Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Blog?

Friday, April 4, 2008

I picked up a story from a couple of posts in the local blogosphere. A local TV show ran a feature on blogs, and called it "Beware of the Blog". No, I haven't seen it (sorry, no time to watch local TV these past several months), and everything I know is pretty much from what I've read from the blogs of some friends of ours- Noemi and Juned, in particular.

"Beware of the Blog" supposedly had some guests, and from what I gathered, the show's host tosses an issue, and the guests give their two cents' worth.

Here are some issues I'd like to comment on.

1. It seems that the guests believe that (according to Noemi's blog), "blogs are not reliable sources of information unless they come from respectable bloggers".

Who's to say a blogger is respectable or not? Who's to say a blogger is legit or otherwise. Apparently, one of the guests defined an illegitimate blogger as one who has a fake identity.

Here's how I see it: a blogger is a blogger. You have a blog? Then you're a blogger, regardless of whether you choose to use your real name or not.

I suppose some blogs can be treated more seriously than others- therefore, respectability may vary from one blog to another. Ultimately, however, it is the individual reader that chooses to see the blogger as an authority figure, or as just another waste of time.

Blogging gives anyone and everyone a voice. It's the great equalizer. I don't need my own TV network, radio station or printing press to get my message across anymore.

But a blog is only as powerful and as effective as its number of readers. The internet allows you to read or access virtually anything you want. If your blog has the numbers, then it means for some reason, people choose to read what you have to offer, rather than read something else.

I'd like to think that your readers and subscribers are fairly intelligent people- not easily cowed, swayed or even impressed. The fact that they keep reading your blog, and tell other people about it, does give you quite a degree of authority, and therefore, a fegree of respectability.

2. One of the guests said that blogs are like social rods and are used for social control.

Well, that's one way of looking at it- though it's not entirely true. Blogs can serve a number of purposes- and it doesn't necessarily have to be for social control. Some can be whimsical, others can be fun, many can be deeply serious, or informative and educational, but the vast majority are really just personal diaries and scrapbooks that just happen to be online.

But just like any form of media, blogs are all about keeping things honest. If someone feels that there's a story worth blogging about, and sharing about to the world, then it probably does have some value to it.

If a lot of people seem to be flocking into gossip blogs, then yes, it probably means something. Could it be that people take delight in the downfall of others? Or perhaps they're just in search of good story? Sheer curiosity perhaps? The reasons are many, and not necessarily definite or easily apparent. So just like a social rod, it can be an indicator of sorts.

But blogs aren't all about social control all the time.

3. Beware of the Blog?

Just a tad bit sensational for a title, isn't it? But seriously, why do you have to be afraid of blogs?

Blogs are wonderful tools for communication and interaction. But just like any other form of media, it can be subject to abuse and misuse. In fact, put a blog in the wrong hands, and you can have trouble easily brewing.

Again, blogs only have power if readers choose to give it power. Juned put it rather well, I think. If you don't like what you read, you may choose to:

a> ignore the blog altogether, and dismiss it as a total waste of time,
b> write back and leave a comment, and voice out your disagreement,
c> flag the blog as offensive, particularly if your blog is hosted on free blogging services like Blogspot or Wordpress.
d> sue their sorry asses, in particularly extreme cases, and I hope it never has to come to that.

Again, Juned put it nicely: Caveat Lector. Latin for "Let the Reader Beware".

Have any of you guys actually seen that TV feature? What do you think?


Blogging Full-time Now

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Yep. I suppose you can call me a professional blogger now. And I couldn't be happier.

I've started blogging a little bit over a year ago. Though I may have already learned quite a bit about blogs and blogging since then, I still feel like I have much more to soak up on.

This one particular blog of mine- "Blog. Blogger. Bloggest!"- started it all for me. At first, it was a catch-all kind of blog that had a little bit of everything. Then it wasn't too long until I've decided to position them towards a certain niche. So now I got at least eight different blogs right now, each about a specific topic.

I was really just having fun sharing whatever I knew- at first it was just among friends, then friends of friends. Then I was being sent CDs and DVDs to check out, just so I could write about them.

I never considered it seriously at first, but then the money started trickling in. Not even through Adsense just yet, since I haven't even made a serious effort promoting any of my blogs. It was usually more of companies asking me to help them set up their blogs, or to write for them.
And it wasn't much- first a couple bucks here, a few more there. Then just within a few weeks, I've noticed that the rates were going up, and I was actually getting more writing jobs through my blogs.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd let go of my day job to take on a couple of contracts which were, needless to say, very much worth my while. How often does it happen that you do get a job offer that pays a lot more than your current job, for you to do exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life?

It doesn't happen that often to me.

So here I am, happily blogging from the comfort of my own home. Plus I have all the time to do whatever the hell I want- go to the gym, do more business, read a book, travel, blog some more or just laze around at home.

It's all very exciting, really.

Again, I know I'm not the best blogger there is out there, or one with the bb-ranking blog, or even someone with the best content, but I think I'm in a better position now to help other people do more with their blogs. Heck, it's the wave of the future.

To all my fellow bloggers and friends who have been blogging, and to everyone who's read any of my blogs- thanks for inspiring me to blog better. This bold new step forward could never be possible without you.

We keep blogging, and we'll help others keep blogging as well.

Cheers, everyone!


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