talking points

10/14/04 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 26 Comments

It’s come to my attention that the launch of’s Talking Points blog has elicited a negative reaction among certain members of the Philippine blogging community — you know who you are.

It’s OK to rant. It’s OK to say that you hate our blog and don’t want to have anything to do with it — no one’s forcing you to use it if you don’t like it. But to say that it’s not a “true blog,” that has no right to use blogging as a tool because we’re the mainstream media (the establishment as opposed to the bloggers who are the alternative media), and worse, to say that we apparently stole the idea from certain Philippine bloggers, well, who are now positioning themselves as the gods who determine what blogging is and who and how it should be used?

What I find hilarious is that here I was, excited over blogging and deciding to feature bloggers in YOU and Infotech after friends got me hooked on it, and now it’s being made to appear that all along I was stealing ideas from people. That, evil, mainstream, I’m-the-
establishment, was plotting to benefit from all the hard work of the Philippine blogging community without giving proper credit. Give them credit because we thought of a way to use blogging to give our readers a new means to express their opinion, give them credit because we introduced what the other mainstream media outlets haven’t? This is like saying that companies should not put up a webpage because websites are meant for individuals, that it’s a personal space that would only be commercialized or what have you. The funny thing is that I’ve always had a bias for writing IT stories about people, not companies, because I figure companies already have their own PRs to generate publicity for them.

Are we telling people not to visit these personal blogs? No. In fact, I’ve been featuring these bloggers — and I didn’t hear them screaming, “I don’t want to be interviewed by because you’re part of the evil mainstream media.” Don’t we have a right to use blogging as a tool just as we’ve made news and opinion accessible through PCs, PDAs, mobile phones, interactive TV and other devices and platforms? Wake up and smell the coffee: newspaper columnists are blogging, the military is blogging, companies are blogging. You don’t own blogging. The Internet was originally a response to the threat of nuclear war and was once upon time the exclusive playground of the military, scientists and the academe. Does that mean it shouldn’t have been made available to everyone, especially the evil mainstream media?

And don’t quote Migs Paraz out of context, because I was the one who brought up the idea of using blogging as a tool for online journalism (funny how the relevant phrases mysteriously disappeared in their post, eh?) and this was his response in full:

Do you see blogging as the next step in online journalism here in the Philippines?

I’ve never thought about it; now that you mention it, I don’t see much value in the journalists themselves posting the stories as blogs. What I think would be useful is building a community of bloggers who can post reactions to the stories. The journalists/news outlets can help by making the updated stories easily available — like by syndicating them via feeds. If the journalists read the comments, then that completes the feedback loop.

In fact here’s the article in full. Go to the Sassy Lawyer for the truncated version of a paragraph from the article.

Blogging the RP tech scene
Updated 05:28pm (Mla time)
Sept 30, 2004

By Joey Alarilla

SURE, we have lots of Pinoy bloggers, yet how many of them write about technology or cover the latest developments in the Philippine information technology industry?

Enter Migs Paraz, techie extraordinaire and one of the pillars of the Philippine Internet community, who, since June of this year, has made it his mission in life to aggregate feeds from Pinoy tech blogs on his Pinoy Tech Scene site at
So, why would anyone undertake this kind of project (for free, I might add)? We’ll let Migs do the talking.

What’s your main goal for putting up the site?

I saw a lack of tech blogs (and other serious essay/topic blogs, as opposed to personal ones — though I haven’t addressed that yet). I wanted people looking for dynamic Pinoy tech content to easily find it. The bloggers can post topics that aren’t covered by mainstream tech sites or give some opinions and insights that otherwise wouldn’tfind an audience.

It can also be accessed with an RSS (which can stand for Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary, depending on which encyclopedia you believe. The important thing to remember is that this is one of the standards for syndicating website content and publishing regular updates available to web users.) reader. I aggregate the feeds (Atom or RSS) into a single RSS feed.

How many people regularly visit Pinoy Tech Scene?

Not many. Like the past few days, I averaged 250 hits a day. Some are from people all over the world not looking for anything Pinoy, but [who] came across the site when searching for tech keywords. If the pages satisfied their knowledge requirement, then I’m happy that we were able to export our knowledge!

Do we already have many tech bloggers in the Philippines and what can be done to encourage the growth of tech blogging?

I don’t know many aside from the ones I listed on the site. Unfortunately a lot of local tech content is posted in forums which require registration and are thus not searchable from the outside. One of my goals in putting up an aggregator is to make these [sites] more searchable.

Other technical discussions are in the form of mailing lists. While these are informative, they follow the form of a conversation, and one message alone is not complete. A tech blog can help by summarizing the discussion.

Another downside of tech blogging is that many techies aren’t really interested in documenting their experiences, or if they are, can’t find the time. (Like myself — there’s a lot of stuff I’ve done that I haven’t written about. I want to, but then, priorities…)

How has blogging helped you and other tech bloggers get more people interested in technology and Philippine IT issues?

I don’t have concrete examples of it happening, but I think what blogs can do is present a personal face to tech. When people talk about it in the context of their daily living, readers who are interested in personal blogs will discover the tech stories within.

Do you see blogging as the next step in online journalism here in the Philippines?

I’ve never thought about it; now that you mention it, I don’t see much value in the journalists themselves posting the stories as blogs. What I think would be useful is building a community of bloggers who can post reactions to the stories. The journalists/news outlets can help by making the updated stories easily available — like by syndicating them via feeds. If the journalists read the comments, then that completes the feedback loop.

What new features would you like to add to Pinoy Tech Scene?

My immediate goal is to fix the formatting of the posts. Right now, long posts and those with extra formatting break the layout. After that, I don’t need extra features unless I get more tech bloggers onboard. When I do, I may need to organize the posts better.

* * *
Visit Pinoy Tech Scene at You may also visit Migs Paraz’s blog at

E-mail the author at and visit



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  1. hi joey. =) i just have one comment regarding this and the violent reactions of others. hehe.

    i agree with the others when they say that Talking Points isn’t technically a weblog. editors will still have to moderate whatever reactions people send in. the beauty of blogging is that it’s one-step publishing for people to publish what they believe, whether others agree or not. there also isn’t a commenting system in place, where others are free to post their reactions to the original reaction. that, for me, would encouage more debates with more people.

    my paltry two cents. =)

  2. hi sarah thanks for sharing your opinion 🙂 i appreciate that.

    actually they’re going beyond blasting it for the technical definition of the features a blog has — because talking points as it is now is obviously not the final form of this new service. what they seem to be saying is that even when it already has comments, trackbacks, etc. as part of the mainstream media, shouldn’t be blogging or encouraging its readers to use our blog. not to mention saying we ripped it off.

    anyway, i interviewed those people with no thought of gain or of stealing whoever’s idea. i just wanted more readers to know about what they’re doing but if that’s how they feel, then no one’s forcing them to be interviewed or to use talking points. napasama pa ang pag-feature ko sa mga tao, hehe


  3. I have nothing against your use of the blogging format. In fact, I encourage its use and exploration. It’s a new column, a test platform that may evolve into something bigger perhaps in the future and accomplish your goals in starting it. I just wish that you could have exercised a little bit more blogging etiquette and linked your inspiration, Andrew Sullivan. You keep a blog yourself, so you most probably know about weblogging history. Although present bloggers have made deviations to the original concept, the element of linkage is strictly practiced except by those too lazy to type .

    As for some Pinoy bloggers getting peeved about not getting any credit, well, maybe a line or two about how Pinoys have started their own blogging community wouldn’t hurt.

    I’m looking forward to any developments Talking Points may have in the future.

    —>tala’s 1 zeny

  4. thanks tala, for being willing to give us a chance. as you said, this is something new for us, so it will take time to roll out the different features.

    i visited your blog and i know you raised a lot of points. i’m glad you’re giving suggestions and we’ll keep them in mind, just as continues to evolve to address the needs of readers.

    take care!

  5. Woo! Nice one, Joey. Looks like this is an interesting can of worms you opened.

    My 2 centavos: I figure everyone has points to their side on this issue. But I also figure that this shouldn’t be generating that much heat. It’s a non-issue, methinks.

    (Lemme think about it better and post a more-focused reply on my blog…)

  6. bloghopping…

    in my humble opinion, i think Talking Points might be better off as either a

    1. another with lots of threads and different subjects, rather than a blog, especially if its the readers are the ones voicing out opinions and if you want to make it a good avenue for debating


    2. A blogging gateway like umm… Pinoyblog that will feature blogs of people relating to a certain topic. (eg. All active posts featuring the Presidential Debate)

    The blog is pretty much meant for individuals and NOT for corporate use mainly because internet security is just too lousy. Anyone can see whats inside and either distort the info coming in or misconstrue the info coming out. (one reason the Catholic church doesnt have a blog, but why there are some priests who do)

    For a paper like Inquirer to host a “blog” like this, I doubt they’ll reduce the level of censorship. This will lead to the “blog” being less spontaneous as you originally planned.

    anyway… just my two cents 🙂

  7. hehe yup banzai, call me naive but i never expected to be, in effect, accused of stealing ideas.

    that will teach me to go out of my way to feature internet users and projects that usually don’t get covered by mainstream media — next time, i’ll concentrate on featuring the ibms and hps of the world like everybody else, hahaha, pa-junketin pa ako 🙂 but i’ve done that already when i had to as a reporter hehe

  8. What is a blog?


    1. “A personal Web site that provides updated headlines and news articles of other sites that are of interest to the user, also may include journal entries, commentaries and recommendations compiled by the user; also written web log, Weblog; also called blog”

    2. n : a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies [syn: web log]

    From Wikipedia:

    “A weblog, or simply a blog, is a web application which contains periodic, reverse chronologically ordered posts on a common webpage. Such a Web site would typically be accessible to any Internet user.”

    There’s no clear-cut definition of what exactly a blog is: for some people, it’s an online diary; for others, it’s a system where a user posts and other people reply to those posts. Some people (like Jason Clacanis) think that true blogs should have an open commenting system: does this make Gawker or BoingBoing or Instapundit less of a blog? That’s up to the reader to decide.

    Other bloggers, such as Seth Godin, intentionally turn comments off and replies only to people who send him email. Do I wish that he turn comments on? Yes. Is he any less of a blogger because of this? That’s not for me to decide.

    Anyway, the problem seems to be (from what I’ve read) that some people have taken offense of’s format of a blog. And they’ve taken it to mean that big media is invading on their space, coming up with its own rules on what a blog should be.

    I’m not offended by what Talking Points is trying to do. Sure, I don’t really care for the topic, which means that I won’t be participating in it. Do I also wish that it has a commenting system instead of email responses? Yes. But that doesn’t make it any less of a blog to me.

    I would get mad at Joey if he only posted comments from readers that supported a certain point of view. But if he posted answers from all viewpoints, I have no problem with it. If he posts everyone’s email, even better!

    That’s my Php0.02. A little dialogue can go a long way, people.

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  10. well well it’s really getting serious! But please co-pinoys, lighten up..we are just talking “blogs” here! I myself was surprised when Talking points generated so much negative reactions from the “other” Pinoy-blogging community. Although I would say Talking Points’ format is a little bit different from a typical blog format I get to know (i’m not an expert on defining what blog is), I still consider it as such. As long as I get to post what I want to say, then that’s blogging to me. However, some people out there claimed their blog site are open and you are free to post whatever, how come I get banned from such site? Because I dare questioned some of their ideas, that’s why! One thing I notice is that some blog sites, one in particular, (but I’m not going to mention the name) has HER own circle of bloggers. I noticed some bias that I’d rather watch from the sideline or not be part of it at all. SHE banned me from her site because I said what I felt at that time. oh well…can we just all get along? ang pinoy nga naman!

    Just keep doing what you’d like to do Joey. You’ve got your own style, whether they like it or not! I am just here watching from the sidelines, I’m better off! Good Luck!

  11. Interesting!

    Yeah, it is and it gave me an idea to post a new one on my blog. Care to read it? But please a little caveat: You snooze, you lose! haha.

    I frankly like their new medium which they call blog instead of crystal ball.
    I sent my piece and voila, except for a missing “u” (Canadian way of spelling), I found it in one piece – it survived. I think they picked it to be published because there is some educational content to it I think, apart from my own opinion; i.e., Electoral College. I was gonna sound off in reply to another contributors comment about “the votes, don’t count.” Of course it does, and the votes determine whether the candidate got One electoral vote in a particular state.

    That’s all.


    P.S.: I like the dialog part. Yeah, why not? Don’t overblow the picture. Talk it over first amongst yourselves. Meanwhile, leave it there if that’s where I could sound off much better. You hear? haha

  12. hi gabby thanks p’re! that was a very insightful comment. thanks anonymous 🙂 thanks andre 🙂

  13. thanks solo flite! i appreciate your suggestions. also left a comment on your blog.


  14. I normally stay out of conversations like this one but I just want to point out something. I’ve been teaching creative writing for over ten years now, and there is nothing new under the sun. I find the violent reactions a bit hilarious because far worse (and REAL) violations are taking place in popular media…and what do these people have to say? Can’t people see that when Joey decided to push blogs in INQ7, he was trying to elevate it to a level of respect from the mainstream? These violent reactions just smack of “kami-kami lang!” Or, if you want a graphic representation, think of the dog who was guarding the grapes in that old fable. He couldn’t eat them, and he certainly didn’t want them, but he decided to “protect” them because he “found” them first. This mentality is what caused witch hunts in the past, and I am disappointed that “blog communities” should view Joey’s actions that way instead of seeing it as an opportunity.

    I find it even funnier that these same people sometimes copy from other authors in their blogs, yet refuse to acknowledge the source/s. Clear-cut case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    These people are only brave in cyberspace; once confronted in person, they can’t do squat. So Joey, you know who I am, but to those people, have fun trying to figure out who I am. Hanggang cyberattack lang naman kayo e.

  15. thanks c. and yup i know who you are hehe 🙂


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  17. Just scanning through the post, I’ve arleady formed my strong opinon – who the hell said that “Blogging” should only be for the marginalized and the idea was “stolen?! WTF? STOLEN from the public? from the masses? from “them”? Niether the technology nor the idea belongs to ANYBODY–it’s public domain. It’s an aggregator for chrissake that was developed to display…surprise, surprise–news. It’s only been a recent development that individuals co-opted it for their personal use, as a tool/means of alternative communication to sidestep mainstream publication and put their own views to public display because they couldn’t be bothered to format with html.

    If they did more reasearch, they’d find major corporations (and news organizations) have been using the technology in various formats (still a log of some sort), for inter-organization communication as well as for public realeases. It is not just limited to “individuals” or “groups” who so high and mightly think they invented whatever a “true blog” signifies.

  18. misunderstanding lang ang issue dito, pare ko. wala namn talagang gulo. peace, everyone! =)

  19. hi andre, pau, dr. emer, thanks for your comments and weighing in with your opinions. i appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts, whichever position you’re taking hehe 🙂

    because at the end of the day, we all want more people to benefit from blogging as a tool, just as the internet has changed the way we work and play.


  20. ooooooops; sorry, i accidentally deleted my earlier comment. an angel saved it for me, and i’m “re-replying.”


  21. i agree. joey is pushing the envelope and the value for your words,and
    raising the bar one notch too, to heights that have never been reached

    blame it on joey to take “blogging” to the mainstream where,
    collectively, blogs about their opinion(s) on one particular subject
    can be read by a wider audience. sure it can be read just as well but
    the reader has to blog-hop from one blogsite to another.

    putting the collective and differing thoughts and opinions in one
    place such as the Talking Points is like shopping under one roof, if
    you will.

    yeah, blame it on joey who took it upon himself to make a difference.
    yeah, making a difference in a way different from others who wants to
    perpetuate a confined, cliquesh environment is contrary to Marshall
    McLuhan’s dream of a global village. don’t shrink the wrapper, expand
    it instead, so people don’t choke.

    i need a fresh air, gotta exit for now. 🙂

    Posted by andre faura to the babel machine at 10/15/2004 12:24:43 AM

  22. Just got by What now CA t? and needs to react here since you are the root of evil.

    We did not determine what blogging is.

    We, meaning them, as gods? Hello?! How subtle can gods assign their roles in a free public domain? I mean is PinoyBlog the main venue for pinoy bloggers? If so, can there be an alternative to alternatives, which should later beg the question: where did the gods come from?

    The nature and uses of blogs have been defined.

    By whom? Unless this phenomenon is largely and extensively understood, a blogger whose work will not even pass the scrutiny of a refereed journal cannot claim full authority to how a blog is defined.

    Bloggers can be commenters but commenters
    may not necessarily be bloggers.

    Orange pickers can eat apples, and apple pickers may not necessarily eat orange?

    Go back and re-learn logic 101. The fallacy of convenient reasoning.

    To both gods and inq.7, go find your own “alternative” realms in the internet highway. you both remind us of george orwell’s animal farm. pareho-pareho kayong nagbababuyan sa parehong bakuran. but hey, welcome to the blogger’s world.

  23. I guess we can take this debate from the perspective of the classic dichotomy between establishment and anti-establishment (or non-establishment), whereas in this case Talking Points represents the established media’s foray into a non-establishment medium, which is blogging.However, it can also be argued that these days, blogging has come to be a challenge to the establishment, being a competent medium in itself.

    I guess Talking Points got the most of the sensitivities of the affected bloggers, and hence the strong reaction. But for me, it’s a good step towards the established media’s recognition that blogs are something to contend with, that big-time media recognizes that to survive in this ever-dynamic cyberworld, it needs to adopt and evolve.


    P.S., Joey, I cited your post in my blog here

  24. Don’t assume that the PinoyBloggers who commented on your precious “Talking Points” are a monolithic entity with one mind where your creation is concerned. Here’s my own take on this:

    a) “Talking Points” falls short of what one would expect the least of a “blogging” community to be.

    b) There would be little need of this hair-splitting on what a blog is or isn’t, had the prose that preceded it (here and here) not been so unctuously self-congratulatory.

    Topic “A” is not an indictment of “Talking Points” for all time; it only means that there’s still room (OK, a lot of room) for improvement, before it even comes close to the “blogging revolution” you proclaim it to be.

    Read my blog entries here and here, and do try to leave your ego at the door as you read them. I do not wish for “Talking Points” to fail; only that someday, it comes even a tiny bit close to what you and Inq7 have hyped it up to be.

  25. hi joey,
    I think what’s refreshing about blogs is that
    it represents the ideas of the writer and NOT
    the newspaper he writes for.
    in the interest of “full disclosure”, whose ideas
    does “talking points” represent?
    yours, Joey or INQ7.NET’s?
    This was the case of Andrew Sullivan.
    The newspaper column greatly restricted what he
    could say but he could say more in a blog.
    So in a way, even if subscribe to a very “strict”
    interpretation of what a blog is (what we may
    call the “letter” of the meaning), it falls way
    short of the “spirit” of what a blog should be.
    The blogosphere has enough space for everyone’s
    voice to be heard, your readers just need to know
    WHOSE voice exactly are they hearing.

  26. Well, I guess we can not expect a newspaper, or an online edition thereof, to lay its reputation on the line by allowing content to be published unedited. Unlike blogs, there are legal implications involved, and publishers are perhaps more inclined to take the risk-averse position and hence not turn portions of their publications into a more liberal, un-edited, un-censored state. =) My 0.02

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