You heard it right--politicspeak. And all it took for me to get into this mood was a quick scan of the top news and some slides on Yahoo and the daily paper. First was the debate on U.S. tax break for breastfeeding pumps which reminded me of our very own dispute on government funding of condom use and then we have boxer-congressman Manny Pacquiao touring the states to promote his next fight. Surely these are unrelated events. I can connect dots between blogging and politics if only to tell you about the not-so-fun aspects of blogging.
Happily, I can proclaim that I never got any stray gene from my parents (both sides) that has politics stamped on it. If I get any smarter, I’d work for the government as a lab rat than anything else. This pretty sums up my level of expertise on this matter. As for my level as blogger, you can tell from this post.
These are the areas where bloggers share a common ground with politicians:
People who go into blogging and politics have some sort of an agenda or a plan. We have heard candidates claim they have always wanted to serve their people or change the world (tried so damn hard to re-phrase this but in vain). And we know that someone is also set to fight for twisted, if not stupid, cause. If we are lucky, there are hero wannabes who will really become heroes.
It’s impossible to get into blogging without having a desire to do or be something for a group of people (a market, for biz blogs). Try surfing the web and you will find that there is one out there set up just for your kind whatever peculiar interest you have.
Do you think setting up a blog site is a breeze? Yes, if you want yours to look like a copy of one thousand other blogs. Customize you must to look unique enough to recognize your own site from over 100 million blogs on the Internet (tracked by Blogpulse). Like getting into politics, you have to make sure you are on the right hosting site at the right time (these sites often morph overnight), equipped with the appropriate resources and projecting the right image for your intended audience.
Entry into politics can be easy if your last name is also a street name, your family practically sleeps on government seats or is involved in big business. You also have to live, talk and walk like the person you claim to be. Are you surprised by the remorseless, regal bearing that some corrupt politicians maintain? They have convinced even themselves that they are good civil servants. Nobody can convince them otherwise.
In blogging, “post it and they will come” does not apply. You need to post as often as you can, tell the web world about it via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, and a helluva lot of social media. You think that is enough? You have to “ping” the search engines too. Tell them “Hey, look I have a new post as hot as pancakes. Smell me, please.” (Or technically, “come crawling to me”).
It doesn't end there. You must also tour other blogs. If you’re desperate, comment on as many popular sites as possible and leave your URL like bread crumbs leading to your blog. On that note, I would like to think I am not desperate yet because I keep going back to the same blogs whose page rank on Google I never bothered to check.
In politics, visibility means appearances in the papers as well as radio and TV stations. A politician must be a focused and organized social animal who must get invited to parties, forums and balls. Do I also need to say they should definitely have pictures with babies? Endorsements are also vital if you want to be known far and wide.
Keywords are crucial for success. Bloggers literally need to master using keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) and page ranking. Politicians have to know the keywords for success (example: "greater good", "public welfare," etc) and avoid the keywords for failure unless they are talking about their worthy opponents.
I’ve always felt blog-envy for travel sites with breathtaking images that show authors vacationing. You can tell by the absence of ads that these people are writing because they are generous enough to give you the vicarious excitement you need after toiling long hours on the computer. Other bloggers, however, need sponsors (aka advertisers) to continue writing. This is done through contextual, text link and impression-based advertising as well as affiliate programs. On the other hand, some brands or businesses need writers to continue selling. Don't be surprised to see products wrapped in words that are formed into sentences.
Obviously, anybody who is running for a seat in the government needs sponsors. Will the donors soon become the beneficiaries of political favors? Maybe. Maybe not. I remember my father's reply to some people who teased him about running for a local position that he can’t get enough money to feed seven children and a wife so he has no business in politics. Considering my father’s political sentiments (ideological at best), I thought he won’t find any sponsors other than family and closest friends.
Readers and voters are a curious mix of people. Those who keep coming back to check what you are up to are the followers. They may not agree with everything that you write about but they like to read you on a fairly regular basis. Some leave comments (as short as "Nice post!" or as long as a mini post) and some don't leave anything at all but they click "Like" or send your post to friends.
Ditto for voters or supporters. Some campaign while others would rather not be seen with you but you have their loyalty. You can also have silent supporters who would not even whisper your name to their friends.
So what’s the point?
I just had to explore the blogging-politics analogy to see some sense in what I am doing. Like or not, blogs are not just words formed into sentences to fill out a blog page with no long story or purpose behind it. I’ve been reading (not necessarily following) a lot of blogs lately and I’ve come across some that modestly declare they are there to rant or give a silly account of what they have done that day. Who gives the shit about these people, right? But readers will be surprised to find that there are many bloggers who have the same agenda as theirs even if it is simply surviving a day of baby goo, poo and other bobos.
Looking at a politician on TV trying to make a case for an unpopular view, I realized that no matter who a blogger is or what he is up to there has to be somebody out there that he represents. At the very least, a blogger could either be harping or singing hosannahs about what it is like to be you.