more for an independent panel to make the decision.

  5. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    Well I quite agree with you that with the person in question then they are probably fake accounts but giving them the benefit of the doubt, even if they are real college friends then they shouldnt be able to have an inactive lomohome and vote on entries.

  6. sthomas68
    sthomas68 ·

    Yep....there should be a rule if you invite people, they actually have to upload photos and become a part of the community before you a) get credit and b) be able to vote on entries.

  7. sthomas68
    sthomas68 ·

    Interesting note: none of these friends have posted any arguments to our blog entries.