Sunday, June 08, 2008

Why I blog

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 06.08.2008

It ain’t for lack of anything better to do, that’s for sure

I’M POSITIVE I had a productive life before I started blogging. After all, it’s only been a year and eight months.

Compared to the more established figures in the so-called Philippine blogosphere, I’m still a newbie--though at the rate new blogs are being born by the day, I’d qualify for senior-citizen status by September, when my little corner (at turns two. Pass me my smelling salts, please.

My initial reason for blogging was rather gauche: money. A friend had put up a blog that, against all his modest expectations, proved to be a huge hit. It attracted so many readers in so short a time that, with the easy addition of free Google ads, the lucky bastard was soon earning a tidy sum from this new thang called blogging.

“You could do this, too,” he urged me. “Ikaw pa, e writing’s your forte!”

Stop, I said. You had me at hello--I mean, dollars. (Yes, Google paid in US currency.)

Now, 20 months after I giddily posted my first entry in Blogger, with visions of “E Pluribus Unum” running ticker tape-like in my head, I know better.

Money--of the sort that has bought my friend a MacBook and allowed us to freeload on dinner a few times--has yet to make my acquaintance. Blast it for being so shy.

My blog doesn’t attract steep traffic, either, but why should it? I write mostly about theater and the arts. Yawn, and good luck to me. At a time when “Pinoy Big Brother” rules the roost, waxing orgasmic over an electrifying but barely-seen play is, at least from the standpoint of luring people in, a head-scratcher.

Or as a blogger-friend put it succinctly: “You’re not even supposed to have an audience!”

I still think there’s a compliment in there somewhere.

Because--hallelujah, leapin’ lizards and all--I do have an audience, modest but steadfast. Visitors who come in, leave a comment or, most of the time, just lurk silently, but by their regular visits tell me that what I blog about is of interest to them.

In other words, that I have kindred spirits out there, amigos who, unbidden, generously spare me their time of day. I’ve met and have become friends with some of them offline. And last year, enough of them voted for my blog as one of 2007’s “Top 10 Emerging Influential”--though hardly anyone could agree on what that meant.

That, in a long-winded nutshell, is why I blog. Because I have so many things to say about so many things, and blogging allows me to express them--and find an audience to share them with (if not necessarily agree with).

Blogging about what moves me is an urge; discovering an audience for it is a bonus. Together, they’re a potent motivation for spending the last 20 months of my life eyeballing the computer monitor for two to three hours almost every day to update my blog.

Hi there, I’m an addict.

My blog has more than 500 entries now, ranging from a couple of desultory paragraphs to overripe fulminations that could form a book chapter or a dissertation.

If, for nothing else, blogging gives me that space to vent. In pre-blogging times, one wrote to a newspaper, or phoned a radio show, to fume against yet another case of governmental rot. The alternative was to swallow the bile--something we’ve become expert at, which is, I believe, why we’re in the hellhole we are today.

Now, anyone can blog about it--say his or her piece on something. And if it’s done well enough, with insight and style and solid homework informing one’s sense of high dudgeon, chances are more than the usual curious suspects will pay attention.

Just ask Manolo Quezon, whose eponymous blog hosts the liveliest political punditry nowadays.

That very freedom, of course, is suspect to some. Bloggers are merely slackers, it’s been said. The blogosphere is a vast army of keyboard tappers with time to waste, and so waste it by churning out verbal tripe on everything from their boring little lives to their abysmal opinions about the rest of the world—not that anyone would care to hear them.

I leave it to fellow bloggers to defend themselves capably from this lazy charge. For my part, it was an early decision not to inflict my daily life on the Web, because that would really be a crashing bore.

Instead, I’d make my blog an extension of my work and interests. From my occasional trips abroad, for instance, I’d bring back the requisite travel pieces for this paper. But everything else--the extras and outtakes--would go to the blog.

Once, I got asked to write a profile of Piolo Pascual for a magazine. The lapidary piece appeared in print, while the back story of the interview--the one where I admitted I was drooling when Piolo fingered my Timex watch--went up online. [Correction: The Timex bit did get mentioned in print, not in the blog. Blush.]

Hey, it’s my own space, I can laugh at myself more freely there.

New tricks
Thanks to blogging, this 37-year-old dog has also learned new tricks.

Like how to splice footage using Nero and upload clips to YouTube, so I could share videos with my readers. Me, the neo-Luddite. Now I have a mini-community of subscribers there, distinct from my text-based blog.

And when podcasts became the shiny new thingamajig in other blogs, I had to try it, too. Even if I half-suspected my high, whiny voice would sound bad in playback.

It wasn’t bad, it was terrible. But I tried it! Now I can accost strangers and tell them, “I’ve done a podcast!” Never mind if they’ve no clue what the damn thing is.

I am positive I had a productive life before I started blogging. But my hands have been more than full since--and I’m not complaining.

Now if only my pampered blog would work its butt off getting me my own MacBook...


peter penducker said...

it (blogging) will get you a macbook. it will... eventually. :-)

GeoRge said...

i'm one of those silent lurkers. lol
but really, i believe you do have an audience. if i'd see a poster of a play somewhere in manila and if i wanted info on it, the first thing that would come to mind is to log onto your blog and see if you got it covered.

these days it's good to hear true reasons why someone would blog. someone told me recently he stopped blogging because he thinks it's just for self-gratification. i argued that blogging should be about sharing, etc.

sporadic susuration of the soul said...

Hello! I just read your article at the newspaper. Now I know where to go and check out new theater plays or read feedbacks about them. I know I will enjoy reading your blogs. Mabuhay ang Pinoy!

TheBachelorGirl said...

Well said, Gibbs. To the proliferation of theatre!

the donG said...

i just read your article in PDI. congratulations for the length of your blog's existence. ill surely drop by once in a while.

P0ytee said...

Don't worry, I have you on google reader! LOL! Although it pains me to read your entries (your vocabulary is THAT impressive), I find myself smiling after I read an entry like this. Go Badette!

jvillafranca said...

AdSense can't probably get you a MacBook without pushing it really hard with the SEO/SEM tactics unless you're a major website with major traffic (think, etc)

OK, forget I said anything about going SEO/SEM :-P we have enough of those ad whores already

R-yo said...

And remember how I got into blogging? Because you influenced me to. That's what made you the most influential blogger of 2007. he he. And with your posts now regularly finding print in the most influential newspaper in town, might as well hand you now the Blogville Superstar award! :-)

Aileen Apolo said...

You do have an audience! Ikaw pa! And I'm sure you've helped the theater community a lot with your blog. Plus, I enjoy reading about your exploits and have actually gotten to know you better through your blog =)

Seeker11 said...

Thank you for writing this article.I sincerely believe that your Macbook Pro is very well on its way to you, if not through Adsense, then via another way, surely. If I may share a tidbit? Over a year after i stopped updating my 1st blog, a US based advertising firm emailed me with a proposal, asking how much i will charge to host their ad on my almost jurassic blog.I didn't have the heart and closed down the blog instead. My 5-cents worth, gibbs, for us aspirants. In case you're so inclined to try on the millionaire's club for a change, I'm sharing a discovery i made about a vow future millionaires make to themselves.Wouldn't it be great if the majority of Filipinos became one? We'd be able to patronize the theater and arts even more. If you like, kindly visit "Millionaires' Secret Vow For Riches". All the best to you and yours. God bless. Sincerely, Seeker11

joelmcvie said...

Kapatid, my blog is four years old. I only started putting ads a couple of years ago. I have yet to make more than a dollar.

Besides, the infrastructure in Manila is not yet conducive to own a Macbook Air anyway. Yes, that's me sour-graping, hahaha!

mentholGUY said...

C'mon, you DO have an audience! Though I just lurk and lurk without even commenting, but still - you do. :)

Haven't thought of anything for the Philippine Issues Writing Project. Argh.

gibbs cadiz said...

PETER, well, truth be told, it's not really a priority. :)

GEORGE, thanks for the silent lurking and the encouraging words. lurk more! :)

SPORADIC, salamat for the visit! see ya here more often. :)

LORNA, well, am sure it will proliferate--with your tireless blogging about it and all, hehe. :)

THEDONG, thanks much! asahan ko yan. :)

POYTEE, pains you!? anuveh! :)

JVILLAFRANCA aka TEKNOSTIQUE, yeah, down with SEO! haha. :)

R-YO, aynaku, even without my blog am sure you'd have ended up blogging anyway. kaw pa! :)

AILEEN, nay, exploits talaga? haha, baka too much information na! :)

SEEKER, thanks, sige i'll drop by one of these days. :)

MCVIE, well, you know me, di naman talaga obsession ang macbook. inggit lang dahil our friend got it through adsense, haha! :)

KEVIN! hehe, musta na, thanks for ever lurking. get your ass going on that winning essay! :)

bleue said...

ang daya, kala ko irereveal mo na ang earnings mo sa AdSense, hehehe. Anyway, when I started blogging two years ago, my answer to the question "Why I blog", would have been a typical response of a newbie, "looking for an outlet". Two years after, I blog because i love doing it, and I meet new friends through it. But yes, a macbook or ipod through blogging is tempting, hehe!

gibbs cadiz said...

ANGEL, haha, anong earnings? siguro pwede lang yon pang choc. fondue sa max brenner, nyahaha! tara! keep blogging hanggang malibot mo buong mundo! :)

deejay said...

hi! i confess i'm not one of your regulars. i visit your blog only when i start feeling that my brain cells are dying out, and i need a fresh infusion of the culture and the arts to pump life back into them (although dead brain cells don't ever revive, do they?)

anyway, i ramble.

what i'm trying to say is i like how you write, and find your posts intelligent, sensible, and well within reach of an uncultured slob like i am.

so i linked my blog to yours. hope that's okay? thanks, and take care now!

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