Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blogapalooza 2013

Blogging is the new graffiti on the walls: moments of one’s existence forever inked on temporary surfaces. But some habits are difficult to let go.

The Art of Blogging

There was a time when this was the epicenter of happenings. The sociopetal fulcrum of dialectics. This used to be the home of many, the melting pot of voices. Varied, distinct, uncompromising voices. Now it lays in the silence of oblivion. Falling into disarray, becoming obsolescent in the changing climate of social media, of shorter and fickler attention spans, and shallow, crass, soulless content. What used to be a kaleidoscopic space, chromatically psychedelic, is now geige and muted. In the absence of its voices, it has become blunt and still.


I was out in the streets this afternoon when I received the letter. It was an email from Vince, the founder of WheninManila. The invitation was about an event: a gathering of bloggers, brand specialists and social media influencers. Dubbed Blogapalooza 2013, the activity aims to showcase products - thoughtfully packaged in the form of loot bags - famous bloggers and Twitter demi-gods are expected to promote in their social media page. 

I read the letter, clicked some links leading to the event's landing page, and found some 150 bloggers who will be attending the event. Most of them are endorsers - people who made a name in blogging press releases for local products and events. Some are bloggers who write about gadgets, and travelling. Others are foodies - people who love to take pictures of food and write stuff about eating places. 

While it is interesting to note that I am familiar with some of the bloggers attending, at the back of my head, I wonder, what stories will these people share of the experience?

Will they be doing crafty storytelling, or become a random mouthpiece of the products they are endorsing?

Not so long ago, I too used to get invites to such gatherings. The only flip-flops I wear today is courtesy of Ipanema. When they launched their sandals in the country. I got mine for free, in exchange for covering the event with some of the blog luminaries of that time. The event was well rehearsed, the dance performance was aimed to show the beauty of the footwear, and the guests went home with their tummies full.

I still remember the exact feeling of sliding your feet in one of these flip flops. I wrote that it felt like stepping on a White Rabbit chewy candy. The flops' soft pads have this buttery texture. The footwear was designed with comfort in mind, and even if the wearer treks the countryside the whole day, he won't get blisters from all that walking. 

Had I known the Ipanema slippers would last four years (and counting) after the first time I wore them, this important detail would never miss my entry.

I'll recommend the product for its durability. 

These thoughts come across as I contemplate the blogging scene today. I read in one blog that blog marketing in the Philippines is actually growing; that in his words, readership is on the rise. While he didn't include a link to the study supporting his claim, the truth is not too difficult to discern from reality: None of my friends still publish their written works, and while blog marketing remains a vibrant niche (according to its advocates), these bloggers' impersonal approach to writing leaves many of their comment boxes empty.  

Thus, SEO junk aside, my hope is that the event delivers, and the products' selling points really get out on the web. For I still believe in the power of storytelling, and connecting to your readers on an intimate sphere. In a time when the shadow of the paid hacks (the Big Bad Bloggers) still loom large over blogger readership, photos and general information don't court a following.

It is the blogger's personal touch and honesty that make people read one's work.  

To be sure, I won't be attending the event - despite the freebies I'd be getting, and the potential exposure and network I'd be receiving. I won't be there, not because I publish a personal blog (whose author is in the middle of catharsis), or it is an exclusive event attended by people who know each other, and breathe the same marketing air that snuffed out many other bloggers in the past. 

I won't be going for one reason. 

One that strikes deep into the craft itself, and of my existence.

"To each his own," I would remind myself while writing this entry. It is for me to see the big picture, and to sound less condescending when the final draft gets published. For the longest time I've been telling stories. Stories that were drawn from my solitary journeys and epiphanies. True to my approach, the only reason I have come this far is because of the notion; of that enduring belief that I have no audience.

Much as I would like to enjoy the perks that comes with blogging. I get inspiration to pen words when I know my works are beholden only to myself.


Geosef Garcia said...

Well, I guess this 'blog marketing' isn't for everyone. But I am sure of one thing though, this isn't my cup of tea.

Aries said...

See you! :)