Thursday, December 9Multi-awarded Filipina blogger, publicist and social media specialist
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Thoughts on that peace process forum invitation

Sometimes it fascinates me how certain people especially those who advocate sensitive causes seem to downplay bloggers. These people tend to think that “just because” you write about food, fashion and lifestyle, you don’t “contribute” to relevant, important conversations. I think they have this misconception that “just because” bloggers like us hardly write about politics and news and current affairs, we don’t at least try to do our part in nation building.

Take the case of an invitation sent to me and my fellow bloggers here in Northern Mindanao. This was for a supposed “peace forum” from 8:30 am to 12 noon.

“Looking for young lifestyle bloggers, bloggers in general, opinion shapers and writers who want to deploy your skills and influence for the peace process in Mindanao. This is an opportunity to influence beyond the food, the fashion and the lifestyle. This is an opportunity to contribute to the conversation on a matter that is of vital importance to us individually and as a nation.”

Fine, I want to think that the person meant well but see, the person added this:

“The (government agency) and its local partners will conduct a youth forum…free of charge…snacks and lunch will be provided. In this regard, we are inviting bloggers and writers who are willing to be peace ambassadors for the peace process.”

peace na please forum opapp

To me, that translated to: “Please attend, it’s free anyway! Plus we’ll stuff your faces with free food so you won’t complain. And, hey, you can then call yourselves “ambassadors” even after just 4 hours.”

First off, to be real and efficient “peace ambassadors,” you should not only know all the facts and details but you should also BELIEVE in the cause. There shouldn’t be any ifs or buts. You will be, after all, the face of the advocacy, the voice of reason, the very champion of the cause. Can someone be effective in his or her role after only 4 hours?

The road to BBL approval and the peace process in Mindanao are part of a long, winding, very complicated issue. Of course, all of us want peace, there is no doubt about that. But we can’t achieve real and lasting peace if you just need bloggers as statistics for your accomplishment report.

Secondly, is it such a tragedy that there are bloggers who “just” write about food, fashion and lifestyle? Does that make them less influential online? Are you saying that food, fashion and lifestyle are too trivial?

It’s like questioning food, fashion and lifestyle newspaper writers. Are you saying that they also don’t “contribute to the conversation on a matter that is of vital importance to us individually and as a nation“?

Which makes me wonder – have you tried sending the very same invitation to traditional media practitioners? (TV, radio, newspaper) Or did you just send these to bloggers because we’re the easiest to contact (just a few FB posts and private messages here and there), easiest to please (apparently we can be contented with free food and bragging rights, eh?) and, let’s face it, cheapest to invite?

Should you take it against us if we decide not to attend? Would you think less of us and our “influence”? Would you end up thinking that we’re choosy and that we don’t care about current affairs?

And if we DO write about these causes, will that finally fit your standards and make us better bloggers in your eyes?

Lastly, we may just write mostly about non-political stuff but through our various social media channels, we voice out opinions on news and current affairs. Through my Twitter account, for instance, I share my views to 8,000+ people. I am very proud and honored to say that my Twitter friends interact with me. Influential somehow? What do you think?

Call me too sensitive but I needed to get this off my chest. I also feel that I need to speak up on behalf of my fellow “mere food, fashion and lifestyle” bloggers. We will go out of our way to help spread the word…we will even do it for FREE!…But please also know how to respect us, respect our choice and respect what we do.

Tsk. Some people need crash courses on PR, sensitivity and common sense.

Note: NONE of the people who received the same invitation I did attended.

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5 Comments

  • You’re very right Ms. Irene! I am a CDO-based newspaper writer (mostly, I write lifestyle and developmental news) and recently, I started blogging as well. A lot of people can actually see the worth of the job I do, but some choose to be blind about it, because I write on “less important things” (according to them), and it’s really tormenting. People (who think highly of themselves) just think of me attending events only for food and give-aways, but goodness! – what I can do if it’s my assignment to attend their events. They should be sensitive about us and with the nature of the job also. Tsk.

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