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Blogs hailed as agents of change, relevance, hope

/ 11:25 PM November 21, 2015

Whoever said that blogging is only for the young?

For 75-year-old Abe Rotor, age is not a hindrance to make the most out of the digital media. In fact, at his age, Rotor is currently maintaining three blogs, and has a total of about 5,000 posts since he started blogging in 2008. “I tell you, I enjoy blogging even in the middle of the night, or wake up early in the morning to finish a lesson or two,” he said.

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Rotor, who won the best nature and environment blog in the Bloggys 2015 Awards for anvotor.blogspot.com, told INQUIRER.net that blogs should be used as instruments of compassion, interconnectedness and universality.

“The blog is one avenue you can express many things—you can express your creativity, your thoughts, your feelings, and things we think that the computer may lack like love and compassion. That’s not true. Use the blog and put your feelings there,” Rotor said in an interview during the Philippine Blog Awards Night at SM Aura in Taguig City on Saturday.

“Have compassion with people. Have your advocacy, just don’t be moralistic. Blog is the modern way of publishing. And you are always right when you blog on the condition that you are truthful and you do your research,” he added.

Rotor, award-winning author of “The Living With Nature” handbook and a former professor at the University of Santo Tomas, said bloggers should be guided by “universal values” and channel their emotions in telling their stories.

“You’ll see that the blog creates universality. So you have to be guided by universal values if you want to maintain your blog and appreciate it. You must not only address your blog to Filipinos, to your friends, but to the whole world,” said Rotor, who also served as scientist at the Department of Science and Technology, director of the National Food Authority, and Senate consultant on food and agriculture.

“You know how to blog, you know how to use social media, but don’t make it as a robot. Make it alive. Make your blog speak—speak of truth, speak of happiness, speak of sorrow. But in the end, it will have to show some kind of hope, a new determination, a new life. Don’t stop your story by being tragic at the end,” he added.

Added-value

For e-commerce advocate and Bloggys 2015 judge Janette Toral, blogs are relevant in this day and age because they share additional insights and knowledge that “usually goes beyond what the traditional media would cover.”

“I think blogs are relevant the moment they add value to their readers. The moment readers get entertained, the more readers get informed and get additional insight, and at the same time they were also able to change the lives of their readers in one way or the other, whether in perspective or in the way they do things, I think that’s when a blog becomes relevant,” Toral told INQUIRER.net.

“It has to establish a niche and go beyond just publishing a brand story. It’s about how they put themselves in the story, their insight, and how they exert effort to become relevant to their readers. Their story should not be about them but how their story will help their readers make a better decision,” she added.

Torral said bloggers should see their interest or hobby as an opportunity to foster goodwill and to promote “ideas that will make our country better.”

“Sometimes bloggers are afraid to do certain things because they saw others doing it already and they don’t want to be accused of copying. At the end of the day we all have our different audience… A blog needs to establish a certain relationship to their readers and the people who believe in them,” she added.

Meanwhile, investigative journalist Raissa Robles, who won the award for best blog in the society and politics category for raissarobles.com, said blogs can be agents of change in the “crossroads” that is the 2016 elections, as she sought the support of her fellow bloggers for a special project.

“We have to choose wisely and we have to choose well. Freedom is very much alive in this country,” Robles said in a short speech after accepting her award.

‘Alive, well, and world-class’

Highlighting the “talent, passion, and impact” of the entries, INQUIRER.net editor in chief and judge John Nery shared how the panel had a difficulty in picking the winners because many blogs have world-class quality.

“The Philippine blogging scene is alive and well,” Nery said in his closing remarks.

“Precisely because of the quality, I think it’s important to stress that each of the finalist should be considered as a winner, too,” he added.

Bloggys, a nationwide blogging event, recognized the “most relevant and engaging” blogs owned and written by Filipinos. Bloggers and readers started nominating entries in September.

Aside from Rotor and Robles, this year’s Bloggys winners include googleygoeys.com for arts and entertainment, projectvanity.com for beauty and fashion, tycoon.ph for business and finance, asksonnie.info for corporate and brand, teachwithjoy.com for family and relationships, michaelsshadesofblue.blogspot.com for fiction and literature, pepper.ph for food and dining, pinoyfitness.com for health and fitness, wheninmanila.com for lifestyle and hobbies, thedailypedia.com for news and events, sawrites.blogspot.com for personal diary, two2travel.com for photo blog, pinoymountaineer.com for sports and recreation, backtogaming.com for technology and Internet, and biyaherongbarat.com for travel and places.

Pepper.ph was also awarded as the best designed blog and the overall Bloggys champion. TVJ

TAGS: Abe Rotor, blogging, Bloggys 2015 Awards, Blogs
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