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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blogging for popularity, towards social responsibility

In the past weeks, I was wondering what do Technocrati authority, blog juice, ranking, popularity and being influential means for a blog and the blogger. Bloggers in the Philippines would probably count to hundreds of thousands, if not in at least a million that landing in the Top 100 popular blogs or even the Top 10 most influential blogs, or even cited as the best blog of the year would definitely be a mind-blowing experience and significant feat for the blogger.

As a result, blogging becomes a rat-race, and their authors would try all the possibilities to outshine other bloggers. We resort to installing widgets, signing in the popularity race, and some even resort to advertising their blogs for them to get some attention.

In a few months of blogging, I also asked if these ranking, authority and popularity widgets are really important. At the least, I would say yes. It becomes an indication whether you have readers, actually. I, myself, was surprised to learn that even Manolo Quezon III linked me in one of his articles 2 months ago (see my Technocrati).

Earlier this month, I submitted my blog in the ranking of the so-called grassroots blogging society--Pinoy Bloggers Society a.k.a. PinoyBlogoSphere or PBS. Knowing that I landed in 270+ ranking out of 315 members who submitted their blog for ranking, was disheartening at the start. Although I didn't care if nobody visits my blogsite, I also surmised what would be the purpose of writing blogs if nobody would read them anyway? So I tried experimenting on some topics, which would be of interest to me, and at the same time, would engender interest among my very few readers. In a few days, I was surprised with what I saw. My PBS Ranking improved from 270+ to 208 today (August 11). It feels good—definitely! Also, even if I seldom see any comment in my blog entries, my site counter reveals that I have visitors, which also means that I am not wasting my precious idle time to run a simple analysis of the Top 100 blogs in the PBS. Perhaps, Filipinos are not really fond of giving out comments or remarks. It is a cultural thing.

However, some blogs like that of Eric (Señor Enrique) does not even have link widgets, but his blog is very popular that most of the blogs I visit link his site. So what makes his blog become the daily fare for most of us?

This prompted me to do a simple analysis of the Top 100 blogs of the PBS (This ranking is as of 2:05PM, August 11, 2007). With the information on the ranking of the PBS, here is what I have found out:

There are 20 blog categories which landed in the Top 100. I grouped similar blogs for easy presentation and analysis and came up with the following categories:

  • Entertainment and the Arts - includes the entertainment industry, photo blogs, news and media, arts, and music.
  • Personal – anything under the sun—be it entertainment, politics and governance, IT, lifestyle, family life, friendships, etc.
  • Information technology – includes blogging technology, internet, video games, computers, internet resources
  • Outdoor Lifestyle – includes travel, sports and recreation
  • Group and Community – communities like PBS, mostly Pinoy communities
  • Fashion and Lifestyle
  • Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Humor
  • Academics
  • Socio-political
  • Home and Living

Based on the aggregated or re-classified categories, the top three are:

  • Entertainment and the Arts (33%)
  • Personal (25%)
  • Information technology (15%)

They comprise 59% of all the blogs.

Thus, I have the following impressions (not conclusions yet, since my “study” is not scientific):

The blogging community prefers to be entertained and make blogging a personal experience, one reads or writes blogs to unwind, rather than engage in mind-wracking social concerns. They want to dwell on the more mundane aspect of living—its nitty-gritty and not the macro issues that beset the country. Perhaps, we already have enough of these in the news and public affairs shows and in broadsheets. You will see why politics, economics and social issues do not augur well for most of the Filipino bloggers. But it does not mean we do not have to discuss these issues. However, your discussion of these issues, like the way MLQIII expresses his punditry on these social issues, must be well written and well thought—then you will have a following like him.

Ergo, if you want to be popular, write topics on entertainment, travel, and lessons from personal experiences. In so-doing, it becomes probable that you will have the chance to land at least in the top 59% of the group. If you want to discuss about pressing issues, then you must have the authority of a Manolo Quezon or Dean Jorge Bocobo.

The novelty of ideas drawn from the personal experiences and the noble lessons derived from them becomes meaningful to the lives of readers if you will be able to touch their heart and tickle their funny side like that of Empress Maruja. Although his personal blog is somewhat “obscene” in some cases, he gets away with it. In the end, we become entertained. He has the novelty of ideas especially when he revived his “Empress Balita,” which gives a funny and unusually creative point-of-view to what is an already published story about actors and actresses. Señor Enrique, on the other hand, is so effective in painting another version of Quiapo and its environs by including some heartwarming and mind-provoking stories, which adds life and color to his otherwise mundane photos of these areas.

Just like how fast the popularity ranking is, the behavior of the blogging community is also shifting significantly. Blogging was introduced as a personal online diary. Suddenly, it becomes a venue for sharing learning from experiences, counseling, networking, information sharing, technology coaching, and advocacy, among others.

At this point, we can say that blogging will continue to flourish as a venue for reaching out to people. In the near future, it will take the center stage, perhaps replacing the other forms of the tri-media in terms of popularity and as a preferred site for communication.

With its power to communicate and change lives, this medium, therefore, should not be exploited not only for personal gains, but eventually in helping shape our society the way we wanted it to be. Gleaning from our present situation, our personal blogs, in a way, affects our readers. Perhaps, we have influenced their way of life.

While we vie for popularity, perhaps, it would not hurt if we also inject some form of social responsibility in our blogs.

16 people have commented. Leave your comments too!:

Many people aim for popularity to gain more readers. Who would not want more readers? However, i agree with you when you said that we should inject a sense of social responsibility on what we do with our blogs.

We should keep in mind that blogging is not all about rankings. It is more about the things we say or the messages we convey to our readers.

Happy Blogging!

Thanks, Karlo. While we enjoy blogging to express what is in our heart and mind, we might as well reach out and be part of tha change process.

This role may not be dealing with social and political issues. Leave that to the experts. It would be heartening to know we would be part of the lives of the people who have read us.

There is no doubt why your site has increased traffic because you have not only injected a form of social responsibility but also a form of humility.

Kidglove, there is nothing to brag about after all. So to say, we are indebted to our readers.

Deep, man! you're making me think of what I blog.

sounds like a lot of work went into writing that article. That's really useful information, knowing what the community is interested in :) kudos!

its all true, we blog because we find pleasures on what we write and same time, pleased our readers.

I have comments here and there,not much, but my site meters says, i got 120 regular visits everyday!!!!

But where's the money.

@cez, Ikaw pa! You are a far better writer than me! Hehe. Btw, happy vacation!

Echu, not really. I spent over an hour writing about it. I, myself, was interested to know what makes these popular blogs tick, so I guess that's it at this point.

Thanks for dropping by!

Hi, Francesca!
OO nga. How we wish the blogs can give us money. Some do earn a few dollars with their ad banners. But I guess, this is not even enough for paying your website (if you subscribe). I think some earn money through this by working in professional blogging. Which means, they write for a certain product, write blogs at least 3x a week, and they get paid. Sweet life! How I wish I could do the same.

It is quite natural for many Filipinos to write about life or entertainment. Blogging is driven by our social nature, ahem, yes, and money as well. Sometimes, I just feel my responsibility only fall on those I have similar standpoints with. Hehe. Feeling unsure, I'll go over my posts again...

Champagne-first, thanks for dropping by! Second, you don't have to push yourself writing something you are not comfortable with. Looking at your posts, they are just perfectly alright!

The words that come from you must come from your heart...


Very sanguine points iterated in your blog entry above. And as early as 1999 forward-thinking authorities had already warned us about the hazards and pitfalls of this newly emerging mode of communication. Very different from the traditional products of media where the readers/consumers maintain very passive roles.

Now in this newest medium, we the consumers actually have active powers to determine where this medium is going.

Am recommending an easy-to-read book which details a very apt exposition of this subject - Psychology of the Internet by Patricia Wallace, which came out in 1999.

More power!

Amadeo - Thanks for leaving a comment on this. Having a background in psych, it always interests me to look into the blogging behavior (malay mo, I would be an authority on this later, haha).

Indeed, the observations from this simple analysis shows we are actually shaping the blogging community. And it is my fervent wish that we make use of this to touch other people's lives and make some dent in shaping the society as well.

I wish I could find the book you are recommending here in the Philippines.


Hi Ding,

Very much honored by your kind words. Thank you very much. A blogger friend, Rhoda Palinar of Time & Tide, made me aware of this particular entry of yours.

As for the lack of link widgets on my site, you see, I was yearning to simplify my life at the time I started Wish You Were Here by Senor Enrique. And if I couldn't simplify my real life soon enough, I thought I could, at least, do it right away with my blog site; hence the minimalist appearance :)

In a nutshell, if anyone should ask what fuels Senor Enrique, I would say it's my desire to serve first and foremost.

BTW, Manolo Quezon and Dean Jorge Bocobo are two blogging personalities I greatly admire. And I am also a fan of your writings, Ding!

Best regards,


Eric - I am honored [again] by your visit, and having read those flattering words from you. Salamat!

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