Archive for the technology Category

Bloggers are people who blog

Posted in entrepreneurship, technology, writing on July 7, 2012 by gohelpyourself

Everyone could and should have a blog. (Photo by Svilen Milev, taken from http://www.sxc.hu)

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Do you have a brain? Does it have a few functioning neurons? Can you figure out how to use a blogging website or software?

Then congratulations! You can now become a blogger. I can’t guarantee that you will become a good or popular blogger, but I’m pretty sure that you can be a blogger.

It’s that simple. If there is one thing that I learned from bloggers recently, it’s this: they are a bunch of people who can type and have something to say. At first I thought they had special abilities, like mind control and telekinesis.

Anyway, it’s now obvious that despite my few years of sporadic blogging, I still belong to the uninitiated group. When I attended the iBlog8 Summit at the University of the Philippines, I met some awesome bloggers.

Some were very young, some not so young. Some wrote about technology, some wrote about skateboards, some wrote about makeup. In my attempt to figure out what makes a successful blogger, two qualities stood out in my preliminary examination: useful content and online charisma.

Bloggers blog, writers write

Bloggers are people who blog. It’s pretty much the same way when I say that writers are people who write. Talkers are people who talk. Walkers are people who walk. It’s Aristotle who said that we are what we repeatedly do, right? That’s why I try to be careful of what I do. If I surf the web, then I become a web surfer. And if I make stupid comments on Facebook and other social networking sites, I become a stupid commenter.

Most of the time, I try my best to pretend that I’m smart. Maybe some of you know about that cartoon of Peter Steiner in the New Yorker in 1993. The caption says, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” That cartoon is eerily prescient, considering that dogs today post status updates using their Facebook accounts. The funny thing is, people actually love it if you’re a dog.

During iBlog 8, the first blog summit I attended, I enjoyed Carlo Ople’s talk. He’s the man behind the TV5 Facebook community, which now has 1.5 million fans, and www.thenewmedia.com. His talk was titled “Unboxing the true potential of your blog”.

Sweetspot

He showed us a nice Venn diagram showing the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, and what makes money. It’s very much similar to the messages of serial entrepreneurs Barbara Winter, Jonathan Fields, and Chris Guillebeau.

Carlo said bloggers who want to make money out of their blogs should prepare media kits that contain info about the blog, traffic, rates, etc.

One of his key messages is this: “Walang basagan ng trip.” Ople wants to make money, tons of money, from his blog and website. But some people don’t like it. “Walang basagan ng trip” is just a way of telling them to mind their own business. Fair enough.

Mark Joseph Delgado is a young and energetic man who is very much into social media campaigns. He talked about “Creating a Blog Activation Campaign” and did it by finding parallels  in the movie Hunger Games, which is based on a book by Suzanne Collins.

He had five tips: 1) Have a purpose, 2) Connect with identity, 3) Choose your weapons, 4) Create alliances, and 5) Make sure they remember you.

Relationships and networks

I’m not going to talk about the movie because I thought it was lousy. What I got from Mark’s talk is that relationships and networks are always important. And you have to find out how to build these relationships and networks using online tools. Same principles, different tools. By the way, you can check out his site at http://www.mediactiv8.com/.

Jason Acidre is another young man who is still a puzzle to me. He is an SEO (search engine optimization) expert. And he’s a professional Counterstrike gamer too! He earns money just playing a game.

He talked about “Inbound Marketing”, which, according to him, can only be successful if we “continuously build more useful content and promote like hell”. I like that, “promote like hell”. I know some people who are shameless self-promoters. And they generally get the breaks even with zero talent. That’s the reality folks. With the little talent most of us have, shameless self-promotion is a good talent to have, provided we exert a little restraint and do it with taste.

Danilo Arao, professor of UP, also gave an excellent talk. His topic was “Blogging, social media, journalism: The use, misuse and abuse of freedom of expression”. It sounded like a thesis title. Nevertheless, the talk was learned and well-researched.

“i” for intelligent

Since many bloggers in the audience didn’t have a clue about responsible blogging, he presented a “Bloggers Code of Ethics” taken from cyberjournalist.net: 1) Be honest and fair, 2) Minimize harm, 3) Be accountable.

The letter “i” in iBlog, he said, should stand for “intelligent”. And one way to be intelligent about blogging is to have the “same standards for blogging and journalism.” Some bloggers, unfortunately, remain to be more obtuse than enlightened on the matter.

Tonyo Cruz, who talked about “Social Media for Social Good”, believes that blogging can be used for helping people and for promoting causes. He cited Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, the disasters in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in 2011, and the Arab Spring in 2011 as events that triggered the compassion and activism of bloggers.

He exhorted bloggers to be good citizens, to teach others, to do it for a better future.

Deciphering the youth

From Lloyd Salas, a teenage blogger, I learned about “Youth and Blogging: The Next Generation of Bloggers Are Here”. Well, he certainly made me realize that there are many of them out there.

Have you heard about David Guison, Lissa Kahayon, and Kimpoy Feliciano? I don’t know them, and I’m not sure if knowing them will enrich my life. Now this one maybe is a matter of age. Oh well.

Boris Joaquin, Chief Marketing Officer of All Famous Asia Integrated Marketing, revealed what PR companies are looking for in a blog. They want four things: 1) Focus, 2) Activity and Engagement, 3) Strong Readership, 4) Originality.

I have problems with the first one. I don’t want to focus on one thing on my blog. It’s boring. It’s a matter of taste, I guess, and it’s a matter of what I want to do with my blog. In any case, this blog is still an experiment, and I don’t want PR companies meddling with my blog for now.

How important is grammar?

Interestingly, Boris talked about watching your grammar and language. I’ve seen popular blogs with terrible grammar. I also once came across the blog of one intelligent actor. Quite an interesting blog, but for some reason, the blogger actor refuses to use capital letters at the beginning of sentences. It’s irritating. It isn’t cute. I stopped reading the blog after two articles.

I just find what Boris said ironic. If PR companies look for engagement and eyeballs, then why bother with grammar at all? Grammar is not a problem with the readers of some popular bloggers. I think bloggers should worry more about engagement than grammar.

And if you must know the magic numbers that PR companies are looking for, Boris suggests: 100 unique daily visitors, 10,000 viewers a month, and 10,000 to 20,000 hits a month.

Now I don’t have that many relatives. So you may want to help me out here.

There are many other speakers I haven’t included because I only attended day one of the summit. But I guess this is enough for now.

Let’s party

Let me end with an analogy for social media by David Meerman Scott, a marketing expert.

“If you follow my metaphor of the web as a city, then think of social media and the ways that people interact on blogs, forums, and social networking sites as the bars, private clubs, and cocktail parties of the city,” he said in his book The New Rules of PR and Marketing.

He goes on to say that “Viewing the web as a sprawling city where social media are the places people congregate to have fun helps us make sense of how marketers can best use the tools of social media.”

No wonder we find all sorts of people in blogs. And that’s why we stay to read their thoughts or go somewhere else.

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