Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Take Pride in Your Blog

It's now a month since Mas Selamat aka Gold Safe broke out from prison and he's happily still at large. Netizens are continuing to crack jokes about the Ministry of Home Affair's inept handling of his escape and the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Wong Kan Seng did not dissapoint the cynics by declaring that the hunt would become more - "Targeted." While I would not want to see the Ministry stop looking for him, I think the Minister should sack his PR communications team for encouraging him to put his foot in his mouth at every available public forum. Political double-speak has finally come of age in Singapore and it has taken a short-arsed mechanic to demonstrate that little fact.

But let's leave Mas in wherever he is at the moment. Let us leave the Minister with his foot in his mouth (He has a bright future in the circus) and concentrate on something far more exciting, the fact that as part of the blogging community, we are onto something rather large. I'm currently reading a book, part of a book review I'm going, on how the Internet is set to change the face of marketing and public relations.

Personally, I've always felt that blogs could be turned into a lucrative tool. It's actually one of the reasons why I've started this blog (as well as to leave sarcastic comments on my Financial Planner's Blog). But like the rest of the marketing communications community, I remain clueless about how to make a penny out of this little blog and even in my most skint state...I'm still blogging in the hope that one day I'll crack the code.

I guess one of the reasons why blogs have failed to become the goldmine they're made out to be is the fact that nobody seems to treat blogs as a serious medium. I think most of us just see them as a tool to ramble on about our daily lives. Somehow, we don't understand the value of our ramblings and as a result we fail to convince marketeers that we are special. Anyway, Singapore remains the land where the basic print media rules OK. Journalist unlike bloggers don't ramble and so, "Credible People" read newspapers and credible marketeers put money with credible mediums.

So, there it is, you're just rambling if you right on a blog but criticising or fawning if you get published in a newspaper? The government seems to have settled into this conclusion - I vaguely remember, Minister Lee Boon Yang, Minister of Information, Communications and the Arts said something to that effect when Singapore's most comical blogger - Mr Brown was suspended from his work at Today. - Brown (who is unBrown and very Chinese) in real life should have just stuck to making comments on his very widely read blog. Of course, it's a little different when you start inciting racial hatred ........just ask the "Racist Bloggers" who got themselves sentenced to spend time with the cream of the Malay Community after they told billions in cyberspace they'd do the Malay Community what Hitler did to the Jews.

But according to this book, we're not looking at our blogs correctly. We're thinking of blogs as a poorer cousin of the mainstream press, when the blog could in fact be the wealthier, healthier cousin. Imagine if we saw blogs as sources of opinoins - each blog representing an arsehole (or several as the case may be) with a different opinion.

Now, when you look at things this way.....the blog becomes more interesting. Suddenly, you realise that the blogs are not places to get facts but to discover opinions. People suddenly become "Honest" when they think nobody is watching. You're not going to tell people exactly what you think of them when you're have a discussion in a "Public"forum like the mainstream media. This is especially true in Singapore where "Editors" are trained to practice "Responsible Journalism" - the kind that acts as a social glue and criminalises laughing at politicians, even when they're hillarious.

Ironically, the PAP understands this. One of the most critical threads on anything to the PAP can be found at the Young PAP website. Guys with names like "Matilah Singapura" (Malay pun on the Singapore Anthem - for non Singaporean readers) describe the performance of Singapore's minsiters in terms I wouldn't describe my faourite One-Legged Albanian Dwarf Whore.

So, there you have it. People don't read blogs for facts. They don't search for information. They look for opinions. They look for opinions like they're own or a reason to confirm their opinions. Word-of-Mouth opinions are formed on blogs and spread like wildfire.

I think there are things I could do with the blog. I hope the rest of you reading my ramblings will take part in events on this blog if I get round to organising them.....It may be fun.

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