By Tonyo Cruz
“The Professional Heckler” is the country’s most popular and most awarded humor blog. Many people love it, and we always look forward to the posts and to the weekend #Quiztion.
Our former UPLB Perspective features editor-turned-Heckler Loi Landicho may disagree, but his is a political blog, delivered with devastating humor at the expense of often-laughable political characters.
Blog Watch, the group blog launched in the run-up to the 2010 elections, has outlived the PNoy administration and remains active under the new administration.
And before Buzzfeed even thought of setting up a local edition, we’ve had WhenInManila.com — our multi-topic popular magazine founded by a balikbayan blogger who has since stayed in the country to oversee this online publication behemoth.
Yugatech, Unbox.ph, TechPinas, Giz Guide, and DR On The Go lead the pack of technology blogs, keeping readers abreast of what’s up and coming, what’s good to buy, what deserves attention.
Want to travel? I’m sure these names are familiar: The Poor Traveller, Langyaw, Our Awesome Planet, Ironwulf En Route, Escape Manila, The Pinay Solo Backpacker, Detourista, and others.
Looking for good food? There’s The Pickiest Eater, marketmanila.com, and many others.
Ready to be rich? Look no further than Fitz Villafuerte’s blog that goes by that name. Or Pinoy Money Talk.
There are new blogs out to challenge these veterans, and we could only guess what they have in store for us.
Bloggers are organized too, mostly informally like packs of friends. Cebu Bloggers Society showed the way, by being the first SEC-registered bloggers’ association. Since then, many other groups have been formed in Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Davao, SoCCSkSarGen, and elsewhere. New organizations have risen like Cebu Blogging Community and Davao Digital Influencers.
We cannot fail to mention our OFWs and Filipino Expats abroad. They have their blogs, online communities and even their own awards.
From other channels in social media, there are other new players, pitching their tents in the growing digital ecosystem: IGers and other Instagram users, Tumblr PH, and the like.
In between, these bloggers and new media practitioners would get out of comfort zones and dive into politics and social good: #Ondoy #ReliefPH #RescuePH #ScrapPork #NoToCybercrimeLaw
We bloggers are mighty proud of many of our friends who have “graduated” to the corporate world, and have since been recruited by brands and agencies.
For instance, Coy Caballes, the country’s first Social Media Manager for a telco, was a blogger. In fact, he was the most outstanding and well-loved video-blogger. Too bad, he has passed.
Ederic Eder, the champion of the Filipino language in the blogosphere, is the Social Media Manager over at GMA Network. Aaron Lozada of PinoyGossipBoy fame became an editor at PhilStar.com, and now works at ABS-CBN.
Bloggers have also become resource persons, talking heads, subject matter experts and favorite guests on television shows. They have become the newest and hottest opinion-makers, wittingly or unwittingly providing information and insight on areas legacy media have long ceded to bloggers. Others have become columnists and regular contributors to newspapers.
Why do I recite these names of bloggers and blogs? Because we must be reminded of the honor that you, dear readers, have given us by going to blogs for many of your information needs and for insights on so many things. We achieved this feat — becoming legitimate, trusted and credible new media — because of the trust between blogger and reader, and the cooperation and collaboration of bloggers.
We must be reminded because in the bickering and infighting among political groups, the terms blogs and blogging have been unfairly dragged down to the mud.
The problem with traditional politics in the Philippines is that everything it touches turns into sh-t, and this cannot be clearer than the political blogs supporting the warring political parties and personalities.
I’m sure many bloggers would share my view that we cannot stop these bloggers from blogging, and that they are ultimately accountable to themselves and to their readers. But for either administration or opposition to claim that their competing blogs and websites represent the blogosphere — that’s different. That’s misrepresentation.
I don’t wish to pass judgment on the content of the other political blogs, especially the overtly partisan. That is for the public to decide, for various political factions to contest, and for independent watchdogs to critique. Because in the sphere of politics, there must be the widest latitude for a contest of ideas — however offensive, objectionable or fraudulent we may perceive them to be. I say, let them openly fight and along the way be exposed to the cleansing power of the sun and a critical citizenry.
We bloggers didn’t build the blogosphere — post by post, niche by niche — just so traditional politics would misrepresent and drag all of us down. Or for them to misportray bloggers as champions of the rotten system and parties most of us despise.
It doesn’t help that some friends in legacy media unite with traditional politics in the fight against “fake news”, which includes a sweeping condemnation of some bloggers and blogs.
Right now, nobody knows what other cheap tricks the political parties and operators plan to do through blogs and social media.
The good thing going for most of us is that these political vampires don’t know what the best and brightest Filipino bloggers could do to fight back against misrepresentation and to reclaim their honor.
Meantime, let’s go and read our favorite blogs — and remember why we fell in love with them.
Follow me on Twitter @tonyocruz and check out my blog tonyocruz.com