- “My best conversations in philosophy have been with French lycée teachers who love the topic but are not interested in pursuing a career writing papers in it…Amateurs in any discipline are the best, if you can connect with them. Unlike dilettantes, career professionals are to knowledge what prostitutes are to love.”—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (2012)
Is Maldives Complete the “Best of the Maldives” for blogs?
With the new year, the awards season ramps up a bit. But don’t count on Maldives Complete being featured. I’ve submitted the site for consideration to a number of online awards only to be rebuffed by clarifications that the awards were only open to advertisers. Not that it comes to any surprise to me. In many decades of marketing, the shill schemes are pretty standard practice – “you give us lots of money for sponsorship/advertising/etc., and we declare you the best of contrived category”. Some “directories” won’t even list you, unless you pay them. Being an “amateur” (Maldives Complete makes no money from advertising, sponsorship or sales), I don’t have the funds for such vanity accolades.
So I’ve decided to toot my own horn a bit for the record. In two areas, it does seem to stand head and shoulders above the rest:
- Longest Standing Blog (since 2008)
- Most Original Content (2000+ posts, though Maldives Insider is catching up)
When I first started blogging about the Maldives, resorts didn’t even know what “blogging” was (based on all of the confused looks and questions I got from them when I described that part of the Maldives Complete website). A couple of resort websites dabbled with this new digital medium throwing out a couple of posts and then abandoning the initiative. For a number of years, blogging had been considered a bit passé. Overtaken by the “micro-blogging” (small posts to the extent of hard character limits on Twitter) format of social media. But lately, blogging is making a bit of a comeback. Travel bloggers, especially, are a bit of a rage coupled the lifestyle porn theatre of Instagram.
The most prominent travel bloggers do boast big numbers, but most of these Followers are living vicariously through the posts admiring a destination they will never have the means nor inclination to actually visit. These bloggers get their readers all excited with no place for them to go.
The Maldives Complete Blog has never really been about getting people excited about the Maldives. Lots of conventional travel media like Conde Nast and your local city paper does plenty of that. This blog has always been about providing posts that can help people decide on the right resort for them. By tagging the various properties and sub-topics, people can explore distinctive details by either resorts that interest them, or the aspects that do. The most prevalent question I get from readers is “With all the Maldives resorts (increasing in number every day), how do I choose?” The answer is (as described in my most popular post “How to Choose the Perfect Maldives Resort”) to (a) filter to short list by core objective criteria (mostly budget, but a few other fundamentals), and (b) look at the posts about each property on the short list to get a subjective feel for the property’s particular strengths and personality.
But the popular “Best of the Maldives” Category is not the only area covered in the blog:
- Snorkeling – One of my big crusades over the years has been evangelising the Maldives as having the Best Snorkelling in the World and as a result I have featured a number of posts focusing on the activity of snorkelling (as well as pioneering “World Snorkel Day” celebrated annually on the 30th June).
- Tour – I travel to the Maldives once every year to research the latest developments at the destination and to visit new resorts. I conclude every resort visit with a post that is not a “review” per se (ie. “this is good and this is not good”, nor gushing over the palm trees and pina colada like every first-timer Instagrammer and celebrity junket pablum), but a description that tries to capture the vibe and distinctive feel of the resort.
- Lists – These are assortment of items I have come across at various resorts that are fun to curate into a handy catalogue like White Villas, Fish Schools, or Heart Themes.
- QI – A collection of counterintuitive factoids the make this intriguing destination curiouser and curiouser.
- Fashionista Galleries – An exhibition of the exhibitionists. Keeping up with the times in the digiverse, the big step change in “blogging” and took place with the advent of “micro-blogging”. All of those social media sites – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – were inspired in structure and ethos by the original design points of blogging, ie. easy posting/sharing of content combined with the ability for others to comment on it. Noting a surge of fashion shoots, both official for marketing campaigns and unofficial for “influencers” setting out their wares, I decided to have some fun curating some of this content as a way to explore it and its dynamics.
- Miscellaneous – I feature a number of meta-categories to talk about the business of the Maldives itself. “Industry” talks about major developments in the resort industry. “Site” discusses changes in the Maldives Complete website itself (including the closest thing to a “User Guide”) for some advanced functionality. “Other” is just random stuff I couldn’t resist which includes fun series such as “QI” and the annual “April Fools” post.