Thursday, March 03, 2011

Blogging is a Mass of Niches

So another issue is rocking the Philippine blogosphere with a proposal to put together a National Bloggers Association. Creating an organization is well and good. It is best done when there is a good number of people who have the same interests. In the Philippines alone there are hundreds of trade associations and thousands of interest groups which people join based on their profession, interests or hobbies.

I have my reservations about joining a National Bloggers Association. Let me explain why:

1. Blogging for me is just a hobby. I've been writing since I was a kid so I just essentially use blogging as a platform to express my thoughts and share my ideas and as a journal too.

2. My blog is my own world and I do not want it to be subjected to a standardized code of ethics or metrics. I used to be editor in chief of our college literary paper and it was painful for both the editors and professors to give feedback to the writer. Our publication back then was like a volcano because of the different temperaments of writers and artists.  Writing is a very personal act and subjecting bloggers to a standard/code of ethics is like building multiple number of volcanoes across the country.

3. Section 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides, "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances." (highlighting added). The law provides for our freedom of speech and expression already, and the press makes sure that this isn't tampered with.

5. Each person has his own set of beliefs and values. In the past 5 years everyone in the blogosphere thinks they are right even when others think they are wrong, but we end up doing anything we want anyway. Following the 10 Commandments is hard enough, maybe we should just all follow it and the rest will fall into place.

I thought I'd write about this issue after reading the failed attempt in Singapore to put together a bloggers association. The Media Bloggers Association in the US also never moved forward in 2009 despite having been tapped by the Associated Press as a partner. Reading about it made me realize why it never worked.

Blogging is a mass of niches.

In short, to each is his own. And this makes it hard for advertisers and companies who would like to tap bloggers for their digital marketing campaigns. What they should realize is there will never be a one shot deal with bloggers. And it's not about getting bloggers to post your press release, but getting them to write about their experience with your product/service. And, of course, you have to do your research on which bloggers to tap.

As my mentor, Dr. Ned, kept telling me a few years ago, "The future isn't about marketing to the masses. It's going to be about you talking directly to consumers who are interested in your product." So don't expect everyone to read a specific blog, because it has its own niche (hundreds/thousands of readers). Yeah it's hard, but at least you have added content online about your products/services.

So this proposal about a National Bloggers Association... I don't know, I think I'll stick to joining or participating in select projects/activities since any attempt in the past (this the the nth attempt) never really flourished. Besides organizations really work with just a handful of people moving (I've observed that with local professional orgs too), so its actually better sometimes to just have interest groups work with different projects to get more traction.

Well, it's a free country and everybody has a choice :)

What do you think?