Monday, May 11

My iBlog5 Experience

Attending the iBlog5 has been the most rewarding blogging experience for me so far. I have already been blogging for more than four years now but I felt like a newbie blogger once again. After the summit, I have started to treat my blogs not only as venues for my writings but as my children as well. Honestly, this has been my recent realization - that blogging and parenting are almost synonymous to each other. Both are continuous learning experiences. Both require commitment and devotion. Just how parents are praised when other people see how well-mannered and well-taken cared of their children are, bloggers also gain recognition from readers when their blogs not only show well-crafted writing but great content as well.

The 5th Philippine Blogging Summit or iBlog5 was held at the Malcolm Hall of the UP Law Center last May 9, 2009. The whole day event was organized by the UP Internet and Society Program. Since I got in early, I was able to get a kit full of reading materials and this awesome name card!

To give you an idea of the topics that were discussed during the summit, you can refer to the iBlog5 site.

In a nutshell, here are the interesting insights that I have learned from the blogger-speakers that day:
- The measure of success of a blog is dependent on the blogger's goals;
- The "Rule of Thirds" and the "Golden Hour" in taking photos;
- The basics of video blogging and video streaming;
- Sharing the NOW but SAVORING the MOMENT in blogging;
- That bloggers should create value;
- Blogging etiquette;
- That bloggers should not be distracted by the perks of blogging and should always remember their initial purpose in blogging;
- Keeping one's offline reputation clean is as important as being a reputable blogger online;
- That there is no existing Philippine law regarding privacy; and
- That copyright is effective from the moment of creation.
The part of the program that talked about blogging to the next level is the most informative part for me as I am still a newbie in making money online. Fitz Villafuerte shared this:

1. Blog about your passion but it should have commercial value.
2. Get a domain name and webhosting if you want more technical control of your blog, but blogs in free sites can earn as much as self-hosted blogs. Technical control gives you the freedom to play with the layout of your blog. Getting a domain name also helps in search engine optimization and in being more business-like.
3. Write quality content about topics that people search for.
4. Learn Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO). Promote your blogs in social networking sites. Go to online forums, contribute to discussions, and link to your blog. Although SEO converts more traffic, SMO converts readers into regular readers. SMO is easy to do than SEO which is very technical.
5. Be patient, making good money through blogging takes time because it’s not easy to write for and maintain multiple blogs. Start on one blog, make the most out of it. Then, gradually start on the next blog.
Anton Diaz, on the other hand, looked at bloggers as evolving people as most bloggers look at their blog as their virtual soul:
1. Artist – Personal expression and blogging about your life. Critical skill in this level is writing naturally. To go to the next level, you need to find your passion.
2. Advocate – Bloggers who support a particular cause. Critical skill in this level is Blog Marketing and learning SEO. To go to the next level, you need to Learn Business Models (10 business models). Blogging is only the lowest form of earning money online.
3. Entrepreneur – Your blog is your Personal Brand Asset. Critical Skill in this level is Internet Marketing. Content is King but Marketing is the Queen. To go to the next level, you need to care about other people’s growth.
4. MAVEN – Your blog is your life. Critical skill needed is Maven Marketing -- paying it forward and sharing what you know to others. To go to the next level you need to Die having lived the life of a Maven. You should be 100% emotionally free because 50% would hate you, the other 50% will love you.
Anton pointed out that the focus should not be on what type of blogger one is but if he/she is evolving as a blogger. He said that the secret is in continuously improving a blogger's skills and mindset. Blogging can empower a blogger to live a life of meaning and purpose.

Using Anton's stages of evolution, I should say that, as a blogger, I am an Artist and an Entrepreneur. This blog started as my own personal online journal until I developed three more blogs to focus on my other interests. I am also not denying the fact that I make paid posts every now and then so I also treat my blog as my online business. I plan to focus on my initial blogging goals first and hone my craft in my specific niches before I move on to being an Advocate and a Maven (hopefully!)

My iBlog5 experience is really one for the books. I not only learned so much about the blogging world but I also met some of my online friends. Truly, the internet bridges distances that one can imagine. Just this soon, I am already excited in attending iBlog6!

You can read more about the other bloggers' iBlog5 experiences here.

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