Monday, April 29, 2013

Blogger Plus 6: The Trending Talk of the Town

I've been blogging since 2010 (But if you would consider the many experimental blogs I made in Multiply, and other Social Media sites I could no longer remember, it was further a year before - let's say 2009. But officially, or professionally, I could say it was only since October 2012.

But I was not really blogging at my own blog but at a popular community blog that was one of the pioneers of the blogging industry. Out of the four months I've contributed for them, I've posted a total of 65 articles on their site, won a Sony NEX F3 camera from their contests, and have been sent to two sponsored out-of-town trips (Dumaguete and Zambales) courtesy of their sponsors, plus a lot of other events too many to mention (65 articles nga eh so more or less the same number of events).

The very first article I have written for them got a whopping 100+ Likes on the first day it was  published. The article was about the Social Media Summit that Miss Maria Ressa and the Tweetup Manila group organized. For me it was already an accomplishment because my very first article had a considerable number of Likes already (not yet counting those that were too lazy to click on the Like button).

I was very active in attending events for this community blog because I was enjoying learning new things, being updated with new products, gaining new friends or acquaintances, meeting famous businessmen, celebrities and politicians, taking photos of interesting places, events and other stuff, receiving adorable tokens or loot bags, eating sumptuous food in hotels and restaurants, ....but what I loved most of all was the opportunity to share my insights to my readers through my articles, and interacting with our followers.

The great thing about being in that community blog was: we get to choose among the many invites the different companies and PRs sends our way. We would always have almost all the invites to the many events happening within Manila, and even outside.....and we would also have the more intimate invites exclusive to only a few bloggers and media outfits. The most fascinating part of the job was we get to have an automatic +1 (its your choice who you want to bring).

But since this blog was so "big" already (probably because it was owned by a not-so-popular DJ blogger who was working for a popular radio station),  it had a Managing Editor to organize almost everything. To put everything in place and in order. She was the one approving and giving out the assignments to the members, and she was the one initially communicating with the PRs or companies. In short, she was the second in command. I had the most wonderful time with these people.

I was also given other tasks aside from just being a mere writer. I was also made admin to the Facebook page which was linked to its Twitter account. I was also made admin to a Facebook group. I was so active in updating and posting that it came to the point that I was accused of spamming the pages.

Due probably to my very active attendance in many events representing that community blog, all of a sudden the PRs were now contacting me directly. Many other PRs out of the blue were suddenly sending me invitations thru e-mail and SMS.....and some of them talk to me directly during the events. In short, I was getting my own personal invites already. Many of them were also asking for my help in inviting bloggers for their events.

From the many events that I attended, I often bump into a few bloggers who were also frequent in events. I really do not know how we all got to know each other, but out of those frequent meetings, we all became friends, and eventually invited each other in many other events. Since I always have a +1 privilege in the community blog, I would always try to invite one of them to attend an event with me. From there I  believe the friendship and fondness grew stronger.

However, I also heard and witnessed a lot of surprising revelations from the blogging industry. Many were saying I should choose who I should hang out with, and to stay away from bloggers who gatecrash or attend events without any invitations. Many were also saying I should stay away from the loot bag bloggers, those bloggers that were only after the free tokens, free food and raffle prizes. I heard a lot of bad things that it got me worried. However, I do not easily judge people based on hearsay and rumors, and it actually challenged me to get to know the persons myself and find out if there was truth to what other bloggers were saying about them. To summarize, I was never picky on whom to hang out or invite to the events I would attend. If indeed they were bad to the bone, then I would like to see it and experience it for myself before I lay a final verdict.

I enjoyed attending events with fellow bloggers so much because it beats attending by your lonesome. I loved every opportunity to mingle with other bloggers and to get to know them better. The camaraderie was so healthy for me. I was an IT Professional back then so mingling with people rather than the usual servers and computers from our data centers were something thrilling for me.

One time during one of my events I was attending for the community blog, I got invited by a blogger to watch a movie showing along with his wife and three other bloggers plus one of the blogger's boyfriend. It was too late for us to find out that he really had no invite at all. He was not allowed to bring as many of us in the event which was actually not exactly a movie showing but a competition. The blogger apologized to us but there were other bloggers out there that knew of the incident and started spreading it all over social media. There was even one who created a blog post out of it. Apparently, she had a former relationship with the blogger who invited us that went sour. It was now her opportunity to get back at him by capitalizing on the incident. ...and all of us with him became part of the issue. We were caught between the crossfire of two opposing forces with grudges against each other. We were collateral damage.

Back then, the other bloggers do not know me yet. So I remained anonymous for quite a long time. But sadly, I was finally named after a few weeks when the two still couldn't reconcile as friends. It seems the girl's hatred for the guy had forever scarred her (if not the both of them), and was so willing to take down everyone else close to the guy.

The issue died down anyway. Because many would not believe her entirely, and they knew about her past with the guy blogger.

Going back to my time with the community blog. There was one time when I couldn't get the assignment to an invite I wanted to attend (an event where I would get to have a +4 to +6 with me), it then got me thinking to try organizing my own events. I treally enjoyed attending events where I am able to bring along friends to share a meal with them.

I then started communicating directly with the establishments themselves (initially restaurants) and offered to help them with their online promotions. How did I communicated with them? I just sent a few informal messages in their Facebook pages, and a great number of them responded favorably.

Here is the very simple and informal message (or proposal) that I sent to them:

Dear _________,

My blogger friends and I would like to review your resto for our blogs. 

Could we organize a bloggers event at your place?

Its the best way to spread the news about your great food...and having several blogs coming out at the same time will surely make your brand name viral in social media and eventually will be the talk of the town.

Thanks and you may give us a call or text at 09166459045 or email me at so we could discuss details.


There was no mention of from which blog I was connected but many of them accepted my proposal for a bloggers event.Almost all of them were not even aware of the community blog. It was only when I explained it to them that they knew it existed.

It also gave me the opportunity to invite the not-so-popular bloggers and mix them with the top and veteran bloggers. Many of the establishments do not require that I invite only the top bloggers so I gave every blogger out there a chance to be part of the group, to help them shine and give the the break they need to get exposure and prove themselves worthy to be part of the blogging community.

It was only a few weeks ago that I grew tired and uninspired of contributing, not only because we had no Internet connection back then (for the longest time) since we just transferred to a new home (and wired connections were not allowed), but it was because of the "politics" that erupted within our group of writers.

I was organizing an event that day and was asking the members who would like to represent the community blog, when I got a sort of rude statement from one of the senior writers, and then another one claiming to be a social media guru (just because he has the advantage knowing the SEO tricks) created a thread questioning if it was right that anybody can just act like the Managing Editor. I guess they can just create rants against fellow writers instead of just communicating directly by pm with the people concerned. They needed to involve the rest of the writers who were not even aware of the story behind it.

I was actually shocked because my intention was just to give that community blog a chance to send a representative to my event so that it could provide additional content to their blogs. I would like to contribute for them, but I was already submitting a lot of articles already that some people were already thinking I am the owner of the community blog. I wanted to give the spotlight to other writers and give them a chance to shine. But alas, I was treated as if I was disrespecting our Managing Editor, and was accused of trying to do her job.

From there, several other complaints suddenly came in, which reached the DJ Editor-in-Chief and site owner himself. However, I was grateful that he gave me a chance to hear my side of the story. But unsurprisingly, more complaints kept coming in, which I got tired of trying to explain my side. It seemed some group was really pissed off that a "demolition job" was orchestrated against me.

Oh by the way, even before this, they've already thrown accusations against me which I was able to explain reasonably. But this time, I think they may be afraid I will also be able to give a valid reason so they opted not to give me any details about the so-called complaints which were supposed to be confidential only to the editors. But how come one senior writer is claiming he is privy to the complaints.

I was no longer given an opportunity to explain myself. They do not want to reveal the sources or details of the complaints. I was no longer given a chance to explain since they never really revealed anything else. It was totally unfair. They said I would be in probation, and that they are just removing my Senior writer and admin privileges but I could still submit articles. They were saying it was a minor penalty.

But when I heard about the news regarding another writer whom they treated badly, even to the point of tweeting their disgust online for many of their followers and friends to see. I had second doubts of still continuing to submit articles for that community blog. In fact, I stopped contributing even though I could find ways of blogging regardless of having no Internet connection at home.There was no motivation at all to exert an extra effort. Almost a month has passed and I still did not submit any articles.

I remember the sleepless nights where I used to finish articles for them. I would sleep late just to be able to submit articles. I was always inspired to write for them. But their treatment to the other writer regardless of what she has done, was disrespectful. It could have been resolved privately between the two of them and should have not involved the rest of the people unaware of what is really happening.

However, I really do not know how to tell them that I was quitting. So I just allowed them to feel I was no longer interested. I totally stopped contributing for about a month, and I just focused on my own blog ( which I took for granted back then. I only created my own blog just to post the press releases sent to me, and to also help in promoting the community blog). My blog was just a scratch post, and my best work was written in the community blog. We were not allowed to put big brands in the community blog so I created a lifestyle blog for those requirements. I had a personal blog ( back then but I stopped using it when I became active with the community blog. That was how dedicated I was for them.

One time, I was pissed with a certain sponsor for not informing us that they were cancelling a trip that was scheduled during the Panagbenga week. My +1 and I had to turn down another invite because we were already scheduled at this sponsor's trip. This sponsor never took the effort in informing us that it was cancelled. If we had not called a day before, we could have been waiting for nothing at the bus terminal. When I went to their office to try to find out the reason, their staff were very rude and labeled me as a blogger that should have called first to request for an appointment before going to their office. She sounded demeaning and arrogant, as if bloggers whom they referred to as only getting the trips for free, do not deserve to be treated as paying customers. She wouldn't allow me to talk to any of the management of the establishment.

As expected, the sponsor immediately informed our editors of the incident but they made it look like I was the arrogant and disrespectful one. I was again shocked that my editors would believe the sponsor instead of their own writer who has served them well with so many events and articles without any compensation. I was merely a contributor giving my free services, but they are treating me as if I'm their employee that is getting paid by the hour.

Well, this time the Editor-in-Chief said they have to let me go (what a relief) but there was still that statement at the end of his e-mail giving me an opportunity to join them again after a few months (they just couldn't entirely let me go).What is sad is that he had to announce it also on our Facebook group before I had the chance to know about it. It was only a concerned fellow writer that informed me of the sudden decision. This fellow writer had to call me at almost 12 midnight just to give me a heads up of the situation. The Editor in-Chief also tld me he sent an email at the same time he announced it to the group, but I was not able to receive it. I've read his follow up email asking me to confirm receipt of the previous one which I never had read.

So I replied to the email, gave my last words, and said my goodbyes but wished we would still remain friends inspite of the incident..... and Oh, there was a follow-up email a few days after asking if I wish to talk, so I just said we should have some coffee and talk just for closure. I told them that I still respect both him and the community blog, and was grateful for the experience. But I was intent of really leaving them even if they decide one day to invite me again, I would never comply.

I was finally relieved because this time I could find time with my own blogs. Since I am not inclined to make it a business venture, the community blog that we will start will be open to everyone and every brand regardless of how big they are.

It will give special recognition and incentives to the members rather than the sponsors or advertisers. The admins will not kiss the asses of the faulty, rude or arrogant sponsors just to get freebies or privileges in exchange.

It will be for everyone who wants to keep their identity intact minus the politically-challenged bureaucratic dynasty these so-called pillars of blogging have manifested throughout their existence.

Please "move on". Pretty please!

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