03 April 2007

Tearing down the barriers to blogging

A FIRESTORM of sorts erupted in the aftermath of the first-ever Philippine Blog Awards, which Benito blogged about here and here. I don't know what triggered it, but Abe Olandres, the country's most popular blogger, came up with a quite defensive take on blogging, pronouncing that it is a privilege, not a right.

The money quote:

It is not for everybody. It is only for those who have internet access. It is only for those who have enough time on their hands. It is only for those who have something to write or say.
I don't know with you, but I will have to disagree with Yuga here, and agree with Benito -- for a slightly different reason.

Yes, the lack of internet access, time and facility for language are formidable barriers to blogging today. But their existence does not make blogging less of a right that every citizen should have the freedom to enjoy -- or decide not to enjoy at all.

In the same manner that simply because the Philippine blogging community today is a mostly elitist segment of society at large should deter ordinary citizens from wanting their voice to be heard and demanding their own seat on the table -- in cyberspace. To the contrary, it is our challenge to tear down these barriers, or at least die trying.

I am not sure if I will see it in my generation, but wouldn't it be nice, for instance, to see the school children in Naga's public schools blogging because it is how their English and Filipino compositions are to be graded, not through that antiquated theme book anymore?

In the same vein, the fact that decent education today remains inaccessible to a significant segment of the Philippine population -- particularly the poor, the constitutional provision notwithstanding -- does not make it less of a right and more of a privilege.

The day we begin to believe that it is so is the day we admit that aspiring for the good, old "
Liberté, égalité, fraternité!" is pointless, and that our modern Louis XVIs and Marie Antoinettes have the divine right to rule as kings.


Anonymous said...


Shouldn't you be on vacation? ;-)

On topic: yeah, I think Abe made it worse in bringing about that privilege aspect. His take on that is wrong, and he only loosened his ground in an earnest attempt to apologize.

The book of Job is recalled, somehow, but I haven't the patience to dissect.

- Bulletproofvest

liz said...

hello, whew! those controversies are getting hot hot..hey, am from naga too! finished studies there, then lipat n lang manila to work :)

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Benito: Ordinary mortals cannot afford to have that vacation just yet. Two more days...:)

Hi Liz: Thanks for dropping by. Why do I get the feeling you are related to the Buenaflors behind Biggs and Peaberry? I'm adding you to my Bikol blogroll, if you don't mind.

liz said...

sure, ill link u too! i miss naga! amm, wish ko lang ako may ari ng Biggs! haha..miss ko na yung pork kebabs dun! ahm, what's peaberry?

Arbet said...

I agree with you. If we look at blogging as an extension of speech, then blogging is a right as guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

Bloggers should unite to tear down the barriers to blogging.

Filipinayzd said...

Talking about blogging strategy. Kumusta ang hits, nila?

'Lang hiya, nalaman ko yang PBA (Philippine Blog Awards not Philippine Basketball Association o "bolahan") [no pun intended] tapos na!

mschumey07 said...

How can we inspire more to blog if we make a class war out of it? Any kind of self expression is free speech whether through blogging or going out in the streets. Blogging is a right.

Btw, Marichu Lambino has been using her blog for her class's discussions. Now that's putting blogging to good use.

Maryanne Moll said...

I think blogging is available to everyone, because the facilities are so easy to use, and they are for free, both for bloggers and blog-readers. However, it's not so accessible to everyone, because it needs a computer, internet connectivity, and the necessary knowledge to navigate the web.

The Right vs. Privilege debate is pretty much irrelevant.

dave (",) said...

I guess everyone has the right to blog, no matter how j0loGzZz, EMO, personal, N.S.F.W. or b-o-r-i-n-g the posts they churn out. Just let the search engines and other blog tools sort out the "better" ones.

It also came to my mind that if ever I become a teacher, I would like my students to post their journal entries in a blog, and I'll just email them my comments and grammatical corrections. However, I also see issues of privacy and connectivity cropping up with that practice.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Hi all: Thanks for your comments. You may also want to check out Dom's take on the issue.