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Flashblogs: Occasionally making a point more impactful. Part One.

Categories: Citizen Media, Ideas, Technology

The Colours of a Little Part of Asia – A South East Asian blogging story by Mack Zulkifli [1]

The Tsunami Crisis [2] in this region brought bloggers to the forefront of the news, although under less than preferrable circumstances. It was also the first time that the Malaysian mainstream media gave positive attention, albeit in a very tiny portion, to Malaysian bloggers in general. The Star carried this story in their technology section InTech, under the headline, Bloggers fill the void. [3] It was a sense of empathy that drives many bloggers from the region, so close to the disaster, to furiously blog [4]about the disaster, offering services, news of missing loved ones, donation info or just the much appreciated shoulder to lean on, when times required it so very much. It was at this juncture that a ‘Flashblog’ was born.

This was the first, aptly titled Tsunami [5]. The second focused closer to home, and was titled Aceh [6].

It was a means to try and stand out from the clutter, and plead for funds to help those who are in severe need at that time. The fund collected close to USD7000.00 for the victims and was donated to the Red Cross [7]. Under the circumstances, it was a success.

Flashblogs drew attention. It was much smaller, simpler and less time consuming than a videoblog, but just as effective as an attention pull, sometimes more effective, depending on what was being communicated. For example, this flashblog [8] was about the ethics and morality of blogging, of course within a Malaysian context. It was followed the next day with an interview with Jeff Ooi [9], Malaysia's most influential and yes, most embattled blogger. The flashblog was simply entitled, Jeff [10].

These were buggy and served as the experimental, developmental and full of mistakes, stage of what was developing into an extension of my normal blogs. They served to enhance issues which I felt was important, and the response they got was overwhelming, despite all the bugs and cut/paste work. Each of those blogs clocked over one thousand visitors, by far the most successful entries. It also helped that the issues were relevant and sensational at that point in time.

Like an issue that saw, for the first time in Malaysian media history, the mainstream and bloggers went head on and hard to pursue an issue that deals with the environmental damage caused in no small part by the State Government fumbling their administrative duties, which upsetted no less than the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The flashblog was called OK [11]. (Some language in Malay).

In conclusion, Malaysian blogosphere (including readers) revelled in the flashblogs, and issues gained a much higher profile. Of course, the issues were blogged as normal blog entries, the flashblogs served only either as the ‘teaser’ or closure that encapsulated all the factors with the issue concerned. It was successful beyond my imagination, yet very few Malaysian bloggers have adopted it, probably because the complications and software requirements that goes into creating one.

Next: Creating Flashblogs and tips to make them better.