Rational Technology for April 23, 2006. Apologies for the lack of completeness, as I am writing this in a cybercafe in Laoag, hoping to catch my Metro Post deadline.
Of last year's first iBlog conference, I wrote: "You know that a movement has come of age when the first major conference is announced. Such is the case for blogging in the Philippines with iBlog: The 1st Philippine Blogging Summit." A little less than a year later, just last April 18, we have the sequel, iBlog2.
If iBlog was about coming of age, iBlog2 is about the quest for maturity of this new communications medium. That much was evident in the content of this conference. Instead of one main hall session, the organizers opted to divide it into breakout sessions to accommodate the different interest groups. These, too, were reflective of the state of blogging over the past year.
Mirroring the rise of blogs as alternative means for exchange of political commentary, there was a Political Blogging Panel with Inquirer columnist Manolo Quezon III and Davao City councilor Peter Lavinia. MLQ3 spoke about respect for ideas, blogging personalities, and the perils of groupthink. Councilor Lavinia talked about blogs as a means for participative government (and I hope our own councilors are reading this).
Equally significant was the track on the legal aspects of blogging. Now that blogs have gained some measure of credibility, it has now caught the eye of the mainstream personalities. The downside, of course, is that the possibilities of libel cases loom larger than before; as such, bloggers have to take care to traverse this minefield. Similarly, issues on intellectual property rights also become more relevant.
And the financial aspect of blogging also matures. The problogging track discussed the ways and means by which people can earn money from blogs. Working either as syndicated writers for blog networks or as independent bloggers, bloggers can actually make serious money from their passion. Some bloggers, I found out, earn as much as P85,000 per month just from ad revenues alone. Clearly something to think about for the bloggers of Dumaguete.
Other tracks at iBlog: Personal Blogging, Media Blogging and Podcasting, and Art and Literary Blogging.
Particularly significant for this conference was the keynote delivered by Rebecca McKinnon, former reporter for CNN who set up Global Voices. Ms. McKinnon pointed out to blogs as the nascent voice of democracy in Southeast Asia, a topic that is becoming increasingly relevant in these times.
Also happening at the time of this writing is the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference.
For more information on the proceedings of iBlog2, please go to http://www.iblogph.org.