Wednesday, October 31, 2007

2007: Year of the new bloggers

I've been pondering lately on how this year went for the local blogging community. Of course, there were several major events here and there but all I could say is that the last half of the year indeed has shown us that bloggers, even if they are just new or not your usual high-profile ones, can make a difference online. Here are some examples:
  1. Aileen who just had her blog anniversary is known for organizing the very successful Taste Asia 1 and Taste Asia 2 events. Her capability to influence traditional businesses like SM has awaken other establishments to take this community seriously.

  2. Not all contest can be just about prizes. Even the uncanny can attract attention and that is what Paolo's Pinoy Evil Blog Awards did. Today, Paolo is transforming himself as a self-sustaining blogger and his adventures of making money online can inspire newbies out there.

  3. Karlo of PinoyBlogero attracted a lot of attention with his talent in creating button images and unselfishly sharing his talent to causes that interests him too. Lately, he organized a blog of the month contest which is giving much needed exposure to new bloggers out there.

  4. Coy also launched his vlogging awareness campaign and I believe this is a great move and opportunity for more Pinoys to get into it. The future is multimedia and makes the blogging experience more exciting and even competitive.

  5. Gibbs Cadiz' passion for theater and using blogs as a medium to spread the knowledge about it is a good case study that other special interest groups should seriously look at. Not to forget PinoyCentric who is an active collaborator on this too.

  6. Mon showed that a writing project is not necessarily limited to voting of blogs but can be a celebration of one's gaming hobby. It seems Mon found a niche and organized activities like his blogging carnival and more contests!

  7. Dine Racoma is now using her blog to encourage her readers to explore doing work at home in this growing outsourcing business. She was the primary inspiration behind the Filipina Writing Project.
Another thing to note is the emergence of blogging segments that is born out of cooperation from bloggers with the same vision and goals.
  1. In Manila, you'll find Benj, Bikoy, Ederic, Jhay, JM, Mong, Sarah, Shari, Martz, Tonyo, and Vencer organized the Bloggers' Kapihan that reaches out to educators and high school students in bringing blogging knowledge to them. The next generation of bloggers, I could say are pretty lucky, as there is so much activities out there that they can participate in and enrich their knowledge if they want to.

  2. In Davao City, the usual suspects worked together to make the Mindanao Bloggers Summit a success.

  3. PJ Punla also just had a Granado Espada players/bloggers meet-up fostering camarederie among fellow game players and exchange some blogging tips as well.
Next year, I believe that more new bloggers will step up and be inspired to mount their own initiatives that will make blogging fun, bigger, and encourage further participation. There shall be no monopoly of ideas or neither claim leadership of this community as each and every blogger can be a leader and do good.

For those of us who have been blogging for more than 2 years or more, this provides an interesting challenge to reinvent ourselves and remain competitive. My note to self includes:
  1. Spare time to reach out. Read new blogs and make time to do that.
  2. Avoid the situation where you'll only linked to the people you know and those you like. Give link love to those who produce great content that gave me great or fun learnings for the day.
  3. Develop new content and share knowledge that may benefit those who are interested to learn about it.
  4. Lastly, keep my feet on the ground and be thankful to those who helped during trying times.
On a last note, last day of submission to the Filipina Writing Project is on November 24. You Got Blogged will also receive entries up to December 14.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Changing blog advertising revenue models

Early January this year, I launched an experimental ad network where I invited club members and friends for the trial. It was a good idea at that time and still is today. As credibility is something that must be instilled and protected, advertisers in the network were limited to club members as well. Time shall tell whether we eventually became the first blog advertising placement network in the Philippines.

The recent shake-up in the Google PageRank system encourages people like me to look into other parameters that can take its place but still do-able, proactive, and of high-value.

An option that came to mind is for blog members to demonstrate that they have taken an active effort to promote their blogs that can be done in a variety of ways (e.g. Filipina search engine campaign). This means removal of the Google PageRank criteria and replace it with efforts for blog promotion. Still experimenting with this idea and will observe how blog network members shall adapt.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Creating a thinking club

Edward De Bono's Thinking Course book has a special chapter encouraging readers to create or join a thinking club. As I haven't heard of any such group yet, I've decided to create one and referred to it as the Beautiful Mind Thinking Club.

This informal thinking club is a place for the practice and enjoyment of thinking as a skill. It is ideal for those who want to enjoy thinking and for those who want to develop their skill at thinking.

Motivation and commitment is the primary criteria to become and maintain membership in this informal club.

The type of thinking in this club are:
  1. Concerned with wisdom rather than cleverness.
  2. Pursues concept of thinking that requires to get things done.
  3. Use thinking in an exploratory way, not to show how bright or right you are.
  4. Emphasis on perception.
  5. Neutral, objective, positive, has humor, and constructive. Arrogance is the major sin.
  6. Focused on how we are thinking about a subject.
Once you join, you shall be assigned to a group where there are six members in it. Twice a month, an online activity is organized that needs to be done in a one hour duration. Face-to-face get together is the most preferred mode in these twice-a-month activities. Those who are willing to take a lead in each group are more than welcome to step-up, lead a group of 6 within, and organize their twice-a-month meet-up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Execution is key to achievement of goals and objectives

One of the challenges given by the 8th Habit is being able to share the lessons learned from Stephen Covey with the intent of enlightening others in the process. I started with this last 2005 and have done a series of blog post at that time. One of the lessons learned I shared then was the 4 Disciplines of Execution as experienced with one of my consulting projects at that time where the lack of clear vision and goals badly affects the potential success of a project.

I saw this interesting video of Stephen Covey online. Those who have a copy of the 8th Habit book may have seen this video already in the CD that comes along with it.

In gist, Covey shared his observations such as:
  • Too often, teams are not familiar with the goals and objectives of the organization. Everyone is running on different directions instead of working together on the same goal.
  • Failure of achieving goals is often caused by poor execution. Not enough time is spent on most important goals.
  • Most can't identify important goals although the leaders maybe aware of it.
  • Sometimes team members are not passionate about the goal. Perhaps due to lack of ownership. No involvement, no commitment.
    • Some don't understand what to do to achieve the goal.
  • Only when goals and objectives are clearly communicated can team members understand and contribute effectively towards its achievement.
More often than not, the best way to attain something that you haven't succeeded before is to start doing things you've never done that way before.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Creative Thinking is a skill, not just talent

Edward de Bono is certainly one of my favorite book authors and had greatly influenced my thinking process. Still, it is amazing that there is so much that we can learn to enhance the way we think. I'm currently reading How to Have Creative Ideas: 62 exercises to develop the mind and Edward De Bono's Thinking Course. I look forward in sharing what I learned about it soon.

I also stumbled upon this video and it is great to watch and listen to this famous book author as he shares insight on creative thinking. In a nutshell, he said:
  • Creative thinking is a skill,. It is not just about having talent or being different. Unless it can show value, that is not being creative.

  • There's a lot of reason why a lot of us are not as creative. Edward De Bono noticed that creative ideas that don't work is often referred to as mistake. In general, people don't like mistakes. There's no word that can aptly describe "fully justified venture which for reasons beyond our control, did not succeed". It is like anything that did not succeed is considered a mistake.

  • Thinking outside of the box is escaping from or breaking out to change concepts, rules, and ideas that is unexpected. Oftentimes, it is greater or unusal or lateral thinking.

  • Provocation can open us to new ideas and possibilities.
Possibility is the key to creativity.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Creative way to teach Six Thinking Hats

I just stumbled upon this video where it uses a World of Warcraft theme to teach the Six Thinking Hats of Edward de Bono. I suggest visiting the links first before watching the video for better appreciation of the concepts. Anyone can benefit from learning the Six Thinking Hats as this can be used for meetings, negotiations, and even family discussion.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Leadership by Example and Servanthood

It is a rare opportunity to see videos of John Maxwell online. When I saw this one, I knew that I couldn't just let it pass.

In this video, Maxwell talked about the new lessons he integrated in his book, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. He stated that a lot of things we learned were acquired visually. That is why we must practice what we teach and find ways that we can serve others in order to gain leadership.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Battle for the Bible

Last week, I got to watch a documentary titled "The Adventures of English" in local television and partly shared how the battle that emerged in the English translation of the bible had an impact to the English language that we speak and write today. It got me searching and stumbled upon this documentary, "Battle for the Bible". The video shown here is only a sneak peak. If you want to watch the almost 1 hour documentary, you will need to download Veoh TV.

After watching it, I had more questions in my head than ever but at the same time arrived an understanding on why there are so many churches that are all based on one book, the Bible.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Developing youth bloggers

Let me thank the Bloggers Kapihan team for giving me the opportunity to support their endeavor of introducing blogging to the youth. I believe their efforts of making blogging knowledge reachable to the teen segment is critical to the growth of the youth blogging community.

This forum has a lot of potential that includes:
  • Exposure to bloggers who are open and willing to share their knowledge to the young ones. Getting fresh speakers in every forum will be great as there's so much blogging talent out there.
  • The Bloggers Kapihan site can be a forum on a variety of issues. Of course, not to arrive at a common viewpoint but encourage variety of insights on the topic at hand.
  • Get the Bloggers Kapihan spread throughout the country by welcoming volunteers capable of organizing similar forums in their area.
Kudos again to the Bloggers Kapihan team!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sustaining an advocacy

I have many advocacies in life and mostly brought by a need to be proactive in addressing problems or frustrations. Sustaining it is a bigger challenge as there'll be good and bad times that you just need to hurdle.

One of my longest running advocacy is the Philippine Schools Cyberfair project. With Internet cafes and online games proliferating, I hope that this competition will help develop the investigative skills among students and realize that there's so much that can be done and where they can contribute to creation of local content online.

Of course, money resources are critical in getting advocacy projects like this sustainable. However, this project is one of those that gets the least support as the number of schools joining hasn't reached by the hundreds yet. I guess that is also reflective on the state of Internet and computer use in elementary and high school in the country.

I have made some adjustment to the mechanics this year such as not requiring to have a Filipino version of an entry (in addition to English). I hope this will encourage more entries. Instead of training, I'm now budgeting resources (in case sponsorship won't come in) to procure gadgets that can be given to the teachers of the winning schools. To increase chances of getting sponsors, I've included a one thousand pesos package and will see how such will turn out.

So yes, when someone tells me that they have an advocacy, a lot of things come into my mind as to what they exactly meant by it. I believe an advocacy means --
  • Long term investment. Do it continuously until the objective is achieved.
    For the Philippine Schools Cyberfair, with more than 45,000 elementary schools and 8000 high schools, getting at least 1% will be an important breakthrough for the project. It requires visionary educators though who see the value of joining projects like this, more than just the prizes at stake.

  • Empower participants, show new talent, rather than yourself.
    They should benefit more than you.

  • Be ready to put in resources even if others are not.
    Knowing what you have makes you humble on what you can offer.
Lastly, if you truly believe in what you do, just stick to it. The people who benefit from what you do are far more important.