Thursday, February 03, 2005

Blogstorm, Part 2

Rational Technology for February 6, 2005

You know that blogs are big when they begin to be featured in magazines like BusinessWeek.

Last year, BusinessWeek ran a story on how CEOs and venture capitalists were using blogs to drive business. At first glance, it seems highly unlikely. After all, what does a personal online journal have to do with driving a dollar stream?

But apparently, it does work. Blogging helps these businessfolk network, boost sales, and garner media mileage without the limitations of traditional media. Blogs essentially become tools of promotion. They work because people interested in a particular topic, issue, or business will always be hungry for information.

The case of Jeff Pulver illustrates the power of blogs for driving policy. Pulver is founder of Free World Dial-Up, a company that promotes Internet telephony. He was featured in a recent issue of Newsweek.

Pulver's business is so far on the leading edge that it's pushing the limits of telecommunications regulation in the United States. He recorded his thoughts on the issue on his daily blog stating his case against regulation of Internet calls. Through his blog he garnered enough support from government such that the Federal Communications Commission ruled that calls would not be regulated.

Now, think about how blogging can be used to promote Dumaguete City.

Right now, there's a dearth of real information on Dumaguete City. The first page of cursory search on Google on the keyword "dumaguete business" for the most part lists only hotel accommodations, some press releases, and a couple of real estate ads. Majority of them are not even written from the city, but are instead tour information from operators outside of Dumaguete.

So, if I'm a potential investor, student, or retiree, how much information can I really get about the city? Will the information provided here be of any use to me? Will this information be sufficient for me to decide to take my money to Dumaguete? Is there a real person behind this piece of information that I can talk to? Or is it just a web page that someone put up two years ago and forgot about?

An active blog addresses all these issues because it is current, it is relevant, and reflects the opinions of a real person. A person looking for information on Dumaguete will at least have some reference point regarding a particular issue. Cold statistics never tell the whole story; neither, perhaps, will someone's opinion, but it is by far a better story and a more compelling one that just simple numbers.

A blog can also be a rallying point for issues that affect people within the city. In my search for blogs about Dumaguete City (and I tell you, there are precious few), I came across howtolive.blogspot.com, which lamented on "The Dying of Dumaguete." Having been away from Dumaguete for far too long, and being of a sedate sort so easily satisfied, it was quite refreshing to read this blogger's opinion:

"Then again, this is Dumaguete, where progress is essentially a four-letter word, where there is a 2:00 a.m. statute of limitation on any idea of fun, where anyone can run for mayor on the platform of non-performance and flatlining of progress, and win hands down. Every night, at 10 o'clock, the sirens screech its appeal for curfew; it has gone beyond that, I think; it has become symbolic of cultural decay.

"I used to have an idea of a Dumaguete beautifully combining a graceful old charm with contemporary sensibilities. Lately, there are gnawing doubts, the way one casts adverse suspicions over a dried-up old maid, an old fart, a dinosaur, a relic that the train has left behind.

"Lately, there are only these: a crawl of traffic that defies logic and any semblance of order and safety, crumbling asphalt streets, and an invasion of grime and smudge that decorate haphazard buildings and that ambushes you for measly peso coins for "watching over" your parked motorcycle."


Whether or not you agree with these statements, you must admit that it gives far more insight into Dumaguete than the Sun.Star Online headline which goes: "Chamber bats for infra, port facilities to boost economy." And if you think that nightlife has nothing to do with business, think for a moment: if you were a globetrotting venture capitalist, used to the fine life of New York or Shanghai, would the idea of visiting a small town described above interest you?

Don't agree with the statement above? Don't get angry; start your own blog.

4 comments:

  1. Prior to the local community's wake-up call, blogs were already featured in Newsweek as influential factors in the US Presidential elections last year.

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  2. Thanks, Sean, that's one angle I forgot to include. That's okay, though, because Dumaguete tends to be slow (or has been, thus far.)

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  3. I like the way you write, Kuya Dom. You sound so reasonable. If I wrote something about blogstorms, it would sound sooo... Hmmm... ranting?

    I am still an immature writer, that's why.

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