National Bloggers Association for the Philippines? Maybe.

Posted by & filed under Blog Marketing, Featured.

A lot of talk has been going on lately on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook about a call to create a National Bloggers Association here in the Philippines. This effort is primarily spearheaded by DigitalFilipino’s Janette Toral and online journalist Tonyo Cruz. After reading through the reactions of several bloggers and talking with some of my friends in the digital marketing industry, I’ve come to the conclusion that we do need some sort of association for bloggers. In the manifesto published by Janette and Tonyo, they state the following as the main reasons for the NBA:

  • The promotion and defense of the right to free expression
  • The promotion and development of blogging, vlogging, photoblogging, microblogging and other online creative and expressive forms in all their diverse categories, topics and types
  • The gathering and sharing of Philippine blogging’s best practices that reflect our contributions to ourselves and our online communities, media, causes, organizations and businesses, government, the nation and the world.
  • The drafting and adoption of a code of ethics that underscore the community’s responsibility and maturity; and
  • The discussion of issues and concerns that confront the community and members of the community
  • The promotion of more affordable, reliable and better internet access in the country

I am all for numbers 1, 2, and 3. I feel that the last item might be too much of a stretch because this will just politicize the group. I strongly urge them to take that item out.

Dangers for Filipino Bloggers Today
The association was basically brought about for a need of representation for bloggers in the marketing and political foras. Right now bloggers are being “represented” and “voiced” by consultants, PR firms, and ad agencies. I honestly still believe that the Big Bad Blogger issue was nothing more than a PR Firm claiming that they represent the blogger but in truth they just invite him/her every now and then to events. I’ve been in the industry for a couple of years now both as a client and as the agency and I can say without hesitation that some groups misrepresent the interests of bloggers.

Next, not all bloggers make money from blogging, but they want to. There is nothing wrong with making money from blogs. It’s just a matter of disclosure and transparency to make sure that your content is not deceptively planted in exchange for cash or gadgets. I honestly believe that blogging can help uplift the lives of a lot of Filipinos in the form of personal branding or advertising revenue. The challenge is knowledge sharing.

So what’s my suggestion?

More than representation and politics, I want an association that promotes development of bloggers. I will fully support, join, and speak for any group that primarily just wants to help bloggers become better bloggers or invites non-bloggers to be bloggers. Blogging has radically changed my life for the better and I feel like this blessing is something that should be shared! My dream? An association that’s main purpose is to care, support, and just help bloggers become better bloggers.

Imagine how many bloggers will appreciate free knowledge sharing on Search Engine Optimization, improving Google Adsense revenues, different forms of money-making tools, content generation, writing training in English and Filipino, personal branding (for career leveraging and selling), e-commerce opportunities, and ramping up traffic? We can even include other online money making ventures like freelancing (via o-desk, etc). Reading is not enough though. It would be great to have some form of mentorship programs, meet-ups, and conferences.

The internet is too big for one person or a group of people to monopolize! Let’s share the knowledge. Let’s pass on the blessing to others. Let’s teach others how to make money and how to build their personal brands effectively through blogging and social media. You know what would be nice? 90% of Filipino bloggers making the monthly $100 USD minimum checkout for Google. That’s actually you helping the country because you’re getting US dollars into the Philippines, haha. :)

The challenge for the blogging industry shouldn’t be just how to talk with agencies and draft policies (that’s important too though, hehe). The challenge is to elevate the level of blogging so that we can inspire and attract others to blog. I remember a good friend who used to be an OFW as a graphic designer. He eventually split up with his wife and family because the social cost of being an OFW was just too much. Later on he discovered blogging and online freelancing. It started as a sideline but it eventually blossomed and actually matched his salary! He came back home and now makes the same amount of money as an OFW. He just renewed his vows with his wife a few months ago. That’s just one story. I have so much more! I should really get around to writing that eBook, haha.

Personally, blogging changed my life. It gave me a career, a business, and the means to have the best wedding ever. If ever I’m going to join and support an association for bloggers it will be because I want more people to experience that and more.

26 Responses to “National Bloggers Association for the Philippines? Maybe.”

  1. Jam.

    +1000000 to this article. Wag lang haluan ng politics ang NBA (National bloggers association), ayos na ayos

  2. Paul

    I was just gonna point out, but was beat to it, that mixing politics would be detrimental.

    Just to elaborate, if this proposed NBA in anyway ‘unionizes’ bloggers, this would destroy the decentralized information network that makes blogging so valuable in the first place.

    Not all bloggers are going to agree on issues, and that’s perfectly fine, as long as one group, even if this were a majority group of bloggers, does not attain any political influence, whatever the pretext may be for this. Any politicization will harm the minorities who disagree, for whatever reason, with prevailing opinion, and diversity of opinion suffers.

    In short, any efforts to promote blogging should remain private, so as not to be to the prejudice of non-members.

  3. jayvee f.

    in 2007 i used to organize blogging development activities such as a hands on seminar on how to critique food and even how to shoot food. anyone can do this. you don’t need an organization. what you need are respective industry experts who are tapped by bloggers to conduct these seminars.

  4. Andre

    sure form one
    have them represent or give bloggers a voice
    form 3 or 4 even, there need not be just one
    has to have good leadership though
    who says The digital filipino doesnt represent bloggers already?

  5. skysenshi

    So many angles have come up regarding this issue. Right now, the Mindanaoan and Visayan bloggers are outraged that they have little to no representation in the development of this organization. Cripes. Although…there are merits to having an organization, I suppose.

    “90% of Filipino bloggers making the monthly $100 USD minimum checkout for Google.”

    And yeah I want this. Nuffnang is earning me more than Google. Hahaha!

  6. emer guingon

    Yes Carlo,
    I agree on all your points, especially the OFW couple story. we share an teach bloggers to fish & thus providing & becoming social entrepreneur -bloggers. I will join you in this cause.
    emer guingon
    Gk-Center for social innovation
    new media webcaster

  7. marhgil

    i agree. a blogging association to help others succeed online is ok for me. but an association to represent me or my stand on an issue, i think, it’s not needed. i can represent myself on my own. :)

  8. Franky

    All good points, Carlo. I have stayed away from this issue because after all, I’m not a Pinoy but just live here. Still I do think, over the last years I have gathered some insight and interests in blogging.

    I left my unsalted opinion over at Jayvee’s but all in all I think that we ‘professionals’, especially those in the tech/(social) new media sphere should take things a level further. A level further and join together, create a ‘massive and collective’ new media site, covering the largest niches. While I know this could result in many an argument about roles and topics, maybe even egos clashing, it would give the Pinoy blogosphere a truly unique and powerful presence. Founded and maintained by the ‘pros’, allowing every free time ‘blogger’, person who shares his/her own voice online, to contribute.

    While I believe in the option of forming a professional association, I do think the real ‘fight’ for bloggers is not protection or a standardized pay/quality level or even code of ethics. There will always be breaches, but a collective of the most experienced people can show that we are true media, and can deliver content as valuable as national media. National media who often revert to the aggregation of international press feeds, even for local matters.

    Contrarily to any ‘national association’, this would not have to result in an exclusion of these who do it for fun and in their free time and have no interest in being pros, earning from their word craft. Even in (printed) news papers often the readers’ post section is the most interesting and thriving section.

    When looking at things slightly different, blogging is not more than the typical ‘pirate radio station’, many of which have become respected and national stations, still interviewing Joe Average many years after their regularization. Blogging *is* media, we are (online) publishers, journalists, columnist and bring both news and opinion. The latter being something many respected news outlet fails at.
    Being organized is not necessarily a need for bloggers, but having a common, and more central platform to voice our opinions, being less decentralized, all while respecting the ‘anarchistic discourse’ made possible online thanks to ‘blogging’ could help.

    Such a platform, and website, would soon generate considerable revenue, revenue which could be used in the first place to compensate the anchor contributors, as well as share revenue with every single contributor. Parts of the revenue could also be used to organize workshops, workshops again lead by the anchor, experienced, contributors, allowing the ‘platform’ to share their its knowledge with the whole community. A community rather than an association.

  9. Red @ Filipino VA Tools and Tutorials

    How about an association that will tackle all the rights, legalities and business issue in the blogging world lalo na sa mga bloggers who are also providing services of great value. A group that will represent the common sentiments of all the pinoy blogger. A group that will help and guide a newbie to succeed. Ok lang mahaluan ng politics wag lang DIRTY politics. :)

  10. Tristan

    I am all for it! I’m quite new to the blogging scene and I find that I wish I could find a group to network with and exchange ideas with. While all Pinoy bloggers are essentially a ‘community’ already, albeit online, a group that meets and discusses worthwhile topics – esp. those you’ve mentioned, making a group whose “main purpose is to care, support, and just help bloggers become better bloggers” – is a great great support.

    • jean

      yes i hope to meet with such bloggers too…(most of professional bloggers and advertisers have humongous membership fees) – we are not earning yet but we are being rip off already… :(

      so yes to a group whose only concern is to make a better place in the cyberspace for bloggers by mentoring, meetups and online sharing…

  11. jean

    Nicely (beautifully) said. I agree with your advocacy of helping new bloggers and providing a better place for them to earn online.

    Being a new blogger, i am observing what this hobby of mine can offer. I have been a freelance writer for two years while working full time. I might have all the extra cash I need but it is taking the toll on my health. Not to mention the fact that freelancing online and working full time takes my time away from my kids (which defeats my purpose in being a mom).

    Why not just work? I love blogging and freelancing. Why not just work online? My family is scared with the newness of it. I am too.

    So this post makes me feel better and nearer to my decision of working at home…



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