Oh Bammy: Promoting Collaborative Positivity Sans Back End Deals

Last year, I watched the Bammy drama unfold from afar…begrudgingly fielding 12 different “vote for me” twitter DMs and cringing throughout much of the telecast that I could stand to watch. From my seat, it looked like a show aimed to recognize the closed circle of twitter edu-stardom. (not to mention that the show itself was in poor taste)

But then…what did I know?

I didn’t know the stories behind the nominees. I didn’t know the impact of what they had on their school communities. I didn’t really know if the job as promoted online represented the one in school. No ones knows that. How could we? I knew that I was seeing people who I have grown to appreciate through twitter being honored on a grand scale…the same people who are honored for everything because reach matters…at least according to this.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago…I checked my spam and saw that I had been nominated for a Bammy by “the academy”. My first thought was a sarcastic “oh great” (flashback to last year) and my second was, “the academy…who the heck is that?” Then I clicked the link and allowed myself to be proud of the honor because for some reason someone thought enough of me to grab the “about me” from my blog…click my linkedin profile…save my image to their desktop and upload to recognize their perception of my work and I knew that doing that took time. In addition, the email came to my work email which meant that they had to take the time to search for it because only a few people contact me at work and most of them are Discovery Education and SMART.

So, naturally I took to my SMARTee Google+ community to thank whoever submitted my name because it was nice. It had to be someone from that community…right? From that, people started “voting for me” by adding reviews and as nice as it was, I reminded them that it was not about me but to please nominate/review others who have impacted them either online or in their schools.

I nominated another person, Lisa Johnson (@techchef4u), because I know how collaborative she is and I also know how much the “internets” borrow from her work. She is amazing at what she does and inspires so many so if anyone needed to be “honored”, she did. I literally went through the process of adding the nomination…”borrowing” her profile pic and writing what I knew to be true of her. It all felt kind of sketchy to do but it felt right so I proceeded…and told her through FB message. Of course she was skeptical but she was okay with the “shout out” in the end…even if it meant that we were in the same category. (Again…who cares? I never viewed this as being competitive)

A few days later, I received the clarification from The Bammy organization about what the honor was about. The spirit of the Bammy’s, as it said, weren’t about “me” but “us”. It also stated that you could not “win” a bammy and using that term would go against what it was about. There was even a line about revoking nomination. In other words, it’s supposed to be an honor…not an award. If you get caught talking about “winning a Bammy”, your nomination could be pulled.

To be clear, if a person(s) is called out as “the honoree” amongst a sea of nominees…it’s an award. (Emmy’s, Grammy’s Oscar’s, local/state teacher of the year, Denny’s, Webby’s…Bammy’s) [Just Saying]

With that said, I am okay with honoring those that have had impact on education. (which is every educator…good or bad) I was and am proud that I nominated Lisa because aside from my constant face to face and twitter love, it gave me a chance to honor what she does on a larger scale. I was excited to see that people from her school reinforced her nomination with actual in-school feedback as that was huge. Of course her school had to be “notified” with the link that she was nominated but even with that…those people KNOW her and their comments are real.

I imagine that the community nominee/vote portion is meant to help “the academy” determine who the September honorees are and I can appreciate that as long as it’s not based on number of comments but magnitude of contribution of the person. I can appreciate that as long as the honorees represent a diverse cross-section of edu…and not only the same faces that we always see.

If we are truly honoring positive collaboration, this should be a no-brainer.

As for last year’s antics…

So far I have gotten 5 different “vote for me” DMs and each time I could do nothing but cringe as it’s just an odd thing to do. To add insult to injury, most of them were of the “you vote for me and I’ll vote for you” kind. Again…Really?? Is it really that serious???

I know that once you are an “Oscar nominee”, you retain that title forever…but do we really want our conferences to be “featuring Bammy nominee” ahead of the person presenting? (Dear conferences that are doing this now…STOP…Really??)

…Because now the worst part of what we do takes this thing that could be an honor and turns it into a fiesta of business and self-promotion….BACK END DEALS…money

That’s the part that I am not okay with. That’s the part that sucks the life out of honors in education.

Forget the “spirit” of the Bammy’s. It’s not in the “spirit” of Rafranz.

If this is what it’s going to be, I won’t play this game and you shouldn’t either.



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