How Do You Blog A Complaint?

One front page story at Philippine Star a few days ago involved four students of the Quezon City Science High School (a government-run science-oriented institution) being suspended due to several blog posts being severely critical of the school’s administration, particularly its principal.

Officials of the Quezon City Science High School (QCSHS) recently suspended four students who allegedly posted a blog that criticized the school’s principal.

The concerned blog … contains articles and photographs against Sadsad’s policies and person as well as the students’ gripes over irregular lunch hours and required subjects, among others.

The personal attacks against Sadsad in the blog even included violent declarations such as “Sadsad must die.”

While much of the students’ blog postings are on locked Multiply accounts–meaning they not for public consumption, but rather accessible to friends only–the Star cited another Multiply account as subject of the controversy.

I’m not taking sides on this issue yet. For all I know, the students’ gripes might be valid. But i usually get taken aback when people overdo it when they air their gripes online–especially if one resorts to personal attacks. This often results in a knee-jerk reaction, which can similarly be personal in nature. As bloggers, are we becoming a community of whiners? And because of this, are other people becoming overly defensive and over-reacting whenever they are attacked online? And why do we resort to ad hominem attacks?

On some forums and sites that I manage, I have experienced being on the receiving end of personally-directed attacks, too. Some are through private emails, some through public comments. Sometimes the argument gets lost in the midst of name-calling, swearing, and typing in all caps (probably the worst of ’em all, eh?).

Then again, there’s a difference between launching an attack on one’s person and the recipient’s taking a valid argument too personally. But whether it’s one thing or the other, the perception of people reading rabidly-written complaint blog posts might not be too good. [Read more…]

Time to Give Again

Over two years ago, the Blog Herald held a small contest with a $200 USD cash prize for the winning blog. Given the gloom and doom around blogosphere today owing to the economic crisis, we feel that there could be no more appropriate time to repeat this contest and once more offer $200 USD for the most deserving blog.

The criteria for a blog to be able to enter is purely that it “should be helping to make the world a better place”:

This can be achieved in many different ways, from increasing our awareness as a society, being a symbol of hope through example or more obvious ways- such as fundraising or research.

The previous winner of the contest was and the Million Dollar Blog Post, the brainchild of Austin Hill and the Project Ojibwe team. Incidentally, Gifter asked us to donate the proceeds of their winnings to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

As before, to recommend a blog or to apply, please leave a comment or email us before midnight, PST, Jan. 31st: editor[at]

Shai Coggins Out of b5media. Tough Times Ahead For All of Us?

I received an email tip via Performancing today about some key b5media personalities having to leave the network–one of the bigger blog/new media networks today, in terms of content and contributorship. Foremost of these is founder and b5media “co-founder” Shai Coggins. In a blog post today, Shai explains the circumstances behind her leaving b5.

Even with the fresh injection of funding, the economic times aren’t cooperating.

So, it all ended with another Skype chat. Well, sort of. On the 14th of January 2009, I used Skype to pay for the call to the b5 conference line – where the company COO and CEO broke the news to me.

Times are tough.

And that’s how it ends.

I’m not sure I am at liberty to quote or discuss the actual contents of the email, as it appears to be privileged communication between Jeremy Wright and his fellow b5’ers. But it appears that this move was due to some belt-tightening measures that the company has had to do in line with its trimming of costs, refocusing of strategies and exploring of new opportunities. [Read more…]

Don’t Give Excuses. Just Blog.

There comes a time in a blogger’s life when time for writing is a bit too sparse, and you can only post once in a while. And one mistake that most bloggers make is to do those “I’ve been busy …” and “Sorry I haven’t posted much lately …” posts, or something to that effect, where you detail practically everything that makes you busy, to the extent that you miss the point of your post, and focus only on why you weren’t able to post for the past few days/weeks/months.

I’ve been reading through Stephane Grenier’s Blog Blazers (my review at Performancing) and one of the common blogging mistakes cited by the interviewed top bloggers was exactly this. The point is that if you’ve been busy, then you shouldn’t have to explain yourself. Just write. Just publish. Just blog.

[Read more…]

How Do You Handle Your Blogging-Related Finances

Blogging has been a boon, especially to freelancers and work-at-home folks who earn from writing, running, or designing blogs or any other blog-related activity that generates income. But one thing always worries us folks especially at certain times of the year–accounting. Or more particularly, accounting for taxes and other legal obligations.

This was the topic of a recent Ask Performancing feature I published, where I summarized some advice and suggestions from Performancing Hive. With the year ending, some folks are worried about how to pay for duties from income earned during the year. This would vary across countries and jurisdictions, of course, but the point is, whether you like it or not, you would have to face this problem one time or another.

Some bloggers and writers might file as self-employed, or as professionals. Some might start limited-liability corporations, which might be more beneficial, given that you get deductibles from capital expenditures and other expenses. Some bloggers might be employed by companies that specialize in content creation or online publishing. Some independent bloggers might rather sign up under umbrella services and act as contractors (which may be the case for those in the UK), for instance.

So how do you handle your blogging-related finances?

HP Giving Away Gadgets Through Blog Contests

Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft are giving away $300,000 worth of computers, laptops, netbooks, PDAs, printers, software and accessories through a blog-oriented promotion called the HP Magic Giveaway. HP is not directly raffling off the prizes, though, but has left this task to 50 bloggers, who will run different contests on their blogs to determine the winners.

The prize package includes:

  • HP TouchSmart IQ816 PC with Windows
  • HP HDX 18 series Premium Notebook PC with Windows
  • HP MediaSmart Connect
  • HP Pavilion dv4-1145go Entertainment Notebooks with Windows
  • HP Mini 1000 series with Windows
  • HP Photosmart C6380 Wireless AIO
  • HP 564 Series Photo Value Pack
  • Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007
  • Corel VideoStudio X2
  • Kung Fu Panda widescreen DVDs

You can visit the list of participating blogs, and readers are eligible to join all 50 contests for better chances of winning.

Any Strange Blogging Habits?

Thinkstock Single Image Set

Max Soliven, the late, long-time publisher of the Philippine Star had one peculiar habit. Even with the popularity of laptops and word processors, Max typed his daily columns with a manual typewriter and had someone at the office encode the piece for him. Even stranger, whenever he was out of town, he still wrote his editorials on his manual typewriter and faxed the dozens of pages back home for encoding.

But I guess that was how Max wrote. That was how he got into the groove of writing. He has been a war correspondent and a political detainee, among other travails, and perhaps you get to appreciate the wonders of manual technology this way.

Perhaps many bloggers today have never even seen a typewriter in action, moreso a manual typewriter–you know, the one that sounds a loud DING when you go past the right margin. But most of us do have our own blogging habits, be they strange or not.

[Read more…]

Blogging and the Right of Reply

One hot topic in the Philippine media industry these days is a pending bill (with versions lodged both at the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives) for the “right of reply.” In essence, the bill stipulates that should any party feel aggrieved by any material published or broadcast by a publication or broadcast entity, that party should be allotted space or time to publish his own reply on the same space or the same amount of time within a specified period at no cost.

The Senate version, for one also stipulates penalties including fines and even imprisonment if a publicaton or broadcast company fails to comply.

Is there any sense to having such a law at all? [Read more…]

Monetizing Twitter?

A few weeks ago, Jeff Chandler reviewed Adjix on Performancing. Adjix lets Twitter users (or perhaps other microblogging services) monetize their accounts by shrinking URLs a-la tinyurl, but then puts up ads on the resulting page.

Based on the comment thread and the one on the follow-up post detailing an interview with Adjix’s CEO, readers mostly had negative impressions. Many were appalled at the thought of monetizing Twitter readership in this way. It was tantamout to facilitating spam, they say, and this would most likely result in loss of credibility. Others have commented that Adjix is impractical because of its use of frames rather than redirects, which effectively makes bookmarking difficult. [Read more…]

The 2008 Philippine Blog Awards


The 2008 Philippine Blog Awards was concluded Saturday evening with the awarding ceremonies at the Esplanade in Pasay City, Metro Manila. Finalists in the 23 categories were narrowed down from hundreds of nominees, with winners selected by judges from various fields, mostly in the new media industry.

With the aim of recognizing notable Filipino-owned blogs in different niches, the Philippine Blog Awards was launched in 2007 to showcase notable blogs with quality content that engages readers from around the globe. This second year of the event marked the inclusion of network blogs written by Filipinos, blogs written by mainstream media practitioners as well as local corporations that use blogs are effective communication tools.

Two of our folks from Splashpress Media (which also owns the Blog Herald) were also finalists: Sophia Lucero’s was a finalist for Best Blog Design, and this writer for Best Network Blogger.

A list of winners can be found at Update: The official list has been published.

Postscript: Read organizer Jayvee Fernandez’ closing remarks, which talks about the three head fakes of blogging.