There is an on-going debate amongst Filipino bloggers regarding the proposed formation of a ‘National Bloggers’ Association’. It all started back in January 31 when blogger Janet Toral asked in a blog post ‘Are you in favor of a National Bloggers Association?‘ The purpose of the said organization shall be:
[to] interact with policy makers, both government and private groups, who are interested in crafting guidelines that will have an effect to the blogging community.
As soon as it was published, bloggers on both sides of the fence – those in favor and against the proposal have expressed their respective positions.
It is interesting to note that those who support the idea of forming a national bloggers’ association do so with some reservations. Regnard Raquedan suggests that the idea should be refined into an organization of ‘professional’ bloggers instead of representing all Filipino bloggers:
This group should not pursue bloggers who are blogging as a hobby and as a means of expression. And clearly, the group should present itself as a representative of the professional bloggers, not all bloggers in general. Making such a claim would be
I believe no one group can represent the Philippine blogosphere– it's akin to attempting to represent all those who can express themselves. But I believe that a group focused on one aspect of blogging, that is professional blogging or blogging with an agenda, can be helpful in legitimizing Philippine blogging as a practice.
Bjornson Bernales puts his faith on the idea that there's wisdom in setting up such an organization and hopes that along the way, things will get more refined and clear:
It is still immature for me to say about the structure of the Philippine Bloggers Association. But the one thing I am sure about is that I would like to be part of it.
I respect the views of other bloggers. And that makes the blogoshere colorful with different views and opinions, maintaining an equilibrium between the yin and yang.
But I still say yes to Philippine Bloggers Association. I dream of being a full-pledged Problogger. It is not because I am motivated of money and power. It is because I sense and aspire win-win situations in which bloggers have concerns about and are a part of.
Aileen Apolo took some time to read back on the history of earlier efforts of putting up a similar organization of bloggers in other countries – all of which had failed – and maintains a neutral stance:
So this proposal about a National Bloggers Association… I don't know, I think I'll stick to joining or participating in select projects/activities since any attempt in the past (this the the nth attempt) never really flourished. Besides organizations really work with just a handful of people moving (I've observed that with local professional orgs too), so its actually better sometimes to just have interest groups work with different projects to get more traction.
Well, it's a free country and everybody has a choice :)
On the other hand, bloggers who oppose the formation of national bloggers’ association have come out to state their case.
Janitor Al takes the idea head on in a rather blunt and scathing manner:
It's stupid because its creation can potentially generate more of the same kinds of problems that it seeks to address. For instance, while it seeks to unify bloggers, it seems rather obvious that this idea has caused much division. Ironic? Perhaps. Stupid? I would say definitely.
Personally, I also find the endeavor rather pompous. No. Not ambitious. Pompous. The assumption that they can bring the millions upon millions of bloggers to band together and agree on this reeks of arrogance.
Let's look at one particular example, the notion of representation. Given the status quo, while there may be some who might seem to represent bloggers in a bad light, the lot of us can easily say, “No. Those bloggers do not in any official manner represent me or any other blogger for that matter.” And in most cases, that will be the end of it. Enter now an actual “association” claiming to represent all of us bloggers. Given the ease by which most of traditional media still misunderstand the blogosphere, the danger here is that this “association” could very well be regarded by the mainstream as a de facto official representative. Who the hell gave them that right?
The Mommy Bloggers Club not only opposes the idea of a national bloggers’ association because it would be adverse to blogging's inherently personal and independent nature, she puts forward a counter-proposal:
If we really want an organization to fight for our right, in terms of ethics, copy right issues and income, I would rather suggest having a Bloggers Cooperative, where one get to share ideas, skills, and income opportunities. We can have a fund for all bloggers in the country to share and invest. We can continue what we love doing, blogging, without being regulated but are progressive.
Ms Noemi Dado joins in this position and also offers an alternative:
While I do agree with a collective set of ethical standards for bloggers , I am not convinced on the establishment of a national blogging organization. Bloggers are so diverse and may not want to belong to one big group for one reason or another.
Before the establishment of an organization, a set of ethical standards should first be deliberated and agreed upon in a conference or summit, then the rest can follow.
With more and more bloggers starting to weigh in and take sides, the debate on the ‘national bloggers’ association’ is far from being over.