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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Time for Bloggers to Shape Up or Suffer the Consequence


Wazzup Pilipinas!

Thanks to Vigattin Radio of Radyo Inquirer, we are no longer just getting invites as a blog site or online media but as an accredited media practitioner too.

Vigattin is short for Victory in Governance and Technology Information Network which primarily guests technopreneurs and startups who would like some exposure. It also highlights both government and private initiatives and projects dwelling in science and technology. We would also sometimes have guests from other industries that we welcome with open arms.

We were at a press conference a few days ago and we noticed that there were no bloggers invited for that particular media briefing of what I believe is a very important news scoop that needs to be shared to as many as possible. There were several people from print, TV and radio but no bloggers. Then we realized that we've been to their other media briefings and no bloggers were there too.

You know what we did? After we asked our question during the Q&A, we also suggested that the organizers consider inviting bloggers to help them disseminate the information to a wider audience. There was also this media practitioner who raised a question on why it was very rare to hear news about one of the agencies and it was probably only because their activities and projects are not getting enough media exposure.

We know that may be the only reason because one of our relatives works for a government agency, and they have so many activities that are not known to the public. They do not practice the habit of distributing press releases or photo ops at every activity that they do, unlike politicians who would always share even their littlest feeding programs or charity donating activities.

We recommended to the organizers that they include bloggers in their event invites so we can help them in social media presence.

But why were bloggers not invited to the said press conference in the first place?



It is a sad fact that many still look down on bloggers as inferior mainly because there are some who twist and forsake the blogging practice into a numbers game. Unknown to many companies or organizations, page ranks, Alexa rankings, impressions, and other analytics that you can think of, can all be cleverly manipulated to make it look like that the site has a huge audience.

Be aware of false prophets who boasts of huge followings. They have an audience because of the sensationalized stories and showbiz news that automatically find an audience because the fan-base is already huge in the first place. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why these kind of sites lead the rankings. Unfortunately, the country needs better ways to get recognition other than being the home of world-class performers. There are so much talent within our country that everyone needs their share of the limelight.

But what good is a huge audience if they are only there because of specific content that would not really translate to selling or giving exposure to the brands, advocacy programs, companies or events themselves. We don't need millions of followers if only a handful of them translate into a sale or has the capacity to patronize a product, service or event. What good is a million readers if only a handful of them are just there for the free entertainment, and ignore the more relevant stories.

We know that the demand dictates our content because that is where the views are. We would naturally put up content that people would read more. But we should do otherwise, and offer better news and information that will benefit our people, and our country, more in the long run. Our numbers will suffer at first but eventually the people will soon realize we are the better alternative. If we don't shape up now, we will surely suffer the consequences.

What are the consequences? I'm confident enough to conclude that everyone of us knows what are the repercussions of failing to offer the better, more relevant and balanced news. Not only would we continue to find people ranting against the government mainly because media has sensationalized and exaggerated assumed wrongdoings, we have the passionate teleseryes and talk shows who empower our people to think like a rebel and become paranoid and suspicious of our public servants. When we sometimes think that there seems to be a conspiracy within our government, it is because we are less informed of their activities. There is no transparency and not everyone are made aware of their plans and accomplishment because media highlights other matters that are easily accessible to them. That is just one example that we can share, and there are more that needs to be elaborated at a separate article.


Going back to the numbers game, what good is getting high rankings when the reasons are because of content that takes advantage of scandals and controversies, viral and trending celebrity or political news, misleading and click-bait headlines, and exclusives that were intentionally kept within themselves even though it was a necessity that many should know about it.

I know there would always be competition brewing among publications and networks but the world is just too big and there are so many news to share - that everyone can have their own cup of coffee while they are still hot, but at the same time offer equally splendid cold-blended drinks that would still be thirst-quenching. We can become more creative by adding a sumptuous slice of cake and/or piece of pastry as complementary treats.

The crude delivery of content that further dumbs down the masses like the spreading of unverified and falsified news or rumors, the highlighting of the trivial and least important concerns, the absence of in-depth and well-balanced coverage, the obviously biased campaigns and marketing gimmicks, and the incessant quarreling and bad-mouthing within the blogging community, are just some of the reasons why bloggers are frowned upon.

My advise to fellow bloggers, the community would not improve if you continue to divide among groups and alienate others you find out of your league. It would be best to reach out and find solutions together, instead of creating exclusive closed groups that shut out others. 


As bloggers, we have the social responsibility to inform, educate and elevate the standards of our readers. Just as most journalists conform to high standards of writing and ethics, we should adapt only the good points and learn from the shortcomings. Quad media should continue to work hand-in-hand in sharing news that is relevant and beneficial not only to our countrymen but for the impression we are giving to the world. The Philippines is normally judged by what our brothers and sisters in other countries would read or hear about.

It is shameful to read comments and statistics that Philippine news is made up of a huge chunk of showbiz-related articles, and that we spend most of our time watching teleseryes and showbiz talk or variety shows. We are not discounting the value of entertainment industry as a part of the structure of our economy, but we know there are a lot more substantial news out there that needs to be shared as well. We can do better than just being called a celebrity-gaga country. Only Lady Gaga and the rest of the performers would be proud of being well-celebrated.

The "other news" may be content that are less viral right now, but as soon as we change the mindset of our countrymen by delivering more worthwhile and world-changing news, they may soon realize that there's more value that they can get out from the more informative and educational stories.

I salute the journalists who are passionate enough to share their ideas, visions, and well-rounded thoughts to open the eyes of our people. I hope that many bloggers would soon do the same. The world needs less noise in the blogosphere so we could hear more of the relevant stories that would shape and mold us into a better and pleasing image.

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