Friday, August 31, 2007

Blog Round-Up and Ratified now accepts sponsors

Here are some latest posts online that you may be interested in:
As Andrew dela Serna announced, Ratified.org Philippines is now accepting sponsors for the site and more than happy to help out in getting that rolling. Advertising in Ratified.org Philippines is ideal for companies who have products, services, and websites that you want to be seen or noticed by bloggers.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Will Twitter replace Yahoo Groups?

When I started using Twitter last April, it was a tool that I never took seriously. Upon reaching 100 followers today, I've realized the following:
  • Twitter serves as a virtual chat room where you can post messages that can be viewed by everyone or addressed to friends that can be seen by mutual contacts.
  • Use Twitter to disseminate job openings, new blog posts, and interesting articles. This has affected my Yahoo Groups usage drastically and am now considering inviting my subscribers to use it. The only dilemma is that I won't be able to view their messages to me unless I follow or track them too. That is not an easy task if all of them will join.
  • Used Twitter as a means to remind people on developments regarding the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs and the Filipina Writing Project.
  • Whenever I encounter online disappointments, I have a need to rant a little. Posting two messages in Twitter was enough to let it out.
  • However, when these disappointments became big issues later on, Twitter became a means to clarify concerns and information asked by contacts.
  • When there's tension between two Twitter users, breaking the follow connection is always a great relief and avoid any possible misinterpretation of messages.
  • The more I used it, I felt an indirect closer connection as I get to know the people I follow better. I guess the same can be said vice versa. Aileen Apolo's unplanned YM conference birthday celebration last night would not be possible (for me to join) if not for Twitter.
  • Unexpectedly, Twitter can also allow contacts to get to know people's perspective on issues.
Although there are now other services popping in the market that is similar to Twitter, I find it hard to use another one as updating it won't be easy. So is Twitter the new Yahoo Groups? If you are using it to disseminate updates, like I do, probably it will be.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Trusting Bob

Continuing my sharing on the book "Winning With People" (and its workbook), there's a chapter in it that asks if we are Bob or do we have a Bob around us. Bob, in this case, is a person who has a problem with everyone. Bob is either a:
  • problem carrier
  • problem finder
  • problem creator
  • problem receiver
When dealing with Bob of our lives, I learned from John Maxwell that:
  • Respond with a positive comment
    Whenever something negative gets brought to us, listen and point out the positive too.

  • Show concern for someone being criticized
    Whenever motives are critiqued, give the benefit of the doubt. Believe the best in others.

  • Encourage steps towards resolution
    Whenever someone brings a complaint about another person, best to get them to talk. Not doing so and just speculating would be like gossiping.

  • Ask Bob to THINK before speaking
    Is is True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?

  • Keep Bob away from others
    Don't let their negativism spread.
Never let the situation mean more than the relationship
Whenever conflict arises between friends or peers, the first question I ask is do I still want to preserve the relationship with this person. More often than not, I do. Although restoring the trust in the relationship requires work and will take time, but it can be done.

Forgive and trust Bob again
  • Forgive as if you are in the right, you have power over the other person that can't be abused.
  • It should not happen again as forgiving doesn't mean that they can continue to hurt you. This has to be communicated.
  • Treat them according to their best qualities. The only way you can make another person trustworthy is by trusting them.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Attaining search engine visibility for Filipina


This blog post is a guide for those who have joined or planning to join the Filipina Writing Project where one of its objective is to attain search engine visibility for Filipina. I encourage those who are good at search engine optimization to share some tips as well.
In gist, the more you propagate or spread the word about your entry, the higher the chance that it will attract readers and soon gain search engine visibility.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Phone call works best

Last night, I was able to check out Craig Child's post on "When to use e-mail and when not to". It made me think of how I communicate and realized that:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dealing with hurting people (that hurt people)

John Maxwell has always played a great role in shaping my attitude in life and towards dealing with people. I finally got the chance to start re-reading the book "Winning With People" (and its workbook). I guess the timing is just right as there are so many things happening at this time and this book has given me much needed reflection.

One insight I learned is that who we are reflects how we see people. A fashionista will likely look at how the person dresses up herself immediately upon meeting her. A trusting person will view others as trustworthy.

Unfortunately, when we realize that those we trusted are not as trustworthy, instead of being disappointed, accept the reality that giving trust will not always entitle you to the same. In time, your intuition will sharpen and immediately know if a person is trustworthy or not even on the first meeting.

Whenever I get attacked by another person, I always try to remember the phrase "Hurting people hurt people and are easily hurt by them." As John Maxwell said, "When hurting people lash out, it is in response to what's happening inside them than what's happening around them. They feel or believe something negative within themselves. The problem is that those people who don't believe in themselves will never succeed, and they will also keep those around them from succeeding".

In dealing with hurting people, I learned from John Maxwell that:
  • Not to take things personally
    As those who tend to hurt people will find offense even where there's none given. For as long as you've done nothing wrong, then believe in oneself and not on what others say about you.

  • Look beyond the person for the problem
    Always remember that hurting people overreact, over-exaggerate, and overprotect. When a person's reaction is out of line or larger than the issue at hand, the response is almost always about something else.

  • Look beyond the situation
    Rise above the emotional turmoil that other people may create.

  • Do not add to their hurt
    Forgive and move on. Be kind and gentle. Although from experience, most of them can't stand this kind of response.
In my next post, I'll reflect on the kind of person we are and those we deal with. Do we lift people up or take people down in our relationships?

Related:

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Supporting the Filipina campaign


Around two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Dine encouraging support for her "Filipina" campaign. Peachy Herrin also shared this concern on our 2nd podcast. Dine and Noemi are also working together on The Filipina Images site with the intent of reshaping the image of the Filipina online.

I first heard of this campaign through Vonjobi who started it. At that time, all I could do is write a post about it.

Writing a blog post may help but I felt that there should be something bigger that needs to be done and hence the launch of the Filipina Writing Project. I'm encouraging everyone to participate and hope that this will also be a good preparation for an eyeball being set up on December 5.

When I posted this last July, it was supposed to be a pure search engine contest of sort. However, it is also a reality that not many are aware of SEO and may find the process complicated. Over the weekend, I began thinking of whether I will just scratch the project or convert it to something else.

This is where the writing project came to mind and perhaps may make more sense. Through quality content, I would like to believe, may be able to affect and influence search engine results. Whether that will be true or not remains to be seen.

I hope you can join the Filipina Writing Project.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

How to organize a blogging seminar or conference?

Referring to my post on getting connected with bloggers, encouraging questions to be asked. Micaela responded and asked:

"Our school is planning to hold the first ever blog seminar here in our city. Can you give us some tips and advice on how to organize such event step-by-step and what are the best topics to cover in a two days seminar? Hoping for your immediate post regarding this matter. Thank you in advance!"

Let me answer this question by sharing my volunteer work experience for the past three years in iBlog, organized by UP-ISP. They may not necessarily be in order and can happen concurrently.

1. Identify the organization that will spearhead the event and capable of allotting basic fund resources to make it happen.
This is the body that shall make the official correspondence for sponsorship solicitation, speaker invitations, and dealing with suppliers. It must have a basic fund to cover cost of secretariat manpower and can pay advances to expenses as necessary.

2. Set the date and venue
Identify a date where most participants can attend. If it is for the public at large, I'm more inclined in having a one-day rather two days event. However, if you have a guaranteed audience, such as students from various schools, then by all means proceed with the two days.

3. Draft the budget plan
You need to manage your cost such as food, venue, electricity, manpower, tokens for speakers and sponsors, promotion collaterals such as posters, streamers to promote prior and at the event, handouts / programme kits, name badges, projection system rental, sound system rental, and other items you want to be included.

4. Form the team and assign tasks
Identify team members who will help put this event and assign tasks that includes:
  • Creating/updating the website
  • Speakers invitation and coordination
  • Campaign for sponsors and set-up coordination
  • Billing and collection of sponsorship fees
  • Supplier sourcing
  • Campaign for participants
  • Participant registration and follow-up
  • Media invitation and coordination
  • Actual event set-up
  • Documentation and live blogging
5. Identify the target audience
Your primary target audience will drive the content that you need to include in the program.

6. Identify the topics
If it is for beginners, topics you can consider are:
  • Setting up a blog
    Ideally using popular tools such as Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, among others. The person must be able to explain the differences of these platforms and which is suited for specific needs.
  • Blogging do's and don'ts.
    To help new bloggers in conducting themselves online and make them aware of the risks they need to manage, should they be more adventurous with it.
  • Taking photos for blogs
    Share tips on how to take pictures for blogs, online storage, and protection from copyright infringement.
  • Blogging success stories
    This can be combination of newbie and established bloggers to share their experience. Success can come in any form such as revenue gained, recognition, or be able to create awareness on critical issues that influence its outcome.
  • Experience sharing on blog set-up
    Bloggers from different profession or status can share their personal experience in putting up one and their lessons learned too. You can feature a student blogger, mommy or daddy blogger, photo-blog, cooking blog, travel blog, news blog, retail blog, among others.
  • Audio and video blogging
    You can invite podcasters and vloggers to discuss how to set up a podcast and create a video blog.
  • Legal issues in blogging
    You can invite a blogger/lawyer to talk about legal risks in blogging such as libel, slander, copyright infringement, terrorism, among others.
If you will open your program to bloggers at large, you can also include advance topics such as:
  • Blog monetization
    Various ways that bloggers can earn from their blogs. You can invite a blogger to share their experience on this.
  • Becoming a Problogger
    Invite a problogger to share their experience on how they start and steps take to become a problogger.
  • Political and Advocacy Blogging
    Discuss blogs can be used to share political developments and be a tool for transparent elections. Get NGO groups who use blogs for this purpose. The same for advocacy groups on various causes.
7. Invite speakers
Identify speakers who can credibly talk about the topics above. As your ongoing campaign will also promote the speakers' blog, make sure to get resource persons who are willing to blog about your event at the moment they agree to speak.

If you are based in the province, prioritize getting local speakers to give them the exposure they need as well.

8. Develop a sponsorship package
Once your budget is clear, create a sponsorship package that will allow you to cover its cost. Make sure that the benefits for each category is distinctive. Prioritize in getting the major cost items (such as food) be funded and let the rest be flexible. For every sponsorship package, identify potential sponsors to be approached. Note that your target sponsors receive so many proposals everyday. Make sure your offer stands-out and be too hard to pass.

9. Campaign for sponsors
Identify a sponsorship campaign period and the date where you'll start inviting participants. This way, sponsors can decide on or before that date and be included in your announcements once they commit.

10. Supplier sourcing
Look for suppliers to cover your cost items. Do this at the early stage so you can get the best deal as possible.

11. Campaign for attendees
Provide details about the event through as many of your blogging friends as possible. Have a common blog or website where interested participants can sign up. If your event is based in the province, give details on hotels where they can stay and get special rates as well.

12. Send out a press release
Get your local publications to write and cover your event. Make sure to have a press release ready and be sent out.

13. Have meetings regularly
Team members should meet regularly so that problems can be resolve once spotted.

14. Get volunteers
It is amazing to note that the blogging community can also be supportive or helpful to each other. Do not hesitate to ask for volunteers to help you with the registration and photo coverage of the event.

15. Coordinate the ingress / exit
Send out memos to sponsors two weeks before the ingress date so that they can aptly prepare. Suppliers should have delivered the items ordered on or before the event date. Make sure to be ready to take care of this and have food ready as well for your sponsors and suppliers on the night before the event.

After the event, proper packing up of equipment used, trash disposal, kits, among others should be done properly.

16. Send speaker presentation guidelines and ask for presentations 3 days prior to the event.
Make sure they comply to the guidelines you have given such as number of slides, time limit and non-sponsor plugs (that includes doing raffle and freebies).

Some speakers would like to give freebies but make sure this is done in a way to add interaction, value, or fun to the talk. Rather than a hard-sell.

It is ok to mention companies as case studies. But when a speaker's talk already becomes a venue to promote and hard sell a company - to the point participants already mistaken them as a sponsor, that is a different story altogether.

There are speakers who don't get to submit their materials ahead of time. Only give leeway if you can trust that the speaker will not do a sponsor-like talk or can deliver a presentation relevant to the topic assigned.

17. Manage the event
On the event day, if things are planned and executed accordingly, you'll find yourself mingling with speakers, suppliers, team members, and participants on a relaxed mode.

18. Celebrate with the team
Have fun after the event to celebrate.

19. Post online coverage
Blog about the event, upload speaker handouts, and collate the media and blog coverage. Sponsors need this information as one way to measure the effectiveness of an event.

20. Post-event meeting
Discuss event turn-out, coverage, and any other items that need action such as sponsorship collection, tokens and supplier payout.

21. Plan for the future
Do you want to do it again? Identify a target date where you can meet, sit down, and discuss it soon.

(Although some event teams don't get to do the latter parts especially if they have been doing it for quite awhile.)

Do you have additional tips to add to the above? Let me know and will update this.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Lessons Learned in Organizing a Writing Project

The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs was the first writing project that I've organized online out of inspiration. There were several lessons learned that I've reflected upon and would like to share it here.
  • Regardless of age, we certainly can be of positive or of negative influence to others.
    The young bloggers and the not-technical-type of bloggers are gaining readership while providing active interaction as well. They may not have the bulk numbers, but are able to mobilize their small base to participate.

  • One must take the effort to reach out and ask for help.
    The youngest blog age winner in the group just started last June. He made himself known faster by providing a service that he is an expert in it.

  • Being honest and truthful in sharing yourself matters
    Every blog that has entered the top 10 has their own unique charisma. They are able to engage their readers with almost every post they make.
On the organization challenges side, this is what I learned:
  • Getting international participants takes more work.
    My blog's name, having Filipino in it, immediately gave an impression that it is limited to the Philippines - which may have a direct impact on attracting entries. Next year, we could either do better in attracting more foreign entries or just limit it here in the Philippines. I'm still biased on making it international or at least that is still the end objective.

  • To tally or not?
    The original idea for the writing project was just for entries to share their top ten emerging influential blogs. There wasn't supposedly any tallying to be done each week. However, as the entries came in, where the first two weeks had a good number of international participation, the information shared were more than useful and got distributed through the weekly count.

  • Writing project or be a real voting thing
    In determining the top 10, one suggestion given is to make it a real award thing by having a voting or judging system. The informality of the writing project has its own beauty and makes the process more open. It also makes the overall top 10 list reflective on the community that participated. If done again next year, I'm hopeful that participation will be better. There are also three ongoing Internet-related awards that gives recognition to blogs and perhaps best to let those established already to take care of it. Rather than become a me-too kind of thing.

  • More promotion for blogs
    I encourage those who believe that there's a better way to do something like this to organize their own activities. Much like with the face-to-face Internet surveys I've done, whenever results are doubted, I tell them that opinions are not enough. Match the effort made with the same level of work I've given or better, as it is so easy to just "say something." I'll be happy to compare notes on successes and failures.
Achieve the objective
Not to lose sight or focus, the primary objective of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs writing project is to create awareness on new blogs that are making great waves out there. Discovering more than 500 new blogs from the 193 participants, thank you for sharing them!

Want more?
There are ongoing writing projects that the DigitalFilipino.com Club has supported such as the Wika2007 and You Got Blogged. Check them out!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Winners: Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2007

Sincerest thanks to everyone who took time-out to attend the eyeball event for participants of The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2007 writing project.

As chosen by bloggers who participated in this writing project, the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2007 are:
  1. An Apple a Day
    The Philosophical Bastard

  2. The D Spot
  3. CokskiBlue
  4. Make Money Online with a 13-Year Old
  5. Culture Shiok!
    Utakgago
  6. Kubiertos
  7. FruityOaty
    PinoyBlogero
  8. The Dork Factor
    The Anitokid Chronikos
  9. Gibbs Cadiz
  10. Confessions of a Hopeless Romantic
The ten (10) raffle winners who got US$100 each are as follows: (please email me at digitalfilipino (at) gmail (dot) com and give me your contact number to coordinate your prize claim. Kindly expect me to perform a little verification to ensure that no one is misrepresenting you.)
  1. Maryrose
  2. Sofia for BiSEAN
  3. J Angelo Racoma
  4. Heneroso
  5. Fruityoaty
  6. Annamanila
  7. Webbyman
  8. Marie Casas
  9. Mira
  10. Jehzeel Laurente
Our sincerest thanks as well to the following sponsors:

This whole effort will not be possible without the support of our sponsors. One of them is www.YesPayments.com.ph. The company is the Premier Internet Payment Gateway in the Philippines. YESpayments accepts credit cards, prepaid cards and debit cards issued world wide and in the Philippines. YESpayments is known for its high standards of support and strict compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). The company has published an E-Commerce Guide as well for anyone wanting to accept payments online.

Post-Eyeball: The Top Ten Emerging Influential Blogs for 2007

Congratulations once again to all the winners of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2007. It was great to see bloggers who took time out to attend last night to catch up and got to meet our club members as well. Here are some photos taken from the event and will be uploading more to it shortly.



Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2007

Video:
More pictures from:
Here are some eyeball participant write-ups for your reading pleasure: (will update this as we get to read more post about it)

This gathering won't be possible without the support of our eyeball sponsor YEHEY! During the event, they announced their newest instant messaging service, Yehey!Tol and Dangka virtual community where bloggers can converge and socialize further.

Thank you also to Globe Telecomms and Dominguez Marketing Communications for providing raffle prizes during the affair. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blogging and the Long Tail

The results in the Top Ten Emerging Influential Blogs clearly strengthens the idea pushed by Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail". With the unlimited blogs that we can read today, blogs with the highest set of readers do not necessarily dominate the entire blogosphere.

The recent writing project shows that around 17% of participants cited the number one blog in the listing. The rest have picked on the other 509 blogs. Even if the blog age limit gets removed, I'm certain that the blogs we perceived to be influential will not be as strong as it seems, while there'll be some who will caught us by surprise. Because being influential is not the same as being the most popular.

Yesterday, I exchange blogging ideas with several photojournalists (Aaron Vicencio, Gigie Cruz, Toto Lozano, Paolo Piccones, Tammy David, Nonie Reyes, VJ Villafranca, Cris Sevilla, Rem Zamora, Buck Pago, among others) studying at the Ateneo's Asian Center for Journalism. That 2-hour discussion inspired me to come up with a photo-blog project which I will announce soon. (Thanks to Luz Rimban, formerly of PCIJ, for inviting me and hope our collaboration on the election monitoring project will push through.)

An interesting question asked then was the issue on disclosures by those who generate revenue from their blogs and what do I think about them. I believe that each blogger is responsible for their own blog. Their blog is their own business and can do whatever with it. They are bound by their own rules or of the blog networks and revenue programs that they joined. If the readers don't like what they see, they can easily tune out by not visiting your blog anymore or unsubscribe to your blog feed.

Blogging is also evolving that old time web publishers like me (circa 1997) could either ignore, impose, compete, or embrace sincerely.

Ignore means not caring on how this new publishing medium is evolving. Impose means we insinuate our rules to others and damn those who are not doing their business according to it. Compete is joining the bandwagon and battle it out. Embrace sincerely can be supporting the growth of this medium and be developmental in one's approach. I added the word "sincerely" as this is NOT the one where "I'm willing to teach or help you but no way that you'll be better or popular than me."

We are now living in an age where bestsellers are not the one that rules anymore. Each one of us can pick on the approach that will work best and be responsible for its benefit or consequences. Peace!