I recently came across an inquiry post from a blogger-friend's FB page wall:
"Bakit gusto mo maging blogger? Why do you blog?"And to which I briefly commented:
"I didn't... I just wanted an outlet for my thoughts other than my personal journal (pen & paper got really old).. and then things just kinda got out of hand."With everything that's happening in local blogging, these are two valid and relative questions actually.
Like I said in the comment, I didn't set out to be a "blogger" - I was writing my stuff on the internet even before I learned the word "blog" or found out that there are others like myself out there who get invited to company media events.
And like I said in my previous blog post, my first media event was a restaurant food review in San Juan where I actually paid for my meal. I was curious so I joined. And it was Months after that before I was able to join another "blogging" event.
Blog or weblog to my understanding, is supposed to be, personal and unrestricted. It can be in a form of a journal or your very own personal web magazine.
Right now, it's being labeled as part of online media along with social media or micro-blogging sites, like Facebook and Twitter, which came a bit later. Recognizing that it's the future, newspapers, TV news programs and magazines later joined the online bandwagon. Entrepreneurial bloggers also formed online media sites to exploit information-rich niches like entertainment.
So how would you differentiate a blog from everything else that's written online?
Let's answer the second question, "Why Do You Blog?" and go back to the original purpose of our being (as bloggers) to find out.
I blog because even before the arrival of the internet, I was already writing my stories with pen and paper. It's a passion and at the same time an outlet for all my thoughts and creative outputs.
The problem, I think, started when brands and advertising realized the immense power of some credible online outputs to influence other people and then capitalized on the idea as part of their marketing strategies.
Which became beneficial to both brand and blogger. Brands are able to get their stuff online to a wider audience. Plus, once it's out there, it stays there until the blogger decides to delete the post. It's actually an ingenious way of promoting their stuff. Some brands through their PR handlers provide bloggers with compensation for their efforts as a token of their appreciation. However, some brands (and PRs) just like to take advantage.
The blogger, aside from the offered compensation or token, gets a first-hand experience and all the information that they can use for their blog post. Sometimes brand also offers exclusive contents to selected bloggers.
However, some bloggers like to think that blogging is a way for them to make a living (which is not entirely bad) since it's really way too expensive to maintain a blog and it's only right that when a PR or a brand requests your presence to attend (or cover) an event that they make it worth your while. Because contrary to popular belief, bloggers spend TIME, TALENT and TREASURES when they go out to cover and write a blog.
But the thing is, bloggers (real bloggers) are the ones that don't need EVENTS to blog. They're the ones that offer original contents and not press releases all the time. They're the ones that even when their posts are not boosted on social media sites still generate organic reads.
For those who will ask, yes I do attend events. But I make sure that I attend events that I like not only because it's well compensated but because the story will be great for my blog. Sometimes, I attend events because of peer pressure but there are three things that determine my decision to attend an event.
- COMPENSATION (Is It Worth My While?)
I also choose events that provide me with exclusive contents. That's why I would always choose GMA over ABS CBN because of the chance to talk to the personalities. That's why I would always choose a small brand who invited a select number of bloggers than a big brand who invited the entire blogging community for a party-party event.
For those who will ask, yes I do post Press Releases. While it is not a priority, I do post press releases because as a solo blogger, I cannot be in all the places that I want to be all the time. But when I do post a press release, I make sure of the following:
- STORY (A story that I like or something that my readers would be interested in)
- I AM ALLOWED TO EDIT THE MATERIAL
- YOU'RE EITHER A FRIEND OR IT'S PAID ADVERTORIAL
My take is that to GIVE TO CAESAR WHAT IS CAESAR'S.
I have the highest respect for Journalists specially those who also respect the blogging community and those who have also recently joined the community.
Journalists can have their own blog - but non-journalist bloggers can never be a journalist, well at least not until the blogger decides to study and pursue a career as one. Let's get that fact out in the open first.
However, that doesn't mean that bloggers are not as good as a writer than a Journalist. I know of some bloggers who write pretty well and some Journalists who write sloppy articles too. So we can never generalize on that.
Now with regards to the accreditation, while I am inclined to say that it's a clear manifestation of a double standard practice - but what else is new? Bloggers experience that all the time specially when covering entertainment events.
I hear it all the time, social media and blogging are very powerful tools nowadays, but we (bloggers) often forget, because of the pressure exerted on us by brands and traditional media to bend or roll over to their bidding, that the real power resides on us being independent and unrestricted.
When we focus so much on getting accreditation and recognition from groups and brands, we lose that power. We are restricted, chained and limited.
Bloggers can and will get their stories out, with or without, the authorization of other people. We are our own authors.
I CAN ALWAYS CHOOSE TO WRITE about Smart, Globe, Starbucks, Oppo, Samsung and any other brand if I want to, but I can always choose not to. And that's the beauty of blogging isn't it? :)
Journalists who are tied to a publication or a news organization can never have the freedom and power that we are now currently enjoying. So I say to hell with those accreditation and double standards. #MaliitNaBagay