Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Philippines Broadband Infrastructure: Calling Out for a Hero

Last year, I had an interesting conversation with two concerned friends who asked, "What will it take for Filipinos to act and insist for a better Internet infrastructure?" My answer then, "Unlikely. For as long as we can go online either from work, home, Internet cafe, using USB or wifi connection, we will just shrug whatever shortcomings there are."

However, as my use of the Internet scaled up doing more bandwidth-heavy activities, that is when I realized that it is not enough that I will only care about my Internet bandwidth but be more concerned to those accessing it.

Making Webinars Work for Businesses

In doing webinars, despite having all participants from the Philippines, we connect to a foreign site to deliver the presentation and interact. I could encourage business folks to license the setup of a webinar solution locally but it won't make sense if everyone's Internet route passes abroad first.

My DigitalFilipino Talks videos, where viewers are mostly local, I would opt setting it up in a local site and server rather than foreign based site especially if it will allow non-passing of Internet traffic abroad.

Although while a lot of people can argue that it won't make sense to do it because of how we use the Internet today, a perspective I believe in before, but I realize now that it also hampers the exploration of opportunities to roll-out web applications exclusively for the local market.

Moving forward, we need heroes in the government, legislative, and telecommunication sector to set and make things right for the current and future of Internet bandwidth in the country.

I hope we could get our act together now before it becomes too late.

This blog post was inspired from the Twitter responses I got yesterday. (read tweets from bottom-then-up)

Improving the Philippines Broadband Infrastructure (Why the Internet is slow today?)
(The Need for a True National Internet Exchange)

Resolving the Internet Bandwidth Issue and BPO Opportunities Ahead
Blueprint for a National Internet Exchange

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Blind Item Strategy on Big Bad Blogger

I just read from Carlo Ople about the rejoinder on Big Bad Blogger issue by its columnist to the point of defending a blind item strategy or approach to writing.

Have been writing columns since 1995 to various publications and have a lot of bloopers through the years. This experience leads to a lot of bias and therefore making this post highly opinionated. Please take it with a grain of salt.

What I didn't agree with the blind item approach and to its ending are as follows:
  1. That blind item article should not have been published in the first place due to its unfairness. That blind item story is fit for a personal blog, not an Inquirer column piece.

    Have experienced submitting some sort of a blind item in a news network blog and recall that it was not approved as the other side has to be heard for fairness. I'm sad to see how the "balanced views" slogan of Inquirer missed this one.

    As a columnist, our style of writing is heavily influenced by our bias and can therefore skew a story towards a desired perspective.

    Furthermore, if the columnist relationship to the client is not clear, it poses a lot of question as well to its "real" motive.

    Is that restaurant a newspaper advertiser? A current PR or prospective client? An entity you are helping to bolt out from their current contracts?

  2. Malicious name calling

    The columnist can no longer name the blogger as there was malicious name calling involved. Why refer to the PR firm, which is the focus of the story, a simple alias but refer to the blogger differently?

    If not for that malicious alias of "big bad blogger", that column would not have generated that much attention in the blogosphere in the first place. Of course, it is also possible that the real target was the blogger.

    No matter how good you think you are or how bad a person is, until their side is heard, you don't abuse your power as a columnist to label another person.

  3. Arrogance

    Not taking responsibility for what one has written is such a coward stance. Seeing how this rumor has affected innocent bloggers and PR firms, the columnist can do much better than that. More so if you are a real Inquirer columnist who can own up and take responsibility for your "fearless views".

    Of course, one can also speculate that the need to name is no longer necessary as the objective was already achieved from the responses you got.

  4. Issue or non-issue

    It is an issue for I have seen how bloggers and PR firms got hurt. Having a very narrow list of speculated bloggers and PR firms is not amusing. Worst, when you see associations, with all their good intention, see the need to have blogging guidelines created based on an irresponsible blind item.

    Furthermore, it bothers when you see a reader so engrossed with the story without considering if what the writer did was right or not in the first place. Without asking more about the writer's profession or conflict of interest or what journalists always flash - their adherence to writing standards or so-called "code of ethics".
As more bloggers become Internet marketers, PR practitioners, multi-blog publishers, brand endorsers, 2011 will be an interesting year. As I always say, a prospective client with seventy thousand pesos (P70k) can either use that money to buy a one month box ad in an online newspaper website or ran a blog post campaign that can yield exposure as well on social media or have their own online contest, among others. In short, the advertising game is changing and more sum will be spent on digital media.

Internet advertising growth in the Philippines

Tapping blogs for online campaigns

However, I feel the need to be vigilant as well and should not let any irresponsible attack against bloggers just pass.

From this day on, I will refuse any upcoming blog marketing and blog advertising guidelines, to be created by associations, that shall use the said irresponsible, malicious name-calling, blind item piece as basis for its creation (unless the parties accused are cited and their side heard).

Furthermore, any guidelines that shall restrict how bloggers write and do their business should also apply to media.

Personal Branding and Reputation Management through Social Media (Carlo Ople on Big Bad Blogger)

Changes in the Philippines blogosphere

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Get ready: Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs 2011 Writing Project

I had an interesting meeting last week that prompted me to jumpstart awareness for this. We are now on part 5 of this writing project that aims to identify new and emerging blogs that are making an impact to its readers in 2011 as chosen by peers.
These blogs are gradually gaining a considerable amount of readership, following, influence and fascinating the reader in various ways. They also blog for various reasons such as expression of thoughts, sharing of knowledge and insights, events reporting or coverage, and some for profit.

Mechanics for this year:
  • Recognition of blogs (and their bloggers) will be in a major blogging event happening this August or September.
  • Blogs created from April 2010 to the present are qualified to be cited as one of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2011.
  • A blog must be at least 3 months old in order to participate (submit an entry) in the writing project. 
  • A writing project entry must cite at least 5 qualified blogs. All blogs mentioned should be accompanied by a brief explanation on why they were chosen.
  • Only those with complete 10 qualified blogs mentioned shall be included in the raffle.
Please don't forget that this is a writing project - not an award. Who gets included in the final 10 is based on the total number of mentions by all qualified writing project entries.

As all writing project entries url link will be posted in the comments section, anyone interested can check and make their own independent count.

The writing project will start this May 2011.

Past editions:
(will be posting a Frequently Asked Question blog post soon)

Be kept posted on the writing project updates by subscribing to this blog feed.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Justice in the Philippines: What's the right thing to do?

My exposure to the Hubert Webb case last November was a major eye opener. After meeting him in person, thinking about Hubert's situation got me scared, unexplainable tears, and was already set with the decision that if he doesn't get acquitted, will push for my family's migration to another country.

Worried thoughts have calm down after I eventually blogged about it. My perspective on justice has change ever since even though Hubert was already acquitted and free today.

When news about crime and arrested suspect(s) gets reported, I can't help but wonder if the ones mentioned are the real culprits or not.

Katarungan sa Pilipinas komiks contest
One of my blog entrepreneur students, Ryan of Komiks Advocate, organized a contest where the winning artist will develop an illustration based on the "justice for the innocent" theme. Andoyman was chosen for the task.

The artwork depicts a common cry of the innocent spending time in jail - crying for justice. As the present government administration wants to steer us all to a straight path, I just hope that progress can also be attained in dispensing justice. Not only swift but also fair and accurate.

While I was updating my blog post on Hubert Webb, a letter arrived from the U.S. Embassy where I got invited to attend the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Was browsing the Innocence Project at that time contemplating if the same can be done in the country. Hope to learn more about them including efforts to ensure fair dispensing of justice.

I am also interested to learn more about efforts in recognizing bloggers' freedom to blog about court cases without fear of being threatened of subjudice.

As a justice neophyte, have much to learn about it  and hope this video series will enlighten me further to start with.

Will definitely use my upcoming U.S. visit to learn more about justice, energy, security, technology, art, science, among others. Be inspired and do something productive when I get back.

Here's another comic strip illustration from Andoyman on justice. Funny but true.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Are you in favor of a Professional Bloggers Association?

Yesterday I made a post asking for insight on the possible formation of a National Bloggers Association that will respond to government and private sector group policies that will have an effect to the blogging community. However, as all of us blog for a different reason, it is sound to have a more niche group where like-minded bloggers can come together. This is where the Professional Bloggers Association comes into play.

Activities can include:
  1. Craft its own or respond to blog marketing and blog advertising guidelines to be created by other marketing and advertising associations. Discussion for a local blog marketing and advertising guidelines will happen this year. It is either we deal with it individually or collectively.
  2. Negotiate for better payout terms from advertising and blog networks.
  3. Bloggers interested in having a common online audience measurement standards.
  4. Sharing of knowledge.
  5. ... among others
Bloggers interested in joining are ideally those who can:

  1. Allot time to review proposed policy papers and give their opinion. 
  2. Blog their thoughts about proposed policies and seek opinion from fellow blogging peers.
  3. Help write position papers.
  4. Attend meetings organized by policy makers when necessary and speak out.
  5. Share knowledge to peers.
On decision making, position shall be:
  1. Draft version to be posted on the web where member bloggers can comment.
  2. Majority vote to prevail.
Who can become members? 
This is a suggested criteria:

Full Member (with voting rights)
  1. Professional bloggers who earns from Philippines-based and/or international advertisers.
  2. Professional bloggers who pays their taxes (2010 or 2011 annual Income Tax Return - no need to submit unless asked for).
  3. Earned at least x amount in the year 2010 in the field of professional blogging. Suggested amount is P12,000. 
Number 2 and 3 is tricky as it will require trust and confidentiality. It is suggested that members are serious players in this field. Rather than look into payouts issued, payment of taxes sounds more reasonable.

Associate Member (non-voting)

  1. Bloggers who earn from Philippines-based and / or international advertisers but have not met #2 and / or #3 of full member requirements.

Should this be of interest, kindly post a comment and share your opinion. 

What's next? 

It will depend on the kind of response this blog post will yield. A group will be initially created to introduce those who filled-up the form and set the initial discussion.

Perhaps an online meeting can be set-up where bloggers anywhere in the country can join to discuss next steps.

The next step can possibly come from you as well reading this blog post.