In the way of all thing blog, I just wrote a marvellously erudite post which then disappeared as I hit save. But you'll have to take my word for it, as the chances of re-producing a work that balanced again is highly unlikely!
So, ten days after the Big Announcement at A-Z HQ, where are we now? Well, the Challenge is going ahead - with just one change. There will be no List. Huh, I hear you say, that's it? Yes indeed ...
Once upon a time, there was a sign-up list. A list that grew each year with the ever increasing popularity of Arlee Bird's wonderful blogging challenge. I've tried to find the numbers who signed-up in 2016, but I don't think I'd be far off saying they topped the 2,000 mark.
Because it became clear to the Challenge Team that there were those who signed-up simply to harvest clicks, as well as those who signed-up and changed their minds, or who were unable to continue, they tried to manage the List, so that it morphed from a sign up List to a those who are still actively participating in the Challenge List. But with increasing numbers, that proved to be quite a mountain to climb and last year produced many complaints about the number of non-participants still appearing on the List. And that was before the Team considered those who didn't sign-up but joined in anyway, by posting links on Twitter using the #atoz hashtag. You can't blame them for trying to seek another way.
And so we have it. There's no List. Instead participants can post a link, daily, to Twitter with the appropriate hashtag, to the A-Z Facebook page, or to the A-Z Challenge site. On the latter two options, there will be an individual thread for each letter of the alphabet to avoid the free-for-all which tends to happen on Twitter. Nevertheless, 2,000-odd people all posting links? Every day? And you have to rely on your memory as to whether you've clicked on that site before. Because I hate to mention it but, with the List, when you'd clicked on a link once, it changed colour, so you knew.
After all, it's easier to keep a track of those sites you liked, you'd decided to keep an eye on, or to follow (bookmarking and signing-up being two easy options), but trying to remember who've you've clicked on before and found not to your taste, erm ... not so much. So I'm left wondering whether those who'd complained about how much time they wasted clicking links on the List which turned out to be not participating, will also complain how much time they're going to waste regularly clicking on the same site because they can't easily remember, or identify, those they didn't want to re-visit? Or do they all have better memories than I do? Because, if there's an easy way to solve this problem, please do share it. Seriously, please do ...
Because when you try to work out whether this change is a loss or not, I believe it will come down to two things:
I'm still hoping for an unmaintained sign-up List, but this is a unique Challenge, so I'll be there come April 1st and I hope we won't have lost too many regulars.