Thursday, May 13, 2010

Professional standards for blogging? Eh?

This is in response to an issue brought up by my friend Rowena Lim Lei of Animetric's World:
http://animetric.blogspot.com/2010/05/mega-magazine-launch-and-now-back-to.html

I just finished reading the alternate views that basically scolded Ro for blogging about her experience and my response to these is...really...blogging wasn't supposed to be a professional tool when it was first invented. It was supposed to be a web log. Many people blog for different reasons...like I actually do mine as a personal thing, mainly to chronicle personal events that I deemed important to me at some point in time. And I've been a blogger since 2001. During that time, bloggers only write about very personal things. To be told how to blog defeats the purpose of blogging because again...it's supposed to be a personal thing. It's not supposed to work the way traditional media does and that's the beauty of it. It's what makes blogging an interesting topic for discourse analysis. Because it has a personal slant. It has a tone. It does not pretend to be unbiased. (This is why I'm particularly interested in that Bugged Life's blog. What the author said...a lot of it I actually agree with.)

Blogging only became a professional platform when it became profitable. Suddenly it's a delicate medium to be used for viral marketing techniques. Suddenly, business ethics are involved. Suddenly everyone wants to put standards on how to do this and that and these standards are...guess what...steeped in the structuralist traditions of old media. We're trying to treat a dynamic medium the way we treat newspapers and magazines. Well...that's not going to happen, because a blog will function differently. It is not a newspaper. It is not a magazine. It's not even an academic journal. And a research scientist worth her salt will never ever cite as reference any blog no matter how thorough its research has been because it's all made up of synapses...even if there is now an official APA format for using blogs in your bibliography, these will still not be considered valid. That's tantamount to using Wikipedia as a reference in a published document. (Translation: It's bad.)

If we all suddenly become journalistic, then the point of blogging (how we all began back in the late 90s and early 2000s: we want to get away from the formalities of our work/school) is lost. It will become impersonal. Like every other commercialized and contrived item that we are bombarded with.

And gosh! I do research writing nearly on a daily basis. When I'm not a student, my work requires that I breathe technical writing. I cannot imagine maintaining those kinds of writing on my own blog. That will drive me nuts.  I now have a whole year to write my doctoral dissertation and Ro has already warned me that my writing has started to seem like an encyclopedia. Blogging breaks that chain for me. (Besides, when I see my prim and business-like professors blog...it's a relief to find that they're actually human, so different from what they show us in class.)


Honestly, Ro...if you had not come up against a giant, people wouldn't be throwing stones at you. But now that their booboo is listed on top of Google's search results, you're suddenly in the wrong. I'm glad you're standing your ground. Don't let yourself be bullied for using a medium the way you saw fit. :)



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15 comments :

  1. thank you, both, paul and rowena.

    sorry ha...i got pikon with some of the responses to your blog, ro, because they really hit a lot of nerves.

    it's like trying to turn a multimedia arts department into mass comm. that sort of thing. hahahahaha! omg, that's a fitting analogy!

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  2. ooh wait. before i get flailed for the last remark...disclaimer: i am a masscommer working in a multimedia arts department. thing is...i know the difference between the two. don't keeeeeel meeeh.

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  3. Very well said, ma'am!

    Sapul na sapul, saktong sakto, palong palo.

    ReplyDelete
  4. hello, i do believe i have answered your points in a comment in my blog. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well...I think my sister Alex already covered those points you covered, so I'll keep to this. Thank you.

    My bottom line is: Why is it that when traditional media people begin to touch what was originally our domain, everything becomes commercialized? It feels so much like when human beings tried to invade the Na'vi in Avatar.

    I will say this, though. I do not even revolve around the local blogosphere. I belong to an international community of an entirely different media sphere. As you can see...I do not know the popular local blogs. I only reply to friends' blogs.

    Having said that, there is a reason why I do not normally go to events when I am invited as a blogger. But I do go when I am invited as a representative of my multimedia organizations. Or as a contributor to a magazine/newspaper. Never as a blogger. Why? Because events people tend to abuse bloggers. Bloggers don't get paid -- not even for transportation -- are treated shabbily and events people expect to have glowing reviews? Huwaaat? So abusive.

    Take note, I suppose events people are 100% AWARE that when they invite bloggers, they are expected to be written about. Right? This is the only similarity between blogging and writing for a lifestyle section: YOU WILL WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN INVITED FOR. Why do you think Nestor Torre and that daughter of Inday Badiday would mouth off in their columns whenever they are treated badly?

    The only time I actually do attend an event when I'm invited as a blogger is when it is Summit Publishing's event. They treat everyone like invited guests. Everyone. The other events...I only go when Rowena makes me kulit about going.

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  6. Hay...I should really go switch to Disqus because comments can be edited in that interface. LOL. I keep deleting and re-editing my comments. Haha!

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  7. ...but to answer your post specifically.

    There are two different kinds of bloggers: personal bloggers, and bloggers who interact with businesses for content. The dynamics are different, the latter being more complicated. It requires professionalism from both sides every step of the way.

    I think that you're talking about the former, while I am discussing the latter in my blog post. :) Oranges and apples, as they say.

    So yes, there should definitely be a standard for bloggers who freely choose to be in a business relationship with companies. I agree that blogging should remain personal, but the content should be well-written (informative, accurate, balanced). Relationships should be well-maintained (courtesy, respect).

    True, those values are not compulsory. Heck, it's stupid to make them compulsory.

    But I believe that they're good to have.

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  8. Regarding your most recent post naman. :)

    You're right. It's a blogger's choice to make his/her blog "commercialized". It's a blogger's choice whether to attend events or not.

    Once the blogger makes these choices in the positive though, he/she begins to tread on touchy ground. The person is no longer "just a blogger" anymore, he/she is now part of the media, and should act as such.

    I'm not saying bloggers should keep their mouths shut if there's a problem. I'm saying that it's always better to try to resolve problems privately first, if their nature is private. Failing that, the ideal is that they write about the problem in a tempered, just manner without spewing vitriol.

    This isn't kissing ass. It's just being responsible.

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  9. My response to this is in the second to the last paragraph of my former post.

    While researchers and journalists have always talked about "balanced" write-ups, I say there is no such thing as an objective write-up. But you can try to be. As soon as you write something, your personal slant will come out of it even if you use the most business-savvy words mankind can invent. Everything that comes out of our pen is governed by stylistics. Why you chose that angle of writing and why you chose to feature this and not that...discard this information and use the other one...these are already tainted with personal biases...whether they were written for business purposes or not. It's all a matter of framing.

    I am familiar with the business side of writing online because that had been my bread and butter before I went into the academe. I know the rules. I also know a personal blog when I see one. Rowena's is a personal blog. It doesn't seem like it at first glance but if you study her choice of words carefully, you should be able to tell the difference.

    What I liked about what Rowena did was that she was willing to talk to the Mega Group and is willing to post their side. That's the closest thing to a balanced activity you can come up with.


    Lastly...there are more than two kinds of bloggers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. She did actually try to resolve it privately. It was written right there in her blog what she tried to do. That's why this whole brouhaha ended up on her blog in the first place.

    Well, anyway, I still believe it was good that she blogged about it. And the more people blog/tweet about her post, the higher her Google PR ranking goes. To traditional media people, it may seem appalling. But sometimes you have to blaze a trail in order to be heard.

    Galileo's theories would not have stood the test of time had he not been imprisoned for spouting "heresy".

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  11. My response to this is in the second to the last paragraph of my former post.

    While researchers and journalists have always talked about "balanced" write-ups, I say there is no such thing as an objective write-up. But you can try to be. As soon as you write something, your personal slant will come out of it even if you use the most business-savvy words mankind can invent. Everything that comes out of our pen is governed by stylistics. Why you chose that angle of writing and why you chose to feature this and not that...discard this information and use the other one...these are already tainted with personal biases...whether they were written for business purposes or not. It's all a matter of framing.

    I am familiar with the business side of writing online because that had been my bread and butter before I went into the academe. I know the rules. I also know a personal blog when I see one. Rowena's is a personal blog. It doesn't seem like it at first glance but if you study her choice of words carefully, you should be able to tell the difference.

    What I liked about what Rowena did was that she was willing to talk to the Mega Group and is willing to post their side. That's the closest thing to a balanced activity you can come up with.


    Lastly...there are more than two kinds of bloggers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very well said, ma'am!

    Sapul na sapul, saktong sakto, palong palo.

    ReplyDelete

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