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Reflections on Blogging with Fernando Flores

This is the second part of an interview with Chilean senator, author, and blogger, Fernando Flores. The first part can be found here.

GV: How do you understand blogs?

FF: Blogs should be seen in two different ways: the opinions one posts and what the blog is as a whole. A blog is like a house with various rooms. With weblogs we can make ourselves useful. The blog reflection is a reflection of the first order. If you look back, you get a reflection that is different than the first one you made. This is useful because in one year, you have gained perspective of how not only your own personal view has evolved, but the world's as well. We can see which conversations are still alive and which ones are now obsolete. As an example, I’m on my 2200 post. The first time I post about Lawrence Lessig, almost no one in Chile had heard about him. Recently, Lawrence Lessig has come to Chile. Lesig is now in Chilean conversations. There is a culture that is growing, but I have to be clear that in Chile it is a very insipient culture.

The blogosphere allows one to catch up with what is in fashion, what is currently happening, and one can begin to add their own voice to the topics. Another thing I do with my blog is to create a “bridge,” by translating topics to Spanish, so one can reinterpret what is happening on the other side of the world. I have lived 25 years in American culture, the culture of Silicon Valley, and the consultant world, which has given me the knowledge of how to interpret the relevant issues. As an example, I had given a lot of importance to Google. Latin culture still believes that Google is a simple tool. They don’t realize that it is a relevant factor to the industry, which is building a new reality, and not only a Google reality.

GV: About realities, how does that apply to the blogosphere?

FF: A lot of bloggers live in the space of bullshit all the way. Coffee shop conversations, that are no more than that, merely internet acquaintances. I believe that when you don’t post your name, the temptation of bullshit is much greater.

A lot of trolls are anonymous. When people comment anonymously, you take them out. And I have realized that a lot of serious bloggers have started taking out anonymous comments. Anonymous comments don’t help me to know my readers. The number of comments is much less than the number of readers.

On the other hand, a lot of people make things complicated by being so opinionated about others’ comments. This happens not only in blogs, but in letters in the newspapers as well. These are usually conversations from people who are not interested in building a common world. For building a common world, what matters is which actions lead to our enrichment. How can I trust you, and make sure that the actions you make will be the right contribution? If you feel moved from a place of enrichment and make a declaration of this, you’re not a bullshiter any more, you re a serious person who is seeking authentic engagement, this can be with irony, humour or what ever, but it is different from the person that is making world judgments.

GV: What are your personal motivations and commitments to enrich Chile?

FF: One of my personal motivations is in the field of digital, global publication with blogs and newspapers. Chileans have few enriching conversations, and do not realize how globalization is affecting them. That is to say, that globalization brings both opportunities and threats. Lately, for example, problems are surfacing about employment. I say “surface” because the topics don’t necessarily relate only to employment. Employment will not be solved by the government or unemployment programs. The thing they don’t see is that employment has to do with the investment that adds value to society like information, energy, biotechnology and all that. And in these, Chileans aren’t aware of what is happening.

Blogs are an example. I think that blogs are important and serious. In every post I make, I try to build an enrichment for the way of the future. You’re an example (writing for Global Voices). Chile, “Potencia Alimentaria” (Food Power) is an other good example. This idea occurred to a group of people and now they have a blog, which is also a statement of how to mobilize and lobby, as a new way of interpret the agriculture and exportation food business of Chile.

GV: How do you support blogging in Chile?

FF: The idea is to build other media, as El Morrocotudo. Some wrote for El Morrocotudo before I wrote my own blog. And I hope to help build other blogs and more newspapers, one in Rancagua other in Talca. I have thought of creating a different political blog magazine. But for that I think I'd need 4 or 5 partners, with different voices.

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