National Bloggers What?

Do we need a national bloggers association? There has been so much talk about this that I feel the need to throw in my own two cents. But instead of raising every possible reason to make it seem like an unnecessary undertaking, I’ll just quote what has already been said by fellow bloggers. I’ll just add a few lines of my thoughts.

I firmly believe that the people behind the idea have every right to start a group, but without trying to sound like a wholesale representative of all bloggers. Juned’s take puts it nicely:

… the organization should not aim to encompass the whole community. This would be impossible. The free spirit of blogging will not allow this, Only those willing and who agrees with the goals of the organization.

Blogie compares the situation to the ACLU, but it begs the question—why not build exactly something like the ACLU instead, not only specific to bloggers, and protects the liberties we all should fight for?

My answer: Yes, because I would like there to be an entity that would be able to stand in behalf of bloggers in times of necessity. Someone raised a thoughtful analogy, that the association could be formed along the lines of the ACLU — American Civil Liberties Union. To quote their website, they are a “national organization advocating individual rights, by litigating, legislating, and educating the public on a broad array of issues affecting individuals…”

The proposed “NBA” has within its manifesto a healthy list of goals it intends to promote and protect. Unfortunately, it involves ethics, standards, business, and politics—things that hardly stand together in harmony. Pushing business interest while at the same time upholding citizen journalism would surely be a tough juggling act. Only in extreme cases, as Sonny explains, is a unionized group truly necessary:

Being organized is an employee issue, though it is guaranteed by the constitution, capitalists avoids it. But capitalists need not lift a finger to keep the employees from forming a union because employees themselves are divided. Except in situations where there is gross abuse and manipulation of employee’s rights, majority of employees would prefer to remain unorganized. As an individual, they can directly present their agenda to management, if unionized, other interests come in.

And because their manifesto has a strong emphasis on the “professional” side of blogging, it fails to address the other niches of blogging itself. At the very least, the “NBA” is effectively useless for interests that’s beyond professional blogging. Regnard suggests that the group should just stick to the type of blogger it appears to take interest in.

This group should not pursue bloggers who are blogging as a hobby and as a means of expression. And clearly, the group should present itself as a representative of the professional bloggers, not all bloggers in general. Making such a claim would be downright wrong.

There is some irony to what this organization intends to do. If you read the manifesto’s author’s blog, though he proclaims to keep the idea open to a lot of people, the tone is rather vindictive and seems to antagonize those not comfortable with his ideas.

No organization, local or national, should dictate what bloggers should or should not do. I hope Miss Jose’s post is not in any way dissuading bloggers from Visayas and Mindanao from exercising their individual rights or limiting their prerogatives.

Though Jayvee’s point of view is candidly straightforward, it is what it is. If I were to say it myself, I’d compare blogging to the act of talking. We build organizations that focus on talking about sports, about politics, about other specific ideas. But one that’s built to promote talking and what you should say and how you say it—that’s kinda like 1972, right?

Forming a National Blogger’s Association is like trying to form an association that promotes breathing. Everybody loves to breathe. We all need to breathe. We all know the importance of breathing, but we don’t go around building a manifesto around it. Yeah we have the Clean Air Act and the whole marathon thing that’s somewhat uso. These don’t promote breathing per se, but they do so indirectly. The act of blogging by itself is promoting blogging.

Unfortunately, good intentions may or may not be beneficial to all. I respect the group’s right just as our Constitution protects it, but I still fear the possibility of misrepresentation and misguided collective wisdom.

I’ll be the last person to tell any blogger in the Philippines not to participate in an association of their choice, or to form one. Now I may not agree with the idea of a National Bloggers’ Association, but Janette Toral and Tonyo – or anyone else for that matter – are free to do that. I am absolutely sure that those who support this cause have good intentions. Though I’m not going to join one, or create one of my own, at the end of the day my blog – my voice, my writing, my opinions – will be represented by this association, should it be formed.

Sometimes, the best way to be of service to others is to do no action. Unless you’re providing value or igniting positive change with your cause, stick to what you do best—just keep on blogging.

Each person has his own set of beliefs and values. In the past 5 years everyone in the blogosphere thinks they are right even when others think they are wrong, but we end up doing anything we want anyway. Following the 10 Commandments is hard enough, maybe we should just all follow it and the rest will fall into place.

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