A blog by any other name: A blogger by any other name

I am an old-school blogger and to contextualize it I mean I have been blogging for more or less seventeen years. I have witnessed and participated in events that later that would bring about the present cyber-landscape. Bloggers, brand ambassadors, advocates, apologists, pundits and digital influencers are terms and labels that have come and go as well. The recent hearing on fake news have come out with an issue as to who is and who is not a blogger. There are those who claim that this and that person is not a blogger because he does not a blog. This particular statement breaks a smile on my lips and things of droll things.

Why?

If you happen to search or google for a definition for the word blog you will uncover aa lot of things. First, You will encounter the phrase web log which contracted becomes blog. A blog then is defined as an online publishing platform where a person: a blogger can publish or post an article, photo, video or audio. Readers can then read, perhaps comment and share the said post.

So …

Can twitter be a blog?
It was originally called and still called a microblogging platform.
How about tumblr?
If you based it on the definition of a blog, Then yes.
Can Facebook be a blog?
Similar to tumblr you can also use it as a blog. The most obvious would be for FB pages.

So a blogger is a blogger on any other web and wed sharing publishing platforms.

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Unmasking an anonynomous network of political blogs

There has been an ongoing war in Philippines Cyberspace. I call it the War of Opinion and Propaganda. It is nothing new, A look at human history will show that it has been going on for several decades and centuries. You will find it whenever and wherever political, social, business and personal interests are at play. The Roman Octavian — who later became Augustus — was aware of this. This is why Mark Anthony and Cleopatra were painted before the Romans as villain. This is also the reason why the Tudors portrayed the last Plantagenet King — Richard III — as the blackest villain in English History. This is the reason why the Roman Catholic Church had the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith or Congregatio de Propaganda Fide for missionary and defense of the Roman Catholic Church. Yes propaganda.

All media should be constantly fair and true but it is not. Things that are less than ideal shows up. The very war that brought Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines was caused by the competition between newspaper tycoons Hearst and Pulitzer. This competition ultimately lead to the Spanish-American War and led to the phrase yellow journalism.— a form of journalism that practices sensationalism, exaggeration and scandal mongering for profit or other objectives.

Therefore, It would be wiser to treat all posts and articles on all media as an opinion and/or propaganda. This way one can test and verify it before believing it.

The advent of digital media and social media has enabled more people to write, post and share their opinion and propaganda. This is for the simple and constant reason that opinion and propaganda move people and move nations to act. I would like think that Jose Rizal and friends had this in mind when they launched the Propaganda Movement and brought about La Solidaridad, Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterrismo and other similar works.

Now in our present time where there are two opposing political forces in the Philippines — the Pro-Duterte (ProDU30) and the Anti-Duterte (AntiDU30) and the war has been going on since the presidential elections.

The story so far …

In the latest development some members of the ProDU30 forces — — has come up with a a thorough, compelling and convincing post that alleges that a number of AntiDU30-blogs and websites are tied to a certain webmaster who not only worked for the past government but was one of the most vocal supporter of the past government and its standard-bearer in the last election; and at present quite active on social media against the present government. The proof two: (i) the domain registry of the websites/blogs concerned ; And (ii) and one google adsense id number of said webmaster on those sites.

Take time to read these articles and posts:

The road to #CocoyGate. The Manila Times, Sasot, Sass Rogando. The Manila Times. Manila times.Net. ON OCTOBER 3, 2017. http://www.manilatimes.net/the-road-to-cocoygate/354227/ . Date accessed: October 3,2017.

#Cocoygate: Senator Sotto HERE’S THE GUY YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. THINKING PINOY, SASS ROGANDO SASOT & VOVPH . thinkingpinoy.net. http://www.thinkingpinoy.net/2017/09/cocoygate-senator-sotto-heres-guy-youre.html. DATE ACCESSED OCTOBER 3, 2017.

Now the discussion and debate after the revelation covered a number of things in the technical and data privacy sides. If ever this was to reach a court or a recognized body involved in the technical and data privacy side of things it will be interesting. However, A look at the political and social media side of things .

To this blogger it seems that the said webmaster is linked to all the mentioned AntiDU30 blogs in the expose. Nearly all of these blogs are anonymous. As to the nature of the said webmaster s link to these blogs one cannot be sure. There are a number of things possible like: (i) The webmaster could have just sold the domain names. (ii) The webmaster could be hosting the sites in his servers. (iii) The webmaster could have designed and written the code for the blogs. (iv) The webmaster could have created content for the sites. A number of possibilities — one could be true, two could be true or all could be true.

But what is interesting from a political and social media perspectives are the implications of this expose.

Is it a network of AntiDU3- blogs tied to the webmaster?
Is it a concentrated effort among friends and comrades?
Is their someone financing this endeavor?
Is there a puppet master behind this?
is there a financier behind this?

So many implications and questions.

Even if the answer behind those questions yes surely nothing wrong with that.

However.

The revelation though unmasked the network and propaganda machinery of a particular AntiDU30 group. The irony in this is that ever since the elections the AntiDU30 forces and other critics have been hitting the other side as an army of trolls and as part of a propaganda machine. What the expose reveals a similar network and a similar propaganda machine exist . It existence however circumstantial it may be is damning to those accusing and condemning their opponents of such tactics. It is like a preacher speaking against whoring being caught in coitus with a whore n a bordello.

A case of the kettle calling the pot black.

Now, Does the expose and subsequent exchanges on social media and possible Senate investigation a witch hunt? No. One must remember investigations were being called for by the critics and AntiDU30 forces long before the expose. One must also remember the distinction between a threat, a comment, a criticism and a heckle. The exchanges and posts right now arising are all par for the course.

Now, as for the content of those blogs. Whatever right one enjoys offline one should also enjoy online. The freedom of expression is thus respected. But rights are counterbalanced. Freedom of expression is tempered by statutes and laws like the libel law — which at its most basic you are responsible for what you have created.

The War of Opinion and Propaganda

What then can we make of this chapter of the War of Opinion and Propaganda?

First, It reminds us that it is all opinion and propaganda. Do I think opinion and propaganda is bad? No. The Propaganda Movement did not think so why should I. I think calling it opinion and propaganda is more honest.

Second, It is OK to participate and wage a war of opinion and propaganda as long as you are aware of the consequences and danger it brings. In other words be prepared to be questioned, ridiculed, heckled and sued for libel.

Third, Anonymity online is not a guaranteed protection. It is not also a license to be reckless and imprudent.

Fourth and last, In the realm of opinion and propaganda readers and viewers must be wary — so readers beware.

Caveat Lector

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Gina Lopez, open pit mining and water

I would say this Gina Lopez is a force of nature. You have to see it to believe it. I attended a session she had with a number of bloggers last week. Lopez had a number of things on her mind, Outside of government circles Lopez is battling moves to lift the ban on open pit mining. The ban was imposed by Lopez before she was rejected as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary by the Commission on Appointment,

It seems that the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) has asked the DENR to consider lifting the ban.

Lopez strongly expressed her concern over the impact of open pit mining in the Philippines and abroad. This included but not limited to the negative effect it has on the human community and its environment — the flora, fauna and including the other resources of the Philippines. At this point I remember the film the Big Short.

Big Short is a film about the world economic crisis that happened after the crash of the US real estate market. The film tackles the corruption and con (yes con) that led up to collapse and continued with the cover-up and bail-out. It also covered the impact it had on the people affected by the crash. But tempting as it is to draw similarities to the story and open pit mining there is something that stood out for me. In the end of the film, One the protagonist; the one who predicted the crash abandoned trading and speculating on all commodities except for one water.

The Philippines is a water rich country. As such in the coming years water is going to be one of the most precious resource for humanity. We cannot do without it and the practice of open pit mining which will have negative effects on our water tables will effectively poison our water resources.

Cursing the country in effect making a water rich nation into a water starved nation. And that my friends is my fear on what might happen.

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