16 May 2007

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at
http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com Please.
Wednesday May 9, 2007

Blogging 101 for politicians


Blogs and bloggers have come under the microscope once again but for the most part the people complaining haven't the faintest idea what blogging is all about, to the point that it's almost embarrassing.

IN most fields, differentiations are made between those considered amateurs and those deemed professionals.

Talented singers are amateurs when they go on American Idol and immediately become professionals when they win. Those who lug their clubs around the greens on a weekend will never be considered professional unless, like Tiger Woods, they do nothing else but play golf and get paid for it.

Your best friend may be spot-on in diagnosing what’s causing your headaches but you still need to go to a certified doctor to be able to do anything about it.

In other words, there is a line drawn between the amateur and professional worlds that is determined either by entry barriers such as full-time study, exams and other means of certification or by payment for the work done.

The one exception is, perhaps, fulltime homemakers who do not have to pass any exams to become professional, nor are they ever paid.

There are lots of areas of interest where there are very few entry barriers except for enthusiasm and staying power.

In the modern world of the Internet, there is of course the phenomenon of blogging.

For those who do not understand blogging, by and large most bloggers are basically writing public diaries. They may write about their everyday lives, almost as if to themselves, except that they put it up for public viewing.

What differentiates one from another is basically the quality of content and writing. A person who leads an interesting life and can write eloquently about it online is going to have a much more popular blog than someone who has a very routine life.

There are millions of blogs and some of the most interesting ones are those written by people who are, for example, cancer survivors who write about how they cope with everyday life and people who live in war zones like Iraq who give literally an insider’s view of the conflict.

What is wonderful about blogging is that there is no entry barrier except perhaps access to the Internet and a facility for language. Anyone and everyone can start one, on any subject. A friend of mine who lives in France writes about Malaysian food in French.

Bloggers do not have to study how to blog, sit for any qualifying exam, nor are paid for it. So there is no such thing as a professional blogger and a non-professional one. True, there are some full-time ones, people who seem to do nothing but blog.

But most bloggers have a life outside the Internet and write their thoughts for public consumption mostly as a hobby. It is however a hobby that is absorbing and exciting because unlike most hobbies, you do have an audience that is eager to and avidly does interact with you.

The wonderful thing about blogging is that it allows an individual to give voice to their thoughts when there are few other avenues available. Some of these thoughts are not necessarily positive and it has always mystified me why people complain about “political” bloggers who generally can make very erudite comments about national issues, and then say nothing about the fascist and racist bloggers who write under the guise of religion.

But for the most part, most bloggers are people who simply want to air their views through this exciting new medium.

Recent proposals to register bloggers or to categorise them into “professional” and “non-professional” bloggers only serves to confirm what anyone savvy with the Internet thinks: that politicians are clueless as to what blogging is.

Which is rather odd since politics is the other area where “professional” and “amateur” has no meaning. It makes even less sense when many bloggers are writing under pseudonyms. If this were another time, would you register Mark Twain or Samuel J. Clemens?

Perhaps what we need to professionalise are comments made about bloggers. At the moment, their amateurishness is laughably embarrassing.