Friday, October 30, 2020

Are bloggers inferior compared to mainstream media

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The reason I stayed as a blogger is because there are so much discrimination against our kind. I felt that I am here to change all of this.

There are even times I want to stop calling myself as a blogger because of how people perceive us....and while others do have vested interests, it is but expected because blogging has evolved to more than just a web log or journal, but commercialized into a marketing tool.

So maybe I should stop calling myself as a blogger but more of a promoter....or maybe how my friend defines herself, a storyteller with perks.

Btw, this is a rant blog because I've just experienced another case of blogger discrimination. I would have kept silent and just walked away. But it is not the right thing to do. You don't just save yourself and let others get victimized. You raise the warning flag for the potential victims even if it means sacrificing yourself so that others will be treated fairly.

So far, it worked. From a "kanya-kanyang punta" to a P1500 budget to be divided to all bloggers who will be going to the event. So if 10 bloggers go, that's P150 for each. Still too low but better than nothing. Lol.

To share the story, there was this invite to cover an event, as well as write about the Tagaytay-based hotel itself which is the venue of the event. It's hitting two birds with one stone. 

However, their major defense, aside from an opportunity to see their hotel, is that we should help the entrepreneurs para makabawi sa pagkalugi dahil sa pandemic...ginagamit nila yung event to justify their invite. They are selling the good cause to seek our help.

However, when I emphasized that the hotel should shoulder at least the transpo and accommodation, it was frowned upon and a lot of bad words were thrown. The one who invited us scolded everyone in the chat group and told us that we should be grateful instead of the opportunity...and not to demand....then the insults against bloggers followed. Degrading bloggers as not legit, and claiming traditional media is better because they are registered with the National Press Club. Then she bragged about herself and posted pictures of her with popular personalities. Huwag daw kaming mayabang kaya siya nagyabang. Lol.

This is the same person who invited us to a previous event and promised us parking for our cars, and a facility complete with broadcast/online equipment and Internet connection for us to run an online show, but none were really available. We had to park on the streets of Makati and though she offered to pay for the parking, she still lied about the availability of parking spaces for our cars. What if the streets were full? Inconvenience indeed.

The broadcast facility she said to be available was nowhere ready. She even asked us to prepare teaser videos for our show, only to find out the "studio" was still in the initial stages of planning. And the owner of the establishment was proposing a concept close to a networking setup....yet the actual broadcasting equipment were not yet in place.

Lies and deception is number one here.

Going back to the hotel and event feature request. Hello??? Traveling all the way to Tagaytay on our own is not an easy and affordable expense for most people, especially when this pandemic has crippled the financial resources for most. The owner herself mentioned that because of the traffic, she has to be there the night before. How about us? Are we immune to such?

Not thinking about myself because I can afford to spend anyway, but how about those who depend on their meager salaries or blogging as their main source of income? Should they spend so much? Is it worthy as a blog feature?

During the first run, I was offered a room, but then it was gone the next day, the actual event day itself. No apologies, no explanation of what happened. So I had to tell my colleague the bad news eventhough he was already on his way there.

They informed me of the room availability the early morning at around 1am so I had to ask somebody else to represent me since I only read it at around 6am. Too late for me who will be coming all the way from Pasig. I won't make it to their 10am event launch.

Thus I had to quickly find somebody nearer Tagaytay to represent my publication. Several text messages but it seems they were too busy to get back to me as if I was not important. Not even after the event. Days has passed and no explanation. Not until I reported them directly to a USec of DTI who happens to be my friend on Facebook.

After the incident, I got message of support from fellow bloggers and some wanting to patch things up, but this woman still insists she was on the right mind, and she even sent me the message below to insult me further.

The parking she mentioned here is among the perks she guaranteed... Isinumbat ba naman kahit ipinangako niya. Lol.

This person has said her piece, I'm saying OUR piece as this was discussed among some of the bloggers included in the virtual press conference done for a certain hotel in Tagaytay:

"We are grateful for the opportunity but we do not like how you degrade bloggers. If you think media is better, then invite media, not us. If all your definition of legit is being a part of NPC, or MTRCB, know the meaning of those acronyms. Let me share it: National PRESS Club, MOVIE, TELEVISION, RADIO Classification Board.... If there was a government-recognized group for bloggers we will join it to be legalized. But until there is, you cannot question our legitimacy.

We are bloggers... Experiential dapat... We should not write stories based on hearsays or marketing pitches or kuwentuhan in a livestream. Usually these are often exaggerated and not descriptive of the real thing because noone would say negative stuff about their own brand. Bubuhatin mo sarili mong bangko?  

That's what makes bloggers more credible because most of us are independently running our own sites. No editors or publishers to answer to (that will have to worry about libel or complaints from their own sponsors or advertisers). There are exemptions, yung puro praise kahit not yet personally experienced  because they just want to please rather than find out the real deal. Pitiful. 

PRs or those taking on the role should raise our standards,  not bring it down to "Thank you" only.  Walang ngang pilitan, pero may pakonsensiya naman. Don't you think we know how to be an effective blogger?

You would degrade us as not legit because we are not part of NPC or other media groups, but we hear a lot of horror stories about these groups too. That is why there are more than just one because they can't get along. 

Pandemic nga, the more that they should understand that we should help each other, not one-way. 

As a friend, I'm just being truthful and saying it straight. Would you rather I hide my true feelings and just go with the flow?  Because unlike traditional media that have regular salaries and allowances, and usually sponsored by their media outfits of their expenses, most of us are freelancers. We spend our own hard-earned money. 

We are not "bobo" or "patay gutom" or Hao shaos, but mostly passionate storytellers that are genuinely loving our craft. That is why everyone else, including trad media, went online and created their online presence similar to a blog since it's more widely read compared to trad media that have invested on boosted posts to get a higher reach. 

Are we going to earn from a hotel shouldering our transpo and accommodation? No. Because that was only to provide convenience. Remember, it's a pandemic and many opportunities for bloggers have also been reduced. Just like businesses that suffered too. I believe it is a fair request.

Now if they are not willing to shoulder the expense, then be true. There is no need to lie about being fully-booked.

Lastly, it's better we discuss this openly rather that get the disappointments afterwards. This is a group chat. We were supposed to discuss and give opinions, suggestions,etc., and not become a dictatorial venue. If you don't like our suggestions, there is no need to curse us.

I never posted my previous experience with La Bella in both my personal or Fan page or even the blog because I am giving them the benefit of the doubt. But this is a group chat, we should be open to criticism and opinions, otherwise we will just be like the "bayarang" media who will post every thing basta may bayad or ex-deal /kapalit.

We are no longer newbies, we have been blogging for years, and never have I mentioned any accomplishment, award, recognition, or anything that you would interpret as "kayabangan" in this chat group.

You were actually the one who was defensive here. Instead of emphatizing with  us. The other bloggers are not talking, but we're discussing this on a separate thread. 

Again, I am a friend so I was confident you will side with us and raise the standards of blogging but you are making us look like we should be grateful eventhough we are getting an unfair treatment. Even after I said there was no apology or explanation given from my sad experience. You are setting a precedent for businesses to look down on bloggers as inferior compared to media.

Sorry, but if you'll continue to look down on bloggers then invite your media friends instead. Again, invite the media whom you think is better. Why waste time on us if you believe we are not "legit.'

I am not burning bridges, I'm raising skyscrapers for me and my fellow bloggers. It is not "kayabangan" but knowing our worth.

We deserve better, and businesses can't always expect free publicity. They should invest. Just as how this government needs to shape up, everyone not only needs to be resilient, but able to find their true value - that is often taken advantage, too."

In fairness, the Marketing Head, who wouldn't show her face during the livestream discussion unlike the mother and son owners, of this hotel called me up after I reported them to the DTI USec, but her apology was not really an apology since she was insisting she was busy with the event that day so she was not able to get back to me to explain and apologize. She also said that the current conflict was a problem between me and their designated person in charge of the blogger invites. She was part of the livestream and chat group but she never said a word while we were being scolded as if we are children. We were looked down like we are the lowest class of media.

Now I've heard that there was a promise to the bloggers to reimburse their transpo, but the same Marketing Head mentioned that there was only a budget of P1500 to be divided among the bloggers who will come. That information was not mentioned to the bloggers.

This will be another case of false promises. Bloggers will again be disappointed.

Don't get me wrong. We are eager to help, but if they continue to treat us as if we're the least important kind of media, then they should stop deceiving us with false promises just to make us come to their events.

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