Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blogging 101 at Family Business of Kinse Trenta (Radyo Uno) DZME 1530 AM

Wazzup Pilipinas!

I am expected to co-host the Family Business radio show at Kinse Trenta (formerly Radyo Uno) DZME 1530 AM every Sunday from 5 to 6:30 pm. There is supposed to be a regular segment for Wazzup Pilipinas but since I'm too occupied with so many tasks and obligations, I could only go there when I'm free or less burdened, or when it's on the way from an event or meeting I earlier attended.

I have no choice since my previous two years as a blogger has made me one of the most in-demand by many brands who wants to hire my services to promote their products, services or events. It has been a very rewarding activity for me because not only do I get to see a lot of exciting stuff for the first time, like a expensive gadgets, new mouth-watering dishes, a wide array of products on display at a trade fair, etc., I also get to bring home some freebies they call tokens that are often put inside eco-bags they call loot bags.

Sometimes I feel guilty whenever I receive items like GCs, product samples, and even cash from some. But many will justify them as a form of partial payment in exchange of our services. Partial because if we really want a form of payment, those freebies will not suffice if they really want to compensate us commensurate to our skills, knowledge and effort. We may be able to write a blog article in just a few minutes, but what people are supposed to be paying for is our years of learning from respectable colleges and universities, experiences from former jobs, and the lessons we learned as we go through the realities of life.

But I can't really shake off the fact that it could somehow affect how we would write our articles. Who doesn't love receiving "gifts" or rewards but what makes us different from journalists or broadcasters with daily salaries is that we make ends meet with what little we get from these brands.

Just like other journalists, writers, photographers, reporters, etc., from the publications, radio or TV networks, we also take our car or ride public transportation, pay for electricity, pay for the Internet connection, and many other expenses involved that will lead us to sharing the news or information. We appreciate every form of thanks even if it would like we are being compensated in exchange of our participation.

Is it true that blogging has evolved into something less personal depending on who you're actually talking to. We've seen some bloggers making blogging profitable especially those who have turned their blog into a commercial site - a money-making business where they charge their clients quite a significant amount in exchange of the promotion they will get from the site. At first I was envious, but I believe when it comes to that situation already when we make blogging a profitable source of income, we should drop the term blogger to define us. It is no longer right to call ourselves bloggers.

All the while I thought blogging was supposed to be a personal online journal where you can express your opinions without fear of being scrutinized. Blogging was supposed to be a platform where you can remain biased and can freely take sides.

But are bloggers at fault? Many readers patronize online sites for news and information which includes promotion of products and other campaigns to reach a greater number of people. We want to be fed with controversial or intriguing news that could possibly become something viral or trending if it catches the interests of many people. We eat up the catchy titles and sensational headlines and entices us to read further deep down into the stories. We are at awe with the videos especially if its of mature content. We are addicted to celebrity or showbiz news where they scandalize or exaggerate the stories of starlets and sultry singers. Gone are the days when news was elegant and sophisticated. Now they're telling tales coming from the lowly neighborhoods involving domestic disputes or family problems. People are so entertained with trivial stuff that the more important irregularities of society are neglected and ignored.

Some PRs and event organizers also pamper bloggers so much that they've become celebrities - thus there are what you call celebrity or authority bloggers that has put themselves on a pedestal because of their thousands, if not millions, of followers. They're so high at the top that they have handlers or talent managers already, aside from their PAs or personal assistants. Especially now that people judge us based on how many Likes we have on our official Facebook page, or how many Comments or Shares we get on our latest posts or tweets.

When I've learned of the financial figures involved in posting ads, write-ups or running a contest on the blogs of the more popular ones, I don't know if I felt envious or surprised I never demanded for the same.

I often find myself wondering on these disturbing thoughts. I used to be blogging at a more intimate perspective. Now I see myself posting mostly articles meant to promote brands that invited me to try out their stuff, and write about my experience. Though I find nothing wrong with that, what is actually unforgiving is when it influences how we write about these brands.

Of course, we will somehow feel guilty of bringing down or writing negatively about a brand if they gave us the opportunity to try out their products for free especially if there's even some take-home freebies or complimentary tokens. Whether we like it or not, we hesitate to express our honest feelings because of this arrangement in fear of being branded as an ingrate and not being invited again. If only there was a written contract which explicitly says we deserve the right to say only the truth but still they must send out an invite again even if our reviews does not please them.

I speak highly of bloggers who do not identify themselves as bloggers just so they can get a free meal at a restaurant, or a free stay at a hotel for a staycation. It is commendable for those who will visit establishment, at their own expense and without any knowledge of the owners or management, and write truthfully about their experience afterwards. It also allows bloggers to review the actual without giving the owners an opportunity to prepare or give extra special services out of the usual.

I have no quarrel with bloggers that have made blogging a profession.  They have every right to do whatever they want with their life as long as they do not interfere with the rest of us who still aim to make blogging an occasional means of expressing our emotions. We can rant or praise all we want. We can blog only when we get the inspiration. We can be free to share our moods and disappointments, our fantasies and aspirations, our achievements and rewards, and everything else that life throws at us.

A blog was supposed to be the shortened word for weblog or a log of our experiences. It was supposed to be a log of our stories, and not about what the brands want us to say in their behalf. A brand should not dictate or force us to say statements we do not agree with. We should be able to freely use our creativity, or the lack of it, because a blog should reflect what we really are and not what others want or expect us to be.

We should bring back the essence of blogging, and let these so called pretenders stop using the good name of bloggers.

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