MEET our Blog Addict of the Week, melancolia of Expat sa Vienna. Here's a photo of melancolia in disguise. Could you tell us something about yourself? When and why did you start blogging and who got you hooked? I am already in my early 30s, currently living in Vienna, Austria, since 2001wi th my little family. I am a new mother to 18-month-old Boo the Rascal. For a da y job I am teaching English to preschool kids in one of the kindergartens here and I am not satisfied with it. But that is beside the point. I started blogging or online journaling almost si x years ago, after my arrival in Vienna. The reason is partly due to the chaos that followed 9-11 and the breakdown of communication between me and the people I know way back home. The book "The Elementary Particles" by Michel Houellebec q was like an eye-opener to me after reading it. At the same time I got to read the many confessions and public outcry of the ma ny people -- speaking their minds, expressing their concerns, fears, happiness and sadness -- on the Net that I found the whole thing attractive suddenly. It dawned on me that somehow I needed to unleash my woes, my loneliness, or whatev er it was. I was yearning for something. Then one day I found myself signing up for a Diaryland account. I guess, loneliness, even though my husband is always with me, can give you insecurity or this feeling that you are so small. Especi ally if you are far away from the place you know by heart. But I can assure you that it is more different now. I have learned to accept my fate. I feel way mu ch better and the homesickness is not that intense. What makes a blog better than a regular website? Did you try putting up your own site before you started blogging? I have a website. And I have several blogs (one is a personal log where I keep things that don't fit anywhere, another site about living in Vienna as an immigrant, and a place where I col lect anything and everything about being a woman of the world). I don't think there i s an advantage or disadvantage between the two. Personal website is like a call ing card while blog is where you collect your thoughts for the day/moment. I do n't think one can compare them because they serve a different purpose. My website houses different blogs that serve different facets of my personality , of what I would like to convey. I did try putting up my own website in 1999 using the Nerve.com's free webspace. Way back when it was a commun ity of intelligent erotica lovers. It even had website builder that I learned t o understand how and what the hell was HTML. And I did try my luck on several g ratis sites like GeoCities. But I never maintained them. So I let them rot. Mor eover, I found the ads a tad bit annoying. My plan was to collect all the artic les I wrote and install them there, like a portfolio of sorts. But I didn't mov e on from there and it didn't happen due to my complacency. While I prepared to leave Manila Nerve.com's free webspace and e-mail service e nded. I searched for free websites and one search engine recommended Diaryland. Reading several accounts, I thought blogging/online journaling was for losers. When I first started tinkering with websites I saw a burgeoning number of blog s, which that time didn't have any name. I admit that I was appalled reading th e faceless, nameless humans who were divulging their secrets for the entire wor ld to see. Get this, I was still in the Philippines that time. So I didn't unde rstand that some people didn't have any problems confiding with an anonymous au dience. So I stopped fooling around with website-making until I lived in Vienna , Austria. Since having my own blogging/online journal account, it has become a different purpose. I did change my opinion regarding blogging. And I did eat m y words concerning blogging. Would you say that blogging is very addictive? How many people have you convinced to also start blogging? I am blogging on and off these days. Either I don't have any access to the Inte rnet or I have lots of things to do. We rarely spend our days in Vienna. Addictive? Yes. I think so. But you should not concern yourself with the pressu re of updating daily. If you feel a sudden urge to discontinue writing for a wh ile then feel free to do so. I don't update my blogs for the sake of updating. I invited a couple of friends to check out my site but I am not sure if I have convinced them to do the same thing. They did stop and look but they never real ly stay. Even my husband refuses to visit my sites. For me, that's okay. As muc h as possible I want to keep it uncensored. The less they know the more I can b e honest with myself. So yes, I don't think they know I have blogs and I talk a bout them sometimes. How has blogging made a difference in your life? Blogging can empower you as an individual. You are not only a mere spectator bu t also a participant of what's happening around you, or the world. You don't on ly read the contents. But you make the contents. And that's a glorious thing. I regard my blogs as my personal Wailing Wall. They reflect a part of my persona lity. And it is nice to know that I also have a voice among the many characters in cyberspace. What blogging software do you use? What makes it better than other blog ging services? I trust WordPress. Not only it is for free and developing every day but it also revolutionizes blogging. But before switching to it, I had accounts on Diaryla nd, Pitas, Blogger for a brief time and LiveJournal due to an acquaintance's in vitation (when LJ used to be an invitation-only site). And then later, I had th e chance to move on to Movable Type and then b2. But ever since I discovered Wo rdPress I've never turned back. It is gonna stay that way. I love the plug-ins and the many options to suit your taste. What's the most memorable experience you've had in the blogging world?< /strong> Realizing that the world is even a smaller place due to blogging. You find out that the one you are corresponding with is related or knows the other one whose blog you are also reading. So it is nice and it is also crazy. If you have to pimp your blog to readers, could you tell us in 100 word s or less why they should visit your blog? To be honest I don't know what I am doing here answering the questions, specifi cally this one, when I don't intend to make my site that popular. But yes, feel free to do so especially if you want to read a penguin different from the rest inhabiting the Southern Hemisphere. * * * Thanks melan colia! And to all those whoâd like to be featured, just leave a comment and your URL so that we can check out your blog. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Weâll feature a new Blog Addict every week, so keep vi siting Who knows? The next Blog Addict of the Week could be you.
April 2007 Archives
BLOGGING is fun, but just as in the real world, sometimes you encounter unsavor y characters. Maybe it's spammers. Or trolls who want to pick a fight and leave rude comments . Maybe you've had to fend off online stalkers, or deal with impostors who pret end to be you in cyberspace. What's the worst thing you've experienced in the blogosphere, and how did you d eal with it?
WANT to net a cool million dollars for the charity of your choice? You could if you take on the challenge of outspoken Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who blasted the media for saying that the blood on his famous sock in the 2004 American League Championship Series was a hoax and offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove it was not blood. Here's an excerpt from the story that came out in the Baltimore Sun:
Schilling was injured in Game 1 of the 2004 American League Champio nship Series against the New York Yankees. Team doctors stitched a tendon in hi s right ankle to keep it from flopping around, and he returned to lead the Red Sox to a remarkable win in Game 6 to tie the series at 3-3. The Red Sox went on to win that series, and won the World Series for their first title since 1918.Schilling posted the $1M dare on his blog. Here's an excerpt from the blog entry:
The saddest part in all of this is the following. Yesterday, as I w as warming up for the game, I got to see a young kid, could not have been more than 20, who had served in Iraq. He was being honored by the Orioles and threw out the first pitch. He was a double amputee whoâd lost the lower portion of bo th of his legs serving his country. He refused to use his cane and getting to s ee him do that was incredible. Instead of finding this kid and writing a story that truly matters, something t hat would and could truly inspire people, the media chose to focus on a story t hat was over two years old and a completely fabricated lie. What a job. Someone gave me a great idea to end this once and for all. No one will ever nee d to bring it up again. Iâll wager 1 million dollars to the charity of anyones choice, versus the same amount to ALS. If the blood on the sock is fake, Iâll d onate a million dollars to that persons charity, if not they donate that amount to ALS. Any takers?
LOTS of people are blogging nowadays, but not everyone is able to consistently update their blogs. Sometimes it's a case of ningas cogon, where we're all fired up when w e start blogging for the first time, but then lose interest or can't find the t ime to add new entries. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and befor e you know it, your blog has joined the growing ranks of the dead and dormant. As a disclaimer, I have to admit I haven't been able to update my personal blog for almost two month s, though I hope to start blogging there again pretty soon, otherwise people mi ght think I no longer have a life outside INQUIRER.net, heh. I'm not making exc uses, but in my defense I've been building the INQUIRER.net Blogs network, among other things, a s our company's gaming and multimedia editor. I had an interesting conversation this afternoon with fellow Blog Addicts team member, b5media.com technol ogy channel editor and INQUIRER.net interactive media consultant Jayvee Fernandez, after we finished rec ording another episode of hackenslash: the podcast. He said it's actually a challenge t o update your personal blog once you start maintaining several blogs, particula rly if you become a pro blogger. If you're writing for several blogs, and presumably talking about your differen t interests (after all, usually we blog about stuff we know best), then at some point you might have to decide what you're going to post on your own blog, and what you'll reserve for your other "work-related" blogs. Sometimes you need to learn to "compartmentalize" different aspects of your life, to use Jayvee's te rm. I'm relieved to hear that a seasoned blogger like Jayvee also finds this challe nging, heh; I feel a lot better now, and resolve to start taking care of my per sonal blog again. It's a balancing act, particularly since I'm also a tech blogger f or Singapore-based CNET Asia. Which is why it's not surprising that the number of active blogs is much fewer than the actual number of blogs out there. Here's an excerpt from the blog entry "Activ e Blogging Flat At 15.5 Million Blogs" by David Utter:
A lot of bloggers have discovered what writers have known for quit e a while. Writing requires effort. Anyone who thinks mercenaries care a lot ab out money hasn't met a professional writer. It's the carrot to the deadline sti ck. Heather Green's look at Technora ti's numbers on blogging isn't real surprising. Although the number of blogs co ntinues to rise, David Sifry's State of the Live Web shows a rela tive flatline in active blogging. Green cited Gartner analyst Adam Sarner on why this is really a good thing:That's why we're taking great care in launching new INQUIRER.net Blogs. We've b uilt our network slowly but steadily. It's what INQUIRER.net editor in chief JV Rufino and I have agreed upon from the very start: we won't launch a blog unle ss we're sure we can sustain it. We're here for the long haul. And we want to m ake sure that everyone who blogs for INQUIRER.net will understand that it takes commitment to regularly update these sites. We believe blogging is fun and rewarding, but we also know that it takes a cert ain amount of discipline. I guess most of the people who think blogging is easy haven't actually tried blogging, heh :) I'm happy to say that the number of pageviews and unique visits our blog networ k is generating has been very encouraging, just a little over two months after we launched our first blog. We now have 11 blogs, with more to come. It's an interesting balancing act, deciding which wave of blogs to launch next and which niches to address, and I hope you'll enjoy what we have in stor e for you in the weeks to come. This just the beginning. We're running a marathon. The last thing we want is to launch a blog network and fail to live up to the hype, ending up with blogs th at are rarely updated. We believe our readers deserve better than that.Sarner argues that, since the audience reading blogs continues to grow, this classic tech cycle of hype and maturity is good news for the rema ining blogs. Those left standing are the influencers that attract audiences and advertisers.Blogging has been around for a few years, and advice abounds on the Internet on how to blog well. Someone who's firing up Wordpress or Movable Type for the fi rst time, for whatever reason, should take away this lesson: blog fame isn't a sprint, but a marathon. Not everyone is in shape to run one.
MOREÂ and more people are blogging in Asia. In China alone, there are an estima ted 30 million bloggers, according to this report from the Voice of America. Excerpt:
Millions of people in Asia have taken to blogging in recent years, creating personal Web sites that often take the form of an online diary. The wo rd blog derives from Web log. China alone is estimated to have up to 30 million bloggers. As elsewhere in the world, the region's collection of blogs on the Internet is diverse and amorphous. But in Asia, a survey by the U.S. software company Micro soft estimates that nearly half of those who are online have a blog, compared t o just eight percent of U.S. Internet users. Most people create blogs to share their lives and interests with friends, famil y and a few strangers. Many use text and photos, but also sound and video. Othe rs blog to exchange information, create networks or express opinions about a wi de range of issues.
THE DONALDS W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona Sta te University has released an interesting study on business journalism blogging . Of course, INQUIRER.net also believes in blogging business topics, as INQUIRER .net business editor Salve Duplito's Money Smarts personal finance blog shows. Here's an excerpt:
TEMPE, ARIZ.--Three-fourths of the nation's largest newspapers now offer blogs on business-related topics, according to a study released today by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University. These popular online Web journals written by reporters get breaking news to rea ders more quickly, according to 60 percent of the business bloggers who respond ed to the study. However, more than half of respondents also said this also takes away from thei r regular reporting time. "Newspapers, reporters and businesses are grappling with the pros and cons of b logging," said Andrew Leckey, Director of the Reynolds Center, which funded the study. "Our practical research was designed to see how widespread blogging on business topics actually is, what's propelling it and how it affects the overal l news process."
YOU'VE probably experienced it at one time or another. Days when you just can't seem to blog about anything. We know about writer's block, but since blogging is becoming a way of life for many people, I think we should make a separate category for blogger's block, he h. What do you do when blogger's block strikes? How do you keep blogging even when you're not in the mood -- particularly if you're a pro blogger? Are there days when you feel as if you've lost your passion for blogging? Share what works fo r you, and help others cope with blogger's block. And gee, looks like I was able to post an entry even when I'm kinda suffering f rom blogger's block right now, heh. I guess that's one way to deal with it: jus t blog it.
HUMAN Rights Watch has called for the release of Egyptian TV journalist and blo gger Abd al-Monim Mahmud.Â Here's an excerpt from the Human RightsÂ Watch statement posted on the Human Rights Education AssociatesÂ site. Â
Around midnight on April 14, security forces at the Cairo airport d etained `Abd al-Monim Mahmud, a 27-year-old journalist for the London-based satellite channel Al-Hiwar and prominent blogger affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, as he attempted to travel to Sudan to do reporting for an Al-Hiwar segment on human rights in the Arab world.
The next day, a prosecutor charged Mahmud with "membership in a ban ned organization," with "being an administrator of a banned organization," and with funding an armed group. According to Islam Lutfi, one of Mahmud's lawyers present at his interrogation, the State Security bureau's preliminary investigation (mahdar al-tahamiyyat) also cited Mahmud's public criticisms of the government's human rights record and specifically its use of torture. The prosecutor ordered Mahmud detained for 15 days, after which time the prosecutor must review the order. "Once again, the Egyptian government is prosecuting a journalist because he has reported on human rights abuses in the country," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The government should focus its energies on ending the abuses, not silencing those who expose them." Â
THINK the most common language in the blogosphere is either English or Chinese? Think again. Based on Technorati's The State of the Live Web, April 2007, which wa s cited in this Global Voices Online pos t, Japanese is the number one language for bloggers. Here's an excerpt from the Global Voices post:
It will likely come as quite a surprise to the English-speaking wor ld that the number one language of bloggers worldwide, in terms of number of po sts, is not the âlanguage of international communicationâ, as English is typica lly regarded. Nor, before the Chinese chime in, is it the language of the most populous state on the globe. According to the 2006 fourth quarter results of th e State of the Live Web report issued quarterly by Technorati, a blog search en gine which at last count tracks over 70 million weblogs, in terms of blog posts by language, English and Chinese in fact rank second and third, at 36% and 8%, respectively. Edging out English for first place this quarter was Japanese, with over one-thi rd of all blog posts â 37% â written in this language. This is not, in fact, th e first time that Japanese has been rated as the number one blogging language b y Technorati; back in November 2005, in an earlier State of the Live Web report , Japanese was also took top place with 31%, although the total was much more e venly split with English and Chinese at that time. Judging by the reaction of bloggers themselves, it would seem that the Japanese are as surprised as anyone else at the results of the report.Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from an editorial published on The Japan Times Online:
"Blog," of course, is a term that can apply to anything from compan y home pages to serious muckraking to photos of a new pet kitten. There is seem ingly a blog for every human experience. Most blogs have gone up in the past tw o years, with thousands of new ones added everyday. Blogging even serves as a p lot device in films and TV dramas. Yet, why are Japanese in particular so inter ested in expressing their opinions online? Of course, Japan has a highly literate population with a fascination for new gi zmos and techie games of all kinds. Digital cameras, easy-to-use software and t eensy keyboards, in short, all the tools and techniques for blogging, are now p art of tech-loving daily life. Yet, what does it say about Japanese culture and life that so many people express their thoughts, record their activities and f ind friends by blogging? Freedom and anonymity are surely a large part of the appeal. Workers can compla in about bosses, wives about husbands, citizens about politicians and otaku abo ut anime characters. In a culture of polite language, proper body gestures and strict intonation, blogs "speak" with amazing casualness and candor. In a high- pressure society, blowing off steam is healthy.
SAY hello to our Blog Addict of the Week, Alma Pasaraba of Saipan Impressions. Could you tell us something about yourself: How old are you and what ar e you currently doing? When and why did you start blogging and who got you hook ed? I am thirtysomething. I am a CPA and I am currently working as the Internal Au ditor and Compliance Officer in one of the banks here in Saipan. I started blo gging in September 2006. I am a first time OFW and blogging has helped me cope with my homesickness. The alienation I experienced and to generally make sens e out of my decision to take this job and leave my comfortable life there in th e Philippines. I've been writing essays and I've been journaling since I was i n grade school and blogging is basically just like journaling except that peopl e could read what I've written. It's a cathartic exercise for me. What makes a blog better than a regular website? Did you try putting up your own site before you started blogging? A blog is better than a regular website because I am not much of a techie and a blog site is very easy to do even for people who has very limited tech skills just like me. I never tried putting up my own site before because I don't know how to do it in the first place. My sister who's quite adept in technology co nvinced me to do blogs because she knows that I love to write. Would you say that blogging is very addictive? How many people have you convinced to also start blogging? I would say that blogging very addictive. My friends here in Saipan would alwa ys comment why I would always take my digital camera with me everywhere I go an d they would be curious why I would ask people a lot of questions. I would tel l them, because I am writing something about this or that stuff. I have encour aged my sisters and a couple of friends (those who love to write too) to start blogging. I would say that the experience is very much like journal writing. How has blogging made a difference in your life? Blogging has helped me make sense of the many aspects of my life. Living alone in this small island has hleped me know myself better. It has helped me conqu er my fears and has helped me expand my horizon. Telling people about all thes e though my blogs has helped me realize that I do have that special voice insid e me that could describe the struggles and loneliness of an OFW. Most of my ar ticles tried to be as detached as possible but eventually my personal experien ces came out and I know a lot of OFWs could relate to my experience. What blogging software do you use? What makes it better than other blog ging services? I use BlogSpot. I never tried others so I don't know which is better. What's the most memorable experience you've had in the blogging world?< /strong> Well, recently I've met some people here in Saipan who has been blogging too a nd most of them are Americans. It's interesting because we haven't met before and when we did and when we started to talk about blogging and writing, we bond so easily. And I've considered them good friends of mine already. If you have to pimp your blog to readers, could you tell us in 100 word s or less why they should visit your blog? Well, people should visit my blog because they would know what my temporary isl and of Saipan is like, they would know about the experiences of an OFW who is l iving away from home for the first time, the observations about the life of an OFW (it really is different when it's a first hand experience), the struggles a nd the triumphs of a contract worker and maybe in this bold honesty of a person like me, they could connect to it and see themselves in my experiences too. B efore I became an OFW, I never felt anything for the maids, the construction wo rkers, the nurses, the IT professionals who left home for a better job outside of the Philippines, but now, I am aware of the loneliness, the homesickness, th e isolation and the many struggles an OFW faces. OFWs are really the living he roes of our economy. Of our country. * * * Thanks Alma! And to all those whoâd like to be featured, just leave a comment an d your URL so that we can check out your blog. Or e-mail email@example.com. Weâll feature a new Blog Addict every week, so keep vi siting Who knows? The next Blog Addict of the Week could be you.
PHILIPPINE Daily Inquirer entertainment columnist Ruben Nepales is now also blogging for INQUIRER.net, with the launch of The Nepales Report. Nepales, who is our man in Hollywood, offers interesting glimpses into the life of Filipinos in the US, as these entries on "award-itis" and "closet Filipinos" show. Here's what Nepales wrote in his "award-itis" entry:
We are guilty of these maladies, âbeauty pageant-it isâ and âaward- itis.â On virtually any weekend, a Filipino community somewhere in America is h onoring, for example, the most outstanding Filipino-American water filter sales man of the year or Mr. Door-to-Door Cargo. I have attended an event where folks gave each other awards. These people basic ally took turns standing up and presenting each other with a plaque until every one had one. I did not know whether to laugh or to cry about the absurdity of t he situation.And here's an excerpt from his post on closet Filipinos:
In my years of wandering as a promdi in Hollywood, I have come across some folks who hide their Filipino heritage. These personalities sa y that theyâre a mixture of Spanish (or to be more vague, âEuropeanâ), Chinese and Malay, the standard racial make-up of most Filipinos. Some even claim that they are of Polynesian heritage. Basta anything but Filipino. Why do these Filipinos or hyphenated Filipinos conceal their Pinoy identity? Mo st are performers â actors, actresses and singers â who want to appeal to as br oad a market or audience as possible. Or they like to be ambiguous in their rac e identity so they will not be pigeonholed into Filipino or Asian roles only. blockquote>
SPIDER-MAN 3 is coming, and we'll have a head start over the rest of the world as it's launching on May 1 here in the Philippines. I'm a huge Spidey fan, and if you also want your Spider-Man fix, you could chec k out the Spider-M an 3 Official Movie Blog. Want Spider-Man-themed blog templates? Then head on over to this site fro m Sony Pictures.
YOU heard that right. Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who isn't exactly known for b eing a fan of press freedom, has come to the defense of Malaysian bloggers. As we've blogged previously here and here, the Malaysian government has been critical of blogging. Here's an excerpt from the Agence France-Presse story:
Mahathir, who in recent months has complained he was being censored by mainstream media, said people were turning to blogs and online news journal s because of Malaysia's tightly controlled media. "There is no doubt that bloggers have provided us with an alternative source of news. By and large, they have been responsible," Mahathir said after speaking at a conference on the media and national development. "At the moment, with the atmosphere prevailing in the country, many people are turning to the bloggers for news," he said.
BLOGGERS have become an important source of stories in breaking stories like th is tragedy in Virginia Tech, where scores of s tudents were killed by a shooter. As this CNET st ory shows:
When a blogger known as icantread01 posted his girlfriend's tale of being shot and wounded during the Virginia Tech massacre Monday, it set off a flurry of journalists trying to get ahold of him. Reporters from several news organizations, including CBC Newsworld, NPR and MTV News, all posted in the comments section of icantread01's LiveJournal page, ho pefully asking to contact him and talk about his experience talking to his girl friend, Kate, who he said had called him from the hospital after being shot in the hand.The blog entry of icantread01 was both an honest and good take on how some stud ents -- oblivious to what was happening that day -- reacted to the shootings. I t also appears that the entry was really made in the heat of the moment. It is also interesting to note in the comment thread how some readers felt disg usted about the news people "jumping down your throat" after reading the blog e ntry.
OK, so what should be the rules for diplomats who blog? Ian Proud, a 38-year-old British diplomat in Bangkok, caused a furor with his b log that shared what he thought were "harmless" stories about his life in Thail and. Here's an excerpt from the BBC News story:
Ian Proud, 38, whose four-year tenure with the British Embassy in B angkok ends in May, wrote reflections on Thailand for the website of the countr y's The Nation newspaper. The blog, which appeared with his photo, received 100 postings within its first two days, including some from people claiming to have seen Mr Proud in Bangkok 's red light districts. One posting referred to Mr Proud having been in the notorious Soi Cowboy area w hich is packed with go-go and sex bars.
A FEW minutes after Filipino boxer and political candidate Manny Pacquiao knock ed out his Mexican challenger Jorge Solis in Round 8, the blogosphere was abuzz. The reactions va ried. Some just reported what happened. Others shared their opinions. All in al l, the discussions were honest and interesting. Blogger Akomismo (a.k.a. Sir Martiz Perez) did not mince words, though, as he c alled shameless the waving of a Philip pine flag with the words "Vote Manny" and the chants of "Congressman" toward th e end of the fight. Another blogger h as found video clips of the fight. Excerpt:
Watch the video of Pacquiao knocking down Solis twice in the 8th ro und at Pinoy Rickey a>. If there was every any doubt before, this just makes it clear that Rep. Pacquia o will be making an appearance at the House of Representatives soon. I just wis h he wouldn't push through with it.A Technorati search yie lds more reactions, opinions and rants about the fight. Interesting how discuss ions and postings have turned political.
THE COMMISSION on Elections has already said no to divulging the list of party-list nominees, but now Akbayan is taking the battle to the blogosphere. Here's an excerpt from INQUIRER.net reporter Erwin Oliva's story:
MANILA, Philippines--Party list group Akbayan has invited the publi c to help them reveal the names of party list nominees in a newly launched blog , the group said Friday.
Defying a Commission on Elections policy not to disclose party list nominees, Akbayan said the blog, dubbed Bare The List, hopes to bring the bat tle to the web.
The blog also hopes to encourage other party list organizations to post their nominees on the blog.
MEET our Blog Addicts of the Week, Pen (girl in photo) and AJ of the joint blog The SilPur Life. Could you tell us something about yourself? How old are you and what ar e you currently doing? When and why did you start blogging and who got you hook ed? Pen: I'm 28, currently a postgraduate in Sydney, Australia. I started blogging in February 2003. Journal writing has always been my thing ["I write for me!"], and blogging became a natural extension to that. I started blogging on my own volition. AJ: I'm also 28 and currently working as a quality assurance engineer in the Ph ilippines. Pen introduced me to blogging via an invite from the then exclusive LiveJournal site. Both of us migrated to a free hosting site where PHP and MySQ L were supported. We both learned how to use WordPress and we finally decided t o get our own domain to be free from all other restrictions brought by these fr ee blogging and hosting sites. What makes a blog better than a regular website? Did you try putting up your own site before you started blogging? Pen: I have put up several websites that were functional for their academic na ture, but blogging is a whole different avenue that allows me to unload most of my person that removes that element of inhibition. Like really "putting yourse lf out there." AJ: HTML has always fascinated me. CSS and design followed then content would b e the last push me in going all out. Blogging is flexible and the only person y ou really have to satisfy is yourself. Would you say that blogging is very addictive? How many people have you convinced to also start blogging? Pen: It's more essential than it is addictive at the moment. I need to blog to get in touch with people back in Manila. But yeah, I do have a tendency to want to post something as much as I could. If that is addiction then I guess the an swer is yes. I don't know about convincing anyone to blog. I guess most of the people I knew just decided to start blogging too. AJ: It's a way to de-stress yourself, though it annoys me whenever I land into an angst-ridden blog. Blogging is supposed to let people know something about y ou and not to vent all your anger to the world. Yeah, blogging is addictive esp ecially if you know your readers look forward for a new entry. Pen and I have t he same set of friends and we probably spearheaded their blogging habits. 4. How has blogging made a difference in your life? Pen: Hmm. I guess the main impact would lie more on reading other people's blog s, which opened doors to people's thoughts that would have been unthinkable yea rs ago. People are also brought together much in the same way that CB radio and chatrooms did before, but on a whole new "cerebral" level. AJ: When I started using the Web, I was very conscious about my personal privac y. For instance, I have multiple accounts in Yahoo! and Hotmail. But when I was getting the hang of blogging, I wanted people to know who's writing the articl e and not some nutjob writing under an alias. It made me comfortable on exposin g my real identity. What blogging software do you use? What makes it better than other blog ging services? Pen: I'll leave Ajay to answer that. I was in BlogSpot before when I was bloggi ng on my own. AJ: We have been using WordPress. It's so easy to use and theming and layouting is so easy. There's nothing like it. What's the most memorable experience you've had in the blogging world?< /strong> Pen: I'm not sure how to answer that. I'm sure Ajay has an answer that's iPod-r elated? AJ: I won an iPod -- the grand prize from the first blogparteeh! More than that, I get to know lots of fellow bloggers in person. It may sound l ame, but it really is a nice feeling on getting to know people who has the same passion as yours. If you have to pimp your blog to readers, could you tell us in 100 word s or less why they should visit your blog? Pen: (Do we get 100 words each? :P) Our blog is not intended to lure people in at all, so I am a bit unsure how to pimp it. But if I had to, if I really reall y had to, I'd say "Hey, check out what I'm up to," which makes it really uninte resting given how self-absorbed people can be (I do get narcissistic at times. And all people should just go and admit they are too!) AJ: Ditto with Pen, we never intended lure people. It's just our everyday life and a little information sharing from the daily net news and activities that I gather around the web. We are more of an insight of who we are. People who know us personally get to see or read our thoughts and people who don't know us get to have an idea on who we are. :) * * * Thanks, Pen and AJ! And to all those whoâd like to be featured, just leave a comment and your URL so that we c an check out your blog. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Weâll feature a new Blog Addict every Friday, so keep visiting Who knows? The next Blog Addict of the Week could be you.
IT'S been, what, nine days since I subscribed to Twitter, a relatively new twist in the so-called micro-blogging and social networking. Think of this: how much can you say in 140 characters? That sounds like a writing exercise in my creative writing class. But that's how Twitter i s. Because it requires you to blog in one-liners. It's short and sweet. The mos t interesting (well for most users and fans) aspect of this new service is it c an be done via SMS, and not just through the Web. Yes, folks, SMS. But you have to be ready to pay for extra SMS charges when sending an entry from your phone into your Twitter account. Twitter can also be updated via popular instant messaging clients. In my case, I'm using Google Talk. And since this is also a social networking tool, Twitter will allow you to connect to friends (including virtual ones) and discover wha t they are doing at a certain moment in a given day. But that's just one of the benefits you could derive from this innovation. Now, if you're ready to let the world know what you're eating for breakfast, lu nch and dinner, then go Twitter. But I caution you, never ever blog anything yo u won't disclose in person.
SEE what happens when someone ghost writes your blog entries for you? CBS anchor Katie Couric is reportedly shocked by an entry that appeared on the Katie Couric's Notebook portion of the official Couric & Co. blog on CBS. Couric has a dmitted that she does not pen some of the entries on her blog. In this case, the blog entry, a video and text essay, was reportedly penned by one of the producers, who has been fired after it turned out that the blog post plagiarized a Jeffrey Zaslow column piece on The Wall Street Journal. Here's an excerpt from the Boston Herald article:
Earlier this week, CB S News executives fired a producer after one of Couricâs blog entries turned ou t to be a Wall Street Journal ripoff. While itâs presented as Couricâs own, pro ducers are behind many of her blog entries.CBS issued an Editor's Note on April 4 regarding the blog entry:
"Blogs are a whole new realm of new media. If youâre going to commit to doing a blog, the readersâ view is that itâs yours,â said Peter Morrissey, an associat e professor of public relations at Boston University. Even though some high-pro file people with blogs have ghostwriters, they need to provide "adequate oversi ght," he said.
Correction: The April 4 Notebook was based on a "Moving On" column by Jeffrey Zaslow that ran in The Wall Street Journal on March 15 with the head line, "Of the Places You'll Go, Is the Library Still One of Them?" Much of the material in the Notebook came from Mr. Zaslow, and we should have acknowledged that at the top of our piece. We offer our sincere apologies for the omission.< /blockquote>
TWO influential Netizens, tech publisher Tim O'Reilly and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, have called on bloggers to work toget her in coming up with a Blogger's Code of Conduct. Check out Abe Olandres'Â blog entryÂ on this initiative. And here's an excerpt from a Guardian Unlimited sto ry:
While I was offline all long weekend, the blog code of conduct deba te snowballed somewhat. Web veteran Tim O'Reilly waded in to the debate hand-in -hand with Wikipedia Daddy Jimmy Wales, and between the two of them came up wit h a < font color="#006699">seven point list of standards. Needless to say, opinion seems to be ferociously divided on this. I personally see these as standards, rather than rules, and these are all opt-in. So if you don't like it, don't use it. It's about a loose a proposal as possible. How about you, what do you think of the proposed Blogger's Code ofÂ Conduct?
IN SPACE, no one can hear you scream. But you can still blog, heh. US billionaire Charles Simonyi, who helped develop Microsoft Word and Excel, has arrived at the International Space Station as a space tourist, and he 's blogging about his out-of-this-world experience. Here's an excerpt from his entry on launch day:
Today is launch dayâa beautiful morning in Baikonur. I slept well a nd woke up around 10 this morning. We were fed a breakfast of low residue food, then the doctors got hold of us to check our vital signs and give us an alcoho l rubdown.Â We had a lot of fun with family and guests who came to see me after visiting the pad with the rocket and reported that there was a brief rain show er and a wonderful rainbow afterwards. I am really looking forward to the fligh t. Around 4 in the afternoon we will have a little celebration, and take the bus t o 254, where we suit up, meet with the Government Commission again before the f light. I have a nice statement that I prepared in Russianâwith help from Vlad a nd my other instructorsâso it should be fun. Just before boarding the bus, in s pacesuits, parade boots and white parade gloves we walk up to spots painted in the tarmac, and Oleg will declare our readiness to fly to the Chairman of the G overnment Commission. We will be each supported by a doctor so that we do not t rip or take the wrong turn in the awkward space suits, that are better for sitt ing in than for walking. Then off we go on the bus, waving to the families and friends.
IÂ JUST found out this week that blogging is already 10 years old (13 for some). To celebrate blogging's birthday, I thought of starting a social experiment. Th is requires you to respond with a short description of how you got hooked on bl ogging. Let's limit it to 50 words. Let me start: My daughter was born three years ago. It was the scariest yet most heartwarming feeling I had and I didn't want to forget about it. So I opened a blog, and st arted typing away... I got hooked on blogging ever since!
FILIPINOS are observing the Holy Week and that means a long holiday for most pe ople, except for us journalists and bloggers, heh :) Here are a couple of interesting blog entries about Holy Week in the Philippine s. Bob Martin of the Mindanao.com Blog has this to say:
Today is what is known as Maundy Thursday. It is part of Holy Week - the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. Holy Week is a huge thing here in the Philippines. I remember when we first moved to the Philippines, a lot of b usinesses were closed for the entire week. Particularly, almost every business has been closed on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday. We were s omewhat surprised about this. Feyma had lived in the States long enough that s he had forgotten about Holy Week in the Philippines. Basically, the whole coun try shuts down for most of a week. Funny thing is that Easter Sunday is genera lly not that big of a deal, malls and other businesses are open for business as normal. This year is a little bit different. In addition to Thursday and Friday being national holidays, Black Saturday and also the Monday after Easter have been de clared holidays too. So, that means that many businesses will be shut down on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday! Honestly, it is amaz ing to me. In many instances, even grocery stores and Pharmacies and such are closed all of these days! This means that you have to really search in order t o buy even food or medicine!He re's what Nancy Reyes of Boinkie's Blog has to say about the Lenten season:
In America, the elite media seems to ignore the idea of suffering a nd death and this year, in between stories that ridicule Christianity, we see t hem promoting the idea that if we think positively we can have it all. But where suffering poverty and death of loved ones is a common experience, the re is comfort to know that God himself, when he came to live on earth, came as a poor man who preached against stupid religious rules that harmed ordinary peo ple, had mercy on the weak, and told people that God loved them even when they did terrible thing, and that if they turned to God he would help them to live a good life. Jesus was not a phlosopher (sic) or even a teacher of ethi cs who could parse down exactly how many pennies you needed for your tithe. Ins tead, he explained the idea of God and the idea of how we should act through st ories that anyone could understand. And it is a comfort to the suffering to kno w that God suffered, and understands our despair in suffering and loss and deat h.
I GOT this e-mail message from fellow Blog Addicts blogger Jayvee Fernandez of A Bugged Life:
I did a podcast (BuggedCast Episode 2 ) with a friend who owns one of the biggest PR a gencies here in the Philippines. It's all about bloggers having equal privilege s as journalists. Thought you guys would be interested.This is really not the first time that bloggers a re now treated as journalists. But not many bloggers would want to be considere d as journalists because the latter have to adhere to a code of ethics. Jayvee' s podcast features PR executive Geiser Maclang talking about her work as a "publicist" and how PR firm s are gradually tapping bloggers for publicity. It is an interesting and intrig uing discussion. Highlights:
- Bloggers are now given equal right to have a seat in a press confer ence.
- Bloggers are tapped for "viral marketing."
- PR firms are not "pesky vermins; they are decent sources of news."< /li>
- PR firms are getting creative and are eyeing bloggers to help push their clients' products and services in the market.
- PR firms are looking for new channels to "get the message out."
- Bloggers are as formidable as journalists, which means they will al so have to adhere to a certain code of ethics.
AS Catholics all over the world observe Holy Week, Bo Sanchez is not only fasti ng, but also blogging to encourage others to pray and fast this Lenten season. Here's an excerpt from his fasting journal:
Iâm writing my fasting journal to you, to encourage you in your own prayer & fasting this Holy Week. This is my second day of 7 days of prayer & fasting. This year, Iâm taking a lighterâbut healthierâtype of fast: The Juice fast. (I did a âwater onlyâ fast years ago and I loved it, but I think it was too harsh for the body. In a âwater onlyâ fast, toxins are released too quickly and it sh ocks the system. In a juice fast, the toxins bind themselves with the juices an d they get gently flushed out of the body.) This year, I was a good boy and prepared for my fast well. About 3 days before my fast, I began eating smaller meals and avoided refined sugarâice cream, past ries, etc.âto avoid withdrawal symptomsâwhich causes headaches, etc.
ONE of the things that struck me most wh ile covering the Philippine Blog Awards Saturday night was the invocation of Fr. Stephen Cuyos, who is hi mself a blogger and podcast host. At times as humorous as it was heartfelt, the good priest's prayer was a timely reminder ofÂ our need to be responsible bloggers. Sure, we blog for different reasons, and as I've said many times, including in this bl og post for CNET Asia, bloggers are not journalists, and journalists, even though we may blog, are journalists first, with different standards, different values, than bloggers. This does not mean, however, that we cannot celebrate our differences, and lear n from each other. Frankly, the danger I see now in everyone'sÂ mad rush to be come bloggers, and of companies, politicians and other groups to court the favo r of bloggers, is that people may no longer see the need for objectivity, orÂ l earn to distinguish press releases from real stories. In our desire to personalize all content, will we only hear the truth we want t o hear? Will we filter information that doesn't conform to our preconceived not ions of the truth, and end up only reinforcing our own prejudices? In the thrill of finally getting recognition as bloggers, willÂ bloggers end up wittingly or unwittingly pimping the products and services of the companies th at seekÂ to generate publicity through the blogosphere? Will they continue blog ging out of passion, or be more concerned withÂ generating revenue,Â increasing traffic and acting as the PR of different companies? Make no mistake about it: these are also temptationsÂ that journalists face, th ese are also tests that someÂ among our ranks might fail. TheÂ difference is th at as journalists weÂ believe in a code of ethics that we must live up to, and we strive to meet the standards of our profession.Â Â As blogging becomes more mainstream, however, what happens when bloggingÂ allow s individuals to exercise power without responsibility? What happens when our l oyalty to our friends is stronger than ourÂ responsibility to our readers?Â Wha t happens when we forget the need to find the truth, no matter who might get hu rt along the way? Here's an excerpt fromÂ Father Cuyos' invocationÂ reprinted in the Infotech article written by INQUIRER.net reporter Erwin O liva, who also covered the Philippine Blog Awards and was one of the finalists in the News and Media category for his blog Cyberbaguioboy:
In a blogger's prayer, Fr. Stephen Cuyos who blogs about Linux and his love for open source, called on bloggers to use this Internet innovation fo r God's work and to be "bloggers for truth." "Help us to be steadfast in our Christian commitment that visitors may find in our blogs a source of encouragement and inspiration. Give us strength to procla im your word, that we may play our part in breaking down the walls of hostility in the world and use our blogs to strengthen the bonds of friendship, solidari ty and love," he prayed.Visit Father Cuyos' blog for a copy of the full prayer.
OK, we've heard of blog addicts, but this 23-year-old guy in San Francisco take s the cake. Not content with plain old blogging and vlogging (that'sÂ short for video blogg ing), 23-year-old Justin Kan is showing his life to the whole world via online video, 24 hours a day, seven times a week. It's Justin.tv, and for now, people are watching. Some people live blog. This guy is "lifecasting."Â Justin put a camera on his h ead so that he can chronicle everything he does everyday -- and I mean everythi ng, including bathroom breaks. The site promises that Justin will continue this Internet reality TV show until the day he dies: "Justin will wear the camera until the day he dies. By which we mean if he takes it off, we'll kill him." Here's an excerpt from an article in the San Francisco Ch ronicle:
Kan calls it "lifecasting." The concept is simple: Using technology his team developed, Kan has strapped a camera to his head to capture every mom ent of his existence in live streaming video on the Internet. Viewers literally see the world through Kan's virtual eyes, which broadcast his life onto the We b 24/7. He interacts with his audience through 21 chat rooms and hundreds of e- mails each day. He even took their calls on his cell phone until he got overwhe lmed. The show's slogan says it all: "Waste time watching other people waste time." A nd that's what tens of thousand of folks around the globe are doing, turning Ka n into an online phenom by tuning in to his irreverent and uncensored world. Th at sudden explosion of peeping onlookers has caused so many technical difficult ies that Justin.tv had to recruit volunteers from the audience to keep the show rolling.So, is this genius, or the ultimate expression of online narcissism? Probably b oth, as many ventures are in this brave new world of Web 2.0, reality TV, citiz en journalism, social networkingÂ and user-generated content. On the one hand, we'd rather watch ordinary people like us, whether they're doing ordinary or ex traordinary things, and wonderful or stupid acts (as opposed, say, to professio nal TV hosts, actors and actresses doing unintentionally stupid things). OnÂ th e other hand, maybeÂ many of us are becoming increasingly self-absorbed, in the backlash against those days whenÂ OldÂ MediaÂ shovedÂ content we didn't want d own our throats. I'm an optimist, however, so I believe it's possible to strike the right balanc e. Instead of turning the whole world into our own personal versions of "The Tr uman Show."Â