About this blog

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 06.08.2008

It ain’t for lack of anything better to do, that’s for sure

I’M POSITIVE I had a productive life before I started blogging. After all, it’s only been a year and eight months.

Compared to the more established figures in the so-called Philippine blogosphere, I’m still a newbie--though at the rate new blogs are being born by the day, I’d qualify for senior-citizen status by September, when my little corner (at www.gibbscadiz.com) turns two. Pass me my smelling salts, please.

My initial reason for blogging was rather gauche: money. A friend had put up a blog that, against all his modest expectations, proved to be a huge hit. It attracted so many readers in so short a time that, with the easy addition of free Google ads, the lucky bastard was soon earning a tidy sum from this new thang called blogging.

“You could do this, too,” he urged me. “Ikaw pa, e writing’s your forte!”

Stop, I said. You had me at hello--I mean, dollars. (Yes, Google paid in US currency.)

Now, 20 months after I giddily posted my first entry in Blogger, with visions of “E Pluribus Unum” running ticker tape-like in my head, I know better.

Money--of the sort that has bought my friend a MacBook and allowed us to freeload on dinner a few times--has yet to make my acquaintance. Blast it for being so shy.

My blog doesn’t attract steep traffic, either, but why should it? I write mostly about theater and the arts. Yawn, and good luck to me. At a time when “Pinoy Big Brother” rules the roost, waxing orgasmic over an electrifying but barely-seen play is, at least from the standpoint of luring people in, a head-scratcher.

Or as a blogger-friend put it succinctly: “You’re not even supposed to have an audience!”

I still think there’s a compliment in there somewhere.

Because--hallelujah, leapin’ lizards and all--I do have an audience, modest but steadfast. Visitors who come in, leave a comment or, most of the time, just lurk silently, but by their regular visits tell me that what I blog about is of interest to them.

In other words, that I have kindred spirits out there, amigos who, unbidden, generously spare me their time of day. I’ve met and have become friends with some of them offline. And last year, enough of them voted for my blog as one of 2007’s “Top 10 Emerging Influential”--though hardly anyone could agree on what that meant.

That, in a long-winded nutshell, is why I blog. Because I have so many things to say about so many things, and blogging allows me to express them--and find an audience to share them with (if not necessarily agree with).

Blogging about what moves me is an urge; discovering an audience for it is a bonus. Together, they’re a potent motivation for spending the last 20 months of my life eyeballing the computer monitor for two to three hours almost every day to update my blog.

Hi there, I’m an addict.

My blog has more than 500 entries now, ranging from a couple of desultory paragraphs to overripe fulminations that could form a book chapter or a dissertation.

If, for nothing else, blogging gives me that space to vent. In pre-blogging times, one wrote to a newspaper, or phoned a radio show, to fume against yet another case of governmental rot. The alternative was to swallow the bile--something we’ve become expert at, which is, I believe, why we’re in the hellhole we are today.

Now, anyone can blog about it--say his or her piece on something. And if it’s done well enough, with insight and style and solid homework informing one’s sense of high dudgeon, chances are more than the usual curious suspects will pay attention.

Just ask Manolo Quezon, whose eponymous blog hosts the liveliest political punditry nowadays.

That very freedom, of course, is suspect to some. Bloggers are merely slackers, it’s been said. The blogosphere is a vast army of keyboard tappers with time to waste, and so waste it by churning out verbal tripe on everything from their boring little lives to their abysmal opinions about the rest of the world—not that anyone would care to hear them.

I leave it to fellow bloggers to defend themselves capably from this lazy charge. For my part, it was an early decision not to inflict my daily life on the Web, because that would really be a crashing bore.

Instead, I’d make my blog an extension of my work and interests. From my occasional trips abroad, for instance, I’d bring back the requisite travel pieces for this paper. But everything else--the extras and outtakes--would go to the blog.

Once, I got asked to write a profile of Piolo Pascual for a magazine. The lapidary piece appeared in print, while the back story of the interview--the one where I admitted I was drooling when Piolo fingered my Timex watch--went up online. [Correction: The Timex bit did get mentioned in print, not in the blog. Blush.]

Hey, it’s my own space, I can laugh at myself more freely there.

New tricks
Thanks to blogging, this 37-year-old dog has also learned new tricks.

Like how to splice footage using Nero and upload clips to YouTube, so I could share videos with my readers. Me, the neo-Luddite. Now I have a mini-community of subscribers there, distinct from my text-based blog.

And when podcasts became the shiny new thingamajig in other blogs, I had to try it, too. Even if I half-suspected my high, whiny voice would sound bad in playback.

It wasn’t bad, it was terrible. But I tried it! Now I can accost strangers and tell them, “I’ve done a podcast!” Never mind if they’ve no clue what the damn thing is.

I am positive I had a productive life before I started blogging. But my hands have been more than full since--and I’m not complaining.

Now if only my pampered blog would work its butt off getting me my own MacBook...

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