Live Blogging: Forum on Political Blogging and Participation

We’re live blogging from Cafe Demitasse where we are holding the Forum on “The Filipino Blogosphere: Political Expression, Communication, and Participation.” Our speakers are:

  • Maria Jose, Political Blogger
  • Mary Grace P. Mirandilla-Santos, Lead Investigator of “A-List Filipino Political Bloggers and their Blog Readers: Who They Are, Why They Write/Read Blogs, and How they Perceive and Participate in Politics”
  • Reactor: Atty. Angela Librado – Trinidad

Live blogging for us today is Alma Ritchel Merin.

Introduction and First Speaker: Ria Jose

*Topic: Experiences and Lessons in Political Blogging and Participation by Ria Jose

– her first blog post was actually Tagalog
– first topics: brain drain, pangingibang-bansa, divorce and etc..

– blogging about politics has grown exponentially in just six years. By 2010, Philippines Blogging Election has already generated 59,300,000 results from Google.
– she got a copy of “Hello Garci” tape which was uploaded by Andrew dela Serna on her blog. This topic has become so popular on her blog.
– she also blogged about Raul Roco, where she really cried when he died
– 2008, she attended iBlog and met Manolo Quezon Jr.
– Impeachment Intervention
– supported “No to Con Ass”
– she was one of the bloggers who made the official position paper for Broadband Capping in the Philippines.

*Political Blogging
-can bring light to a little known issue or topic, can provide a voice to the underrepresented, can provide a venue for discussion in order to form an opinion, can bridge the gap between academics and the masses, can bridge the gap between a public servant and his constituents, can provide concer
> Ria Jose encourages everybody to use the potential of internet not just to earn, download movies but also to inform like promoting tourism, environmental issues

*2nd Speaker: Mary Grace Mirandilla-Santos

Topic: A-List Filipino Political Bloggers and their Blog Readers: Who They Are, Why They Write/Read Blogs and How they Perceive and Participate in Politics
– she was given funding support by SIRCA. She chose the impact of internet for her topics.
– A-list (popular and established bloggers).

a. Armchair Revolutionaries?
– Jim Paredes decribed netizens as armchair revolutionaries. Paredes emphasized the importance of physical presence in a number of issues
b. Slacktivism?
c. Internet, Blogging and Politics
-through the internet, there can be an electronic public
– blogosphere is like a wildfire
d. Curious Connections
– blogs
– political participation
– there are actors and motivators

What she find out:
A-list Filipino political bloggers

Political Blog readers
– she conducted an Online Survey, interviewed Political Bloggers, Journalists, Academics
> Majority of A-list bloggers are Male, 25-34 y/o, Metro Manila based; college-educated, employed, high-income, veteran internet users (7yrs and above); broadband at home and work
– they are blogging for 2-4 years, 1-2hrs/day, 3-5 days/week; all blogs allow comments, almost all have links to other political blogs, read more than 10 blogs

Why did they start to blog about Politics?
1st reason: to keep track of their thoughts (basically sort of reflection)
2nd reason: inform people on most relevant info, inform people on most recent info (fall on the same spot)
3rd season: help society
least reason: money

Why do they continue to blog?
1st motivator: keep track of thoughts (self reflection)
2nd motivator: formulate new ideas
3rd motivator: inform people on most relevant info
4th motivator: serve as political watchdog
5th motivator: help society
least motivator: Make Money

How Blogs promote participation:
– announce an event (express participation)
– raise money and political campaign (still on the lowest ranking)

Encourage readers to participate offline
– Vote, attend a peaceful demonstration (conventional and legitimate)
– sign a petition, join a protest rally (unconventional but legitimate)

Encourage readers to participate online
– visit other blogs, other websites, write/send comments on blog (neutral, conflict-free networking)
– join an online cause, sign an online petition (political stand, support mobilization)

Blogger Political Activities Before and After
– no significant different
– some activities are time-specific such as voting

After blogging, although respondents feel much more informed about political issues, but only somewhat sure about their influence on politics.

> Blogger and Blog Readers
– more female readers, more readers outside Manila

Why readers visit political blogs?
– Main reason: to be updated (be informed)

Readers political activities (before and after)
– voting

Reader’s Political Cynicism
– readers are highly cynical associated with – competence of candidates,

Political Efficacy
– readers are moderately efficacious: Items, having a say about what the government does, ways to have a say other than voting, understanding what is going on in politics, government

Observations: “Politics” of Political Blogging
– there is politics in political blogging itself
– aggressiveness and violence in online debates
– stressful especially for women.
– “Men won’t accept defeat” – accdg to top female blogger

>Bloggers of the same opinion stick together
– Polarization – blogs tend to invite, nurture a following from like-minded individuals who agree with bloggers view

> Political Blogs – small audience but can be influential when: blog becomes viral, blog is picked up by mainstream media, gets attention of influential people and “gate keepers”

>Blogging aids in creating public consciousness
– highest popularity in PCIJ blog: Hello Garci and F3

>Convergence or complementation of different media
– necessary to effectively shape public opinion (like twitter and other social media sites)
– complemented by face to face mobilization

> Blogging is only one form of participation
> Blogging alone declining; convergence with FB and Twitter.

– Blogging: low-cost, non-hierarchial, decentralized (blogs criticized against journalistic standards: accuracy and accountability)
– in traditional journalism, stories goes through editors, publisher has legal accountability
– in blogs, blogger functions as writer, editor  and publisher
– foregone editorial filter makes blogger soley responsible for what she or he writes

> Journalist Blogging (J-blogging)
– journalist as source of political information thru blogs

What did we find out?
– A-list Filipino political bloggers and their readers are: majority young males, have resources, located in country’s political capital
– Filipinos start to blog to keep tract of thoughts and inform others;continue to formulate new ideas
– Credibility is currency in the blogosphere
– Most engage in expressive, conventional and legitimate forms of participation

>>The more you know of something, the more you become critical. You just don’t accept things in face value.

Sidelined Issues
– Disengagement from online political discussion (bickering and personal attacks)
– Wrong info or smear campaigns can spread like wildfire thru blogs (accuracy sacrificed for quick access to controversial information)
– Censoring blogs? (high-profile case of bloggers sued in court by private individuals and government official, How to impose code of ethics to bloggers?)

Future Research:
– how is new media influencing in political blogging (FB, Twitter)
– content analysis of blogs and comments thread
– new governance approcah – PNoy replying directly o netizen’s note on FB

*Reactor: Angela Librado – Trinidad

– Atty Angging Librado commented on Ria’s political blog. It was about local development plan for children.
– she sees Politics as essential thing for decision making. It could be individual politics (decide on daily matters etc)
– Political blogging? Influence people to a particular mindset, effective way to reach-out to people.
> your thoughts will not be edited, it is raw.

> if the concern is credibility, we can turn it to critics also because traditional media is into commercialization. When you are in traditional, there are issues where your articles are sold. To some extent, sacrificing content for profit.

> Traditional Media – they lose sight of daily struggles of people.

> Political blogging should be encouraged.

> A challenge: give more access to women for Political Blogging.

> Mrs. Angela Librado- Trinidad hopes to see more political bloggers in Davao.




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