VBS 2011 goes ‘Blogging and Beyond.’ How about political advocacy?

Hundreds of bloggers in the Visayas will flock to Cebu City, Philippines on November 26, 2011 to attend the 2013 Visayas Blogging Summit that focuses on the theme: “Blogging and Beyond.”

Perhaps it’s now time to issue a challenge like: How about going beyond to political advocacy?

I gathered during a meeting with VBS 2011 organizing committee vice chairman Ruben Licera Jr., (www.rubenlicera.com) that the summit shall focus on blogging for community development and in encouraging community participation.

Great, I told myself. Several years ago, blogging used to be merely a means for talking about personal musings about anything under the sun. As an observer of the blogging phenomenon in Cebu, I that noticed that it has generally grown beyond this to become a tool for promoting Cebu and certain places in Cebu as a destination of sorts.

We know that sophisticated tourists today would research cyberspace about potential destinations before deciding on where to go. The presence of several blogs about Cebu should help in convincing them to come.

This is the reason why Regional Director Weng Montecillo of the Department of Tourism (DOT) invited bloggers (which Vernon Go of www.vernongo.com heeded) to be part of the recently-formed Tourism and Heritage Information Network (THINK) 7.

Several bloggers likewise have gone the direction of making their blogs a business or a tool for promoting their businesses. This development goes hand in hand with the realization of big corporations and SMEs alike that marketing nowadays cannot ignore the growing population, and market, in cyberspace.

These, I believe, stimulates our economy in exponential ways that could not yet be determined by existing metrics.

Meanwhile, sectors within the Visayas blogging community have gone beyond travel, events and business toward various advocacy with most going into environmental protection. Vernon, I know, is a regular in the activities of the Media Information Network for Nutrition and Development (MIND) 7 that is a collaborative effort between the National Nutrition Council (NNC) 7 and those in print, radio, television, and social media.

But how about delving into social and political commentary and forming online networks of the kind that profoundly influenced media coverage and the course of politics in the US and other countries? Eric Boehlert’s “Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press” is an interesting read.

I am not talking about the blogs and websites that die immediately after an election. I am referring to individuals and networks of individuals passionate about making society better and taking to task politicians for making a fool of themselves.

The social media phenomenon that glued together various anti-flyover advocates in Cebu is one development along this direction. Through social media especially Facebook and Twitter, ordinary citizens are now realizing that together they can influence politicians and government and get the mainstream media to cover the twists and turns of the controversy that grow online. I believe though that movements like the anti-flyover group would gain more impact if supported and joined by an active, noisy, nosy and growing network of bloggers.

As I asserted in politika2013.wordpress.com (an attempt at putting together various opinions in the Visayas and Mindanao into one blog): “Our Views Matter.”

Though said within a different context about VBS 2011, I think the following quote by Kevin Ray Chua, president of Cebu Bloggers Society Inc. (CBSi), is quite apt:

“The blogging phenomenon in the Visayas continues to grow, reinforced by the emergence of blogging organizations dedicated to professionalize the local blogging community. However, a lot of work still needs to be done.”

The participation of Kabataan party list congressman,blogger, and Global Voices Southeast Asia editor Raymond Palatino during the Visayas Blogging Summit should be interesting. Thanks Kevin and Ruben for making this possible. I look forward to linking (online and offline) with political bloggers in Cebu, other Vis-Min areas, and Metro Manila.

For more information on the 2011 Visayas Blogging Summit visit www.vbs2011.cebubloggers.com.



4 Replies to “VBS 2011 goes ‘Blogging and Beyond.’ How about political advocacy?”

  1. Ever since I found out about antipinoy.com during the last elections,
    I wondered how many more of these blogs are out there.

    We need voices to point out the anomalies in the goverment!
    Where can we show displeasure about the ineptness of the current government,
    and bring out complete transparency in all levels of the government?
    Or the constant meddling of the no-longer-a-mayor-but-still-a-bully politician,
    or the wars between different political families?
    Or political dynasties that should have long been gone from the political scene?
    Or the lack of political will to implement our already-existing laws,
    that are ignored by both the government and its people?
    Or the lack of discipline of the average Filipino in keeping traffic sane,
    or the simple act of maintaining a clean environment?

    We need strong voices to educate Filipinos.
    But who is willing to take such huge risk,
    and bring about the birth of a digital La Solidaridad?


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