I began NaPoWriMo with great inspiration. I joined a website and their Facebook page, and via those places, I have met some great poets in just one week. People I will continue to support. But I have become disenchanted with the website and their approach to the event. Something is off…and I’m not naming the website or their Facebook page because they are doing quite a bang up job of bastardizing the process and don’t deserve any more recognition from me.
The first day of NaPoWriMo, they posted a link to their choice of “Featured Poet” for Day One of NaPoWriMo.
They proudly boasted:
“Xxx was the first person to sign up for NaPoWriMo this year, so I thought I would point out his blog on this, the first day of NaPoWriMo. Xxx also participated in NaPoWriMo last year, and made it to 26 poems, which is pretty darn good.”
So, in all the poets all around the entire world who participated last year, no one finished 30 entries? I find that not only unbelievable, but not very motivating to anyone new to the month-long event, or to young poets still unsure of how to proceed & succeed.
Left a bad vibe from Day 1. Not good at all.
This website also has a Facebook page wherein they have added a contest to become the Featured Blog. All you have to do is complete simple tasks each day to earn contest entries. One of the tasks is to tweet the promotion of the contest on Twitter, and drive traffic back to their Facebook page. Another task is to place THEIR Facebook badge on YOUR blog/website, again, to drive traffic back to their Facebook page.
Strike 2 on the vibe thing. Can’t get much more self-serving than that. Or can they?
Another interesting feature set up to “support” the poets on this Facebook page is the “Poet’s Corner” with a “leaderboard” of the most active poets on their Facebook page. I was in the Top 10 last week, according to the app. Nice. Ok. But it didn’t take much in all honesty, and it holds no importance to anyone who takes their writing seriously. It’s based on your activity (commenting, liking, posting) on their page, not actually a measure of your writing ability.
So, Strike 3.
Each day, a picture with the Top 10 has been posted. Well, at least for the first 3 days. On the 4th day, they forgot, or got lazy, or whatever, and the post of the Top 10 was not done. I thought it was running par for the course, from the vibes I was getting, and it was only Week One.
Yesterday, I noticed the pictures suddenly were not matching the “Leaderboard app”. Nor has it for the last 3 days at my last curiosity check. Browsing the page, I noticed a bunch of people, let’s say…dominating…the page. I chuckled, as it was all I could do. Then, my eye caught a post where someone mentioned they were confused about the “randomness” of telling us where to post our poems, and asking for guidance on this. They didn’t get a response.
So, I jumped in on this post and mentioned the pictures weren’t matching the Leaderboard, either. ??
The response I got from the organizer (using the term loosely) on this Facebook page:
“There are actually a few categories that the ‘poets corner’ generates. I like to switch up which ones get posted to try and include new names.”
Ok. So, let me get this straight: You installed the app, in which if every poet wants to be a part of your little fun-filled, active community, has to install the app, too. Then, you choose who gets to be “Top 10”, even if that is not accurate according to the app you’ve coerced everyone to install. So the poets responsible for making your page highly recognizable, are being pushed to the background according to your whim-of-the-day?
It’s not a Leaderboard. It’s manipulation, plain and simple. It’s rude and inconsiderate to every poet who joined the page believing they would be supported in their efforts during the month of April.
Poets and others:
National Poetry Month was started by The Academy of American Poets (poets.org). Although anyone can challenge themselves to writing 30 poems for 30 days, you have to stop and ask yourself if what you’re associating yourself with as a poet is the best place for your work.
Is the place operating authentic? Or is it promoting “Poem In Your Pocket Day” as a way to put your poems on business cards and hand them out on April 18th? (Yes, I saw this suggested as a ‘brilliant’ idea).
If it doesn’t resonate, you must eliminate. If you’re serious about your writing, it will stand on its own. Do your own thing. Put it out there the best method for you.
Have you completed the first week of NaPoWriMo? If you have, well, that’s pretty darn good!
Even without promoting someone’s Facebook page on YOUR hard work.
Keep the inkwell full, and write on, Scribes and Bards!