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Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Take on "Why I Blog"

There have been many articles by different writers explaining why they blog. The Atlantic writer Andrew Sullivan in his article "Why I Blog" offers a perspective. He explains the origins of the world "blog" from "web log," and compares it to a ship's log. It chronicles one's journey. Blogging certainly is a journey, since over the course of time, a blogger refines not just their writing, but their views. It is logical for people to change views over time, as change is part of growth. But they may still adhere to basic life principles throughout a long time.

Sullivan sees blogging as a useful tool for journalism. This I can agree with. But some people seem to believe blogging is journalism, and thus should be subject to the constraints of that field. Here I depart: Blogging is not journalism. It is a personal record of one's thoughts, which may or may not be based on fact. Blogging can be used for journalism, as Sullivan says, but it is never true that a blogger is automatically a journalist.

I have always defined blogging as simply a diary made public. One maintains a diary of thoughts, opinions and discoveries, but it is free for the world to see. And a diary by nature is one's own views; no one instructs or dictates how one writes their own diary. By the same principle, no one can tell a blogger what he should write. Some have made arrangements with companies to blog positively about their products, but I see this as a sort of sellout. "Real" blogging in my view should be purely personal. I have sometimes been that if you blog, you should make money. But blogging was never intended for that at first.

Blogging is simply making one's own website simplified, thanks to provider-provided (yeah, I know that sounds funny) tools. Instead of needing to know Html and other complex coding languages, the user just clicks and types. The feature of blogging, which makes it a log, is that it allows for periodic posts and updates, with dates attached. Ads and other monetizing features came later. 

Some may argue that by making their views public, they open themselves for public scrutiny. It's true that everyone should answer for what they say and do - and that includes everything a person does, not just blogging. Some say that public scrutiny is best done through regulatory actions. Wrong. 

I am also against regulation of blogging. It's like trying to regulate one's personal opinion. That can easily lead to suppression of freedom of speech. A bloggers' association to regulate content is a stupid idea. Obviously, the nature of that group would be a "thought police" force, and people's opinions could be easily suppressed. You cannot regulate opinion; everyone is free to express it. Besides, some people hate libel laws; a lot of them say that is the problem with the recent Philippine Anti-Cybercrime Law. That means if someone is offended with their blog post, sorry, bear with it, it's my right to say it, haha. 

I blog not because I want to be seen, but because I want to be heard. It's a place to vent and think aloud - with the hope that a piece of my mind will benefit the world. That's why I blog.

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