When Abe Olandres was appointed to the helm of the blog herald and subsequently took me in to help with management (long story–you can email me if you want to learn about it), several fellow Filipino bloggers lauded it as an accomplishment. Some considered it a “Filipino takeover” of the blogosphere. In fact, it was even covered by Inq7 on its tech pages, which is a big thing, considering inq7 is among the most popular of Philippine sites. Coverage in inq7 spikes up traffic, and is akin to being DUGG frontpage (though not on such a massive scale).
Why the fuss? We didn’t even purchase the Blog Herald ourselves. (Don’t ask me how much the purchase price was. If I told you, I’d have to kill you.) We were merely trusted enough by the new set of owners to manage editorial, marketing, and technical aspects of the blog.
Still, this is a big deal, in my opinion. It’s an accomplishment not only for Abe and myself. It’s another feather on the caps of the Pinoy Blogger–and I mean this as a collective. By this I mean it’s not by far the only accomplishment that Filipino bloggers have achieved in the international realm that is the blogosphere. There have been many others before us.
Let me point you to Abe’s recent post about 2007 as the year of the Pinoy Blogger.
See, when I took the position over at Blog Herald, there was quite a mix of ruckus and excitement. It was in the news (well, our news) and some people were asking me why there was so much excitement in our little part of the world about the development.
I explained that our generation (i.e. Filipinos) have become known around the globe as any of of these types of people — domestic helper, nurses, sea men, care-giver, or call center agents. In short, we’re looked down by most as cheap 3rd-world laborers. I have aunts that are working as nurses in the US for decades, uncles, cousins on a cargo ship at sea, relatives who are domestic helpers (OFW is the proper term) in Singapore; HK, older cousins who graduated as nurses but ended up as care-givers in UK and even more younger cousins who are now waiting for their Nursing Boars exam results. So, a fellow Filipino taking over a top position in a pre-dominantly western niche is real news.
It’s in response to Joey Alarilla’s article on inq7 about a media revolution in the Philippines not happening in mainstream, mass media, but in new media–particularly the blogosphere.
I donit think it’s sensationalistic to say that Filipinos are taking over. At the risk of using a horrid cliche, I believe we are now seeing the tipping point for Filipino presence in the blogosphere. This is another arena where Filipinos can compete globally–and succeed.
One point that I didn’t elaborate on in my CNET Asia post is that the Filipino bloggers I cited are all based in the Philippines, which is significant given the brain drain and the feeling of our countrymen that they have no choice but to seek greener pastures abroad.
Knowledge is Power
It’s all about redistribution of capital. Arguably, most of the worldis riches in terms of financial resources still lies in the hands of the developed countries, the first world–mostly the west (I am an economist, yet I speak in terms of “first world” and such, even though they’re considered obsolete). However, in this Information Age, the foremost capital is Knowledge (with a big K). And arguably, we Filipinos–and others in developing economies–are every bit as capable as those in the developed world to develop this new capital.
I say redistribution, because we suddenly find ourselves capable of wielding this new power, wherein previously one would require material possessions and riches to be considered powerful. Knowledge is, after all, something that you don’t need machines to produce nor dig deep underground into, nor use heavy machinery to forge. Knowledge itself, is that that creates value and even material wealth for the enjoyment of people.
Of course, it is something that also has to be developed and nurtured (and need I say how important a good education system is?). And successful blogging is an offshoot of having the adequate skills and knowledge–the ability to think critically, and the ability to communicate effectively.
For now, I’m thankful that I belong to these exciting times.
So does 2007 hold good promise for the Filipino Blogger? Well, I do hope so! And Iim going to do my part to make sure of that.