To be honest I though this issue would not be tackled again but it has and it has provided an opportunity to look back, look now and look at the future of digital media — or media created on and in the digital space we call the Internet and Social Media. I am a blogger; a digital media scholar of sorts; a digital community organizer; a consultant on digital media, online-reputation management and communication; and I teach and discuss digital technology and social media. In this latest debate about accreditation and inviting bloggers I would like us to tackle the following:
First, What is a blogger and what is a netizen?
Second, What differentiates a journalist from a blogger and a netizen?
Third, What is the impact of digital technology on media, public discourse and democracy?
THE BLOGGER AND THE NETIZEN
The advent of Internet and its related technology brought four things important to us once we were connected. First, It was easier to create content through it’s publishing platforms. Second, It was easier to share and distribute this content through out the connected world. Third, Interaction and commenting via the publishing platforms was almost instant. Fourth, In certain cases it was possible and even easy to take content and modify it. In other words the Internet, digital technology eventually made it easier for us to create, share, comment and change content. Self-publishing was made easier if you were connected online. This resulted in an explosion of content and the continuing process of classifying, tagging and fetching content for Internet users.
One of the first set of digital makers or self-publishers were the bloggers. Self-hosted blogging platforms and free blog farms churned out and shared content. In the Philippines soon after bloggers were being invited to press conferences, events and media engagements. Unsurprisingly, this was seen initially in the technology and telecommunication industry. Bloggers were being engaged and the practice soon spread to the other sectors and eventually politics. Along way the blogging community began to pick up the good and bad habits of media practitioners that have gone before them. The internal reaction of bloggers to these challenges were varied. There were those who kept their professionalism by adapting individual codes of conduct and principles. There were those who made efforts to better themselves by learning. There were those who banded together formally and informally because they believed in the blogging philosophy adapted by the group — examples of this include the Davao Bloggers, the Cebu Bloggers Society, the SocSaGen Bloggers, Bloggers Kapihan and Blog Watch. And there was even the Philippine Blog Awards that recognized excellence within blogging community.
One thing constant with digital technology and social media platforms is change. Through the years the technology and platform has diversified. Today it is not only easier but there are a vast number of ways to create content , share content, change content and interact with content. Twitter has brought to forth microblogging, youtube has allowed us to post videos, Instagram has made it easy to share photos, instant messaging apps have made communication and discussion easy; And Facebook has allowed us do a 100 and one things online. Today everything is more inclusive it is the time of Netizen or the Netizen. It one idea streams of science and technology — To make life easier. You have the blogger known as The Jester In Exile on twitter tweeting and facebooking about the personal, the social, the cultural, the technological and of course the political on twitter and of the more famous blogger in the Philippines Manolo Quezon actively facebooking and twittering as well.
Perhaps to sum it up all bloggers are netizens but not all netizens are bloggers. It is a choice of
weapons platforms…All Filipino citizens who can connect to the Internet; who use digital technology to create content; Who publish content; And who share and interact online is a netizen. It is not limited to a specific platform.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOURNALISTS, BLOGGERS AND NETIZENS
First, A journalist — unless he or she is a freelance journalist — has the resources and backing of their media company while a blogger or a netizen relies on their own funds.
Second, A journalist is assigned to an event or beat while a blogger or a netizen creates on what happens in front of them and what picks up their interest.
It is quite clear that bloggers and netizens cannot fully cover news on the ground. However, a blogger and a netizen has the advantage when it comes to their locality and area of expertise, because they are respectively more familiar with the location and well-versed on the topic ; and that can add value to a story
Third, A journalist has an editor and boss while a blogger or a netizen is their own editor, photographer and publisher.
Bloggers and netizens have total ownership and responsibility on what they post/publish.
Fourth, A journalist is schooled in journalism while a blogger or a netizen is not. Aside from journalists who also blog and media organizations that use blogging platform. However, It should not be forgotten that bloggers and netizens are also educated: whether in the halls of tertiary education or what is called education of the common man. And because of this bloggers and netizens can bring in their expertise and forte to an issue, an event or a piece of news. Furthermore, There are bloggers and netizens who can discern right from wrong in the same way as there are those in the media who are the same.
Fifth, Blogs and posts from Netizen can be fake, biased, reckless and lead to conflict. This is true. However, A look at the history of journalism will reveal that is full of examples of fake, biased, reckless and war mongering. One of them affected the Philippines, It was the competition between the Hearst and Pulitzer newspapers — a form of sensationalist news crafting now associated with the term yellow journalism — that led to the Spanish American War and the colonization of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Edward Bernays used American newspapermen to create content that aided in the overthrow of Guatemalan government. In the recent US elections a number of newspaper and media organization have expressed support for and against Trump.
Sixth, Journalist deliver the news and sometimes writes commentary. A blogger and a netizen in most cases crafts opinion/a commentary. Although there are times when in the process of contextualization of a news story a journalist may fall into the pit biased reporting.
Seventh, A journalist, a blogger and a netizen can be tempted by corruption; acquire bad habits and also acquire good habits. No one group has a monopoly on goodness and badness,
A SHORT & ANNOTATED LIST OF BLOGS AND BLOGGERS
Here is a list of blogs, bloggers and netizens to show the diversity and richness of blogs. Most bloggers listed here are netizens.
Avel Manansala and GenSan Online. Accessed: February 14, 2017.
Blog and blogger comes from General Santos and focuses on the events in Gen Santos. The blog was developed to make local news available but also to give readers a more comprehensive view of Mindanao. It should also be noted that Avel as a netizen has been forefront in using digital enabling technologies and a digital community builder: He is a google map maker, a google business group manager and country ambassador.
Life with Ria, Accessed: February 14, 2017.
Blog and bloggers comes from Davao City. Ria’s blog is about her life and her views about local and national issues. Ria is one of the founders of the Davao Bloggers and one of the Filipino Bloggers who became an International Visitor Leadership Program Fellow of the US State Department.
Mozilla Philippines: Accessed: February 14, 2017.
This is an example of blog used by Mozilla Philippines. A number of organizations use blog platforms to publish their content. This Mozilla Blog is managed by Bob Reyes and active netizen on Twitter and Facebook.
Probably one of first and most prolific blogger was the late Cambodian King.
The Royal Blog
By JULIA WALLACE date published JANUARY 29, 2013 7:54 AM date updated
January 29, 2013 7:54 am
Media groups and organizations that use blog platforms.
PCIJ. Accessed: February 14, 2017.
CMFR Blog – In Media Res: Accessed: February 14, 2017.
THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA ON PUBLIC DISCOURSE AND DEMOCRACY
The Digital Technology, Internet and social media can be compared to the paper, ink and the printing press. It has allowed humanity to create, publish, distribute, change and interact with content. It has also speeded up the communication and discourse among us. Lastly and more importantly it has allowed through its use INCLUSIVITY in the discussion between citizens, groups and the government. If you look down history you can tie the spirit of bloggers and netizens to pamphleteers Thomas Paine and his pamphlet Common Sense and the snarky Witte Corneliszoon de With.
To look down on bloggers and netizens or to bar access would be similar to strangling the democratic exchange of ideas and democracy itself.
So for me it is not a question whether or not to invite bloggers and netizens to a press conferences, media events and media engagements but when. President Duterte has the right to invite anyone to cover the Presidency. First, It has been the practice here in the Philippines for years. Second, Other governments have been doing that — locally the US Embassy Manila and other embassies have interacted with bloggers and netizens. Third and most importance it is INCLUSIVITY inherent and manifest in a Democracy and the democratic exchange of ideas that is important for Nation Building.
Also I do not think bloggers or netizens want to be journalists. Bloggers are bloggers. Netizens are netizens. All bloggers are netizens but not all netizens are bloggers. And the spirit of democracy requires government be inclusive or in other words open to all.