Tuesday, March 08, 2011

National Bloggers Association (?)

A movement without structure cannot last. Fragmented movements self-destruct.  Eventually, bloggers will need to come together around particular issues. So, the formation of a National Bloggers Association (NBA) was no surprise. However, many bloggers across the Philippines find blogging personal not business.

The NBA was suggested in the aftermath of the "Big Bad Blogger Issue".  The issue concerned a marketing group earning hundreds of thousands of pesos by exploiting a blogger while paying him a only a few thousand pesos to gather fellow bloggers for events and encouraging them to write reviews. From this perspective, the unethical behaviour of the marketing group needs regulating.  They effectively sold the results achieved by the blogger without disclosing this and without fair compensation. So, was "Big Bad Blogger" really the culprit?  If anything, he is ignorant or naive--this blogger performed work without understanding the terms and the context undervalueing his worth as an "organizer" when the PR firm hired him not solely as a blogger but rather as a someone to deliver the results for their clients.

•    Personal Blogging is self-regulating. I have learned new things in my few months as a president. When I proposed a code of ethics, a colleague told I that it was "over-thinking."  I heard nothing from my fellow officers.  No one complained but no one endorsed it either. I silently took it as their polite way of saying no. I ran through it and decided to scrap it.  It could be a useful instrument to persuade some bloggers to consider their actions more carefully--but in context, it was unnecessary.  That is how I view the manifesto now.  A majority of bloggers blog for their own pleasure. One's pleasure is private--you cannot regulate what's private.

•    The internet promotes opinion - not just facts.  You cannot regulate a person's opinion. If one writes opinion or fiction, if no one reads it,  who cares. If somebody is, and the reader's opinion proves to be more informed than the writer's, or is based on facts, the writer could be either embarrassed or face a lawsuit.

•    National Bloggers Association is a name that misleads.   The NBA manifesto serves only bloggers who earn significant incomes from blogging--but would disadvantage the majority of bloggers in the Philippines. An e-mail from an NBA organizer notes that income would be a factor considered for membership in the organization. Most bloggers do not earn from blogging.  Most bloggers blog to create an outlet for their creativity and care little about influencing the mainstream.   

•    An association for the select few - the content and context of a blogger matters. Political commentary should be held to a different standard than restaurant reviews.  Likewise, accountability varies according to your subject matter and the number of readers.  If a group of people create an association to improve political or tech or any bloggers whose posts require rigorous fact checking, that would be great.  These associations will be embraced as they support bloggers who wish to create a more professional niche blog. But these associations do not represent the bloggers as a whole.

•    One country, one blogging community - it is not. The beauty and the curse of blogging is each blogger is his/her own community.  There are many opinions and this is powerful.  You do not want to minimize this voice. 

The proposed National Bloggers Association has raised concern among a variety of bloggers and readers for different reasons: 

1.    Organizers were mainly from Luzon.  A "national organization" connotes representation from different  parts of the Philippines, from existing blogging communities with delegates or representatives of their their local organization.  No representations from Cagayan de Oro Bloggers, Davao Bloggers, Socksargen Bloggers, Zamboanga, Ilo-Ilo, Buikidnon, and Iligan were asked to participate or even concurr with the proposed organization.

2.    Blogging communities from Visayas and Mindanao were offended by this action--forming NBA without genuine consultation. It reminds us of the days of Imperial Manila.  Blogging communities from these areas are well-established and highly organized (whilst we have never heard of "Manila Bloggers")--  Socksargen Bloggers spearheaded the well celebrated Blogfest 2011 where more than 150 bloggers converged and has just finished the Socksargen Experience Tour (SEX Tour) where bloggers from different areas flew in to Gen San to take part in this activity.  Davao Bloggers, under Ms. Ria Jose's presidency last year, organized WordCamp2010 in Manila with 300+ attendees, the highest number of people attending wordcamp worldwide.  For 2011,  DavaoBloggers has  participated in Demystifying Postmodernism, a forum tackling women's issues, embarked on a Tagum Photo Safari, celebrated the 3rd International Rondalla with the city government of Tagum, and through Avatar Media, will cover the Davao Food Appreciation Tour with other bloggers from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

3.    Blogging communities suspect they were not consulted because one of the founding members is the head of Mindanao Bloggers.  Most conclude a misunderstanding has happened and maybe an assumption existing that blogging communities in Mindanao may be under Mindanao Bloggers Group and that it is rightfully representing these communities.  Mindanao Bloggers Group does not represent Davao Bloggers, Cagayan de Oro Bloggers, Socksargen Bloggers, Zamboanga Bloggers, Ilo-Ilo Bloggers, and Iligan bloggers, or any blogging community in Mindanao.

4.    The issuance of draft was only sent to select bloggers.  

5.    It was labeled: Not for circulation.


Faust said...

in addition to blogfest 2010, the wordcamp 2010 which was held last october 2010 at manila was hosted by davaobloggers with a headstrong of 300+ attendees...

cathara said...

not necessary. or dnt they not wanna change it to national business bloggersa

13thWiTCH said...

@kuya faust - ai correct, will add that :)

@cathara - had they had a different name noh, it wouldn't be as controversial, you think? or manila business bloggers? the national is kinda making it controversial, I think.

Urban Davao said...

The Issue Drive me a lil bit concern of what is really the politics behind the formation of the manifesto. I am not against forming any National Bloggers Association, as long as it is formally and well addressed to the community concern and well represented.

For my own point of view the problem with the NBA formation was

1. The word National... When you say national it's like when other people sees it you are representing the whole population of bloggers in the country well in fact you are not. try other names perhaps.

2. The people spearheading and representing it, The Background of these people, are they clean from any corruption cases,? Kasi if these people have cases before which involves corruption, NBA is aiming for bigger scope. and What I can see here if They can corrupt on small groups how much more when NBA is formed and there will be more money entering the group.

3. The purpose, is it a need now to have NBA? When we say association this is a defined to be something to accomplish a purpose. So what's really the purpose?

4. A bit close with numbers 1 and 2...The word "income"... Then maybe why not change the name. To National High-Income Generating Bloggers Association. Ayun precise na ang name sa aimed members ng grupo. (go back to number two) If there will be hierarchy and the people inside it has corruption issues before, they could corrupt millions from events.

Greg Roberts said...

Although I am somewhat of an outsider looking in, I find it fascinating. You have developed your reasoning well and I truly enjoy being a sounding board as your ideas evolve. As always, you make me proud.


MY POINT IS... if this NBA thing regulates the scope and broadness of the freedom of blogging every blogger, pro or not, enjoys, then it is certainly a huge CRAP! That is why BLOGGING becomes the newest media today because we have the freedom to express ourselves without being censored, regulated and manned. We are the new eyes and ears to the netizen. We are becoming influential in our won way. Let us put that that way. BLOGGING is personal, joining any blogger group is just a thing or two. Not even a plus. BECAUSE for me, at the end of the day, I dont blog for anyone, i do not blog for the the group but for the myself based on what i see, what i tasted and what i experienced. And i want to that to continue without being asked or pressures to follow their so called BLOGGING ETHICS. Beside, i am a responsible individual.

13thWiTCH said...

@olan - it can't.

The "national" in the name would be meaningless if half of the bloggers don't want it. It would be best if they change the name, if they really want to put it up, a name that correctly fits the type of members they can gather.

and based on aileen apollo's poll -- that would be less than 25% -- the last time i checked, out of 64 who voted, only 3 ticked yes.

13thWiTCH said...

@urban davao - nice points...but national organizations are supposedly to be a conglomerate of regional communities not of individuals...there start the complications...hmmmm

13thWiTCH said...

@greg- thanks kiddo :)

Tessa said...

I think those influential bloggers planned to put up NBA because they want to regulate people who are taking advantage of bloggers and bloggers who take advantage of what they can do. For my stand however, I don't see anything wrong with it since it is not mandatory. I still don't make a perfect picture out of the NBA regulations and stuffs but if I don't like something or if I doubt it, I won't bother joining. I won't join something that I am unsure anyway.
I agree about bloggers will always have or "needs" to have their freedom of speech. it is something that shouldn't be taken away... but as long as NBA has good intentions about giving regulations to bloggers it won't be a problem. unless they force bloggers to do something that they don't like... maybe terms should be clearly stated by the said group. it is the responsibility of bloggers to choose whether to join NBA or not... and it is the responsibility of NBA to openly lay their terms to bloggers... I think there wouldn't be any hidden agendas formed from this group since these bloggers know how hard it is to establish their names and their blogs.
I think the advantage of NBA is that it sounds more professional...
anyway, correct me if I have missed some points. just, as far as now, I don't see the problem about NBA.

...and for the reason that Davao Bloggers wasn't informed about the plan for NBA. I can't say anything about it since I think I'm not in the position, or even have the knowledge for their reason why Dvo bloggers wasn't informed.

13thWiTCH said...

thank you for your comment tess :)

standardization and organization, will, i believe, sooner or later will be established, one way or another. It's part of growing up and part of any political evolution --or our fragmentation destroys us. That is the general view.

the main idea of a national association is to unify these scattered efforts not funnel it.

That would put people at a disadvantage. Because, if you look closely, the national association becomes the central point of everything ---so that everything may be equally distributed, whether you like it or not.

If the national association only distributes to its members and excludes those who do not want to join, that creates a bigger problem. It means, the opportunities, protection, access and the like becomes abundantly available to the few who met membership requirements --- giving this org a power to dictate and mandate--resulting to "tyranny".

So many are wary and many are suspicious. Many are questioning why and if the need for this type of organization has already risen.

If there is any that is accomplished, the issue on NBA managed to produce a unified effort to reject it, thus, debunking its thesis proposal stating, we need a "national" representation.

It's not that the bloggers as a whole do not want to be organized, I think, and this is my opinion only, it's more of questioning the capability of the organizers and the real intention of the proposal. why now? why them? and do you actually know what you are doing?

13thWiTCH said...

in regards to contacting or not contacting these orgs -- well, the process is crucial as well as the goal itself.

The question of why selectively email when you could publicly post it.

it's supposed to be for everyone. so that everyone may become involved :)

i think that's where it all started,

plus majority of blogging orgs has had some bad experiences (where they were taken advantage of), or so I've been told, as I have no personal experience, with one of the founders...adding to their distaste towards the proposal.

and therefor, in my opinion, i might be wrong, Majority of leaders in the blogging community in visayas and mindanao has no confidence in the founding group.

let me give you an example, if hitler starts a pilgrimage, would you be ready to join? im not saying they are hitler, what I am trying to point at is that, it's not the pilgrimage itself is the main issue, but rather, the one heading it...making you think, the pilgrimage may not be a pilgrimage at all :)

but these are just my own analysis of the situation...i might be wrong :)

Tessa said...

point/s noted ^__^ thank you for the explanation.

just one question, what if those who wanted to put up NBA had invited all the bloggers/blogger associations from visayas and mindanao, do you think you would have the same opinion you have as of now?

Manny Minds' love stories said...

Yes,I agree blogging is personal not a business ,but how long it will last to be personal ?For me ,blogging is a personal thing.I don't even care whether i belong to any blogging society as long as they respect and treat me right.

13thWiTCH said...

@tessa - yes, i think so.

as far as i know, one of the organizers have a fairly bad rep with blogging communities in visayas and mindanao, and almost all would not want to work with him again... thus going back to the reason why visayas and mindanao was not properly tapped. ---

pero this one is ung mga bulong bulong lang. this yet has to be confirmed.

13thWiTCH said...

@manny - blogging in its original and universal essence, a personal endeavor...

the business aspect is but another face of blogging.

This particular aspect needs regulating, because your actions involves another party and transaction has monetary complications...

*however, this particular aspect cannot represent the universal essence of blogging. this is where the organizers screwed up, i think :)

blogging needs no regulation per se, it is self-regulating. business in blogging definitely needs standardization and other stuff...

thus, the NATIONAL BLOGGING ASSOCIATION is NOT an APT name for the proposed organization. that's the first problem.

the organizers are clearly earning from their blogs and has forgotten that their perspective of blogging does not fit the "universal blogging experience" of different individuals blogging for fun.

Manny Minds' Love Stories Online said...

@ 13thWiTCH Wow.You are beginning to convince me.

I think a great majority wants to make profit out from their blog but I should stress out that the main purpose why I blog makes me happy and gives me self fulfillment.

13thWiTCH said...

@manny - most would want to earn but not so many are :) that's why business in blogging must be regulated to help others earn but not blogging per se :) or that's the gist of it :)

im glad blogging makes you does to me too ^.^

Vernon Joseph Go said...

Nice post, I learned a lot of insights and it's good that you posted it in points :)

13thWiTCH said...

that's nice to know vernon, thank you for dropping by my blog.

frage und antwort said...

very interesting to read your article. I have never thought of all these aspects before.

Unknown said...

This is a nice information that we are getting from a good source. To write something that readers should really look up on and learned from it.

Thank you for this 13thwitch..

13thWiTCH said...

you're welcome...and thank you for taking time to read my blog tim :)

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