How Sen. Tito Sotto raised the roof–Alien? Alien!

IT’S been almost a month now since I started blogging, and everyday brings with it a new set of surprises. Looking back now, I should have started sharing my thoughts with you earlier, but my work, with no small amount of irony, kept getting in the way. Here are some points I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Having a catchy title is important to generate more readers. Being a journalist, I probably should know this by now, but the blogosphere is different. Since you’re competing with so many blogs

    THIS snapshot of me and my mother was taken some years ago in Tagaytay during her birthday. I don’t know any other person whose mothers share the same birthday. Happy Birthday, Mommy and Mama Mary! 😉

    and websites out there, the more direct and simple the title you use, preferably with the subject’s name in it, the better. I forgot about this little big thing called the search engine.

  2. Topics about show biz and politics have built-in readership, but these two areas are not sure-fire formulas. I realized how hot Anne Curtis was, for instance, when I got the third most number of hits on a blog entry devoted to her. But, sorry, Anne, my feelings for you remain unchanged. You’re still one of the most overexposed stars out there.
  3. There’s no substitute to “raging” issues. Entries containing reissued stories that were, in my mind, popular during their time, are no match to original pieces reflecting the life and times we live in.
  4. The late Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, through his family, particularly eldest daughter Aika, has generated such a tremendous amount of sympathy and goodwill from Filipinos based on the hits I got—the second most visited entry so far in my blog. Never mind that Aika had to share the story with how three supposedly professional broadcasters seemed to have mishandled the interview, the hits still keep on coming in trickles nearly three weeks after the entry debuted. Now, this entry has legs!
  5. If Aika is a hit, the entry on Sen. Tito Sotto and his attempts to pass off other people’s ideas as his own is a major, major blockbuster. Reactions first came in trickles, but when I checked later at the end of the day, I was almost thrown off my chair to see the bar graph hit the roof. Six-hundred forty plus hits (and counting) in a single day may seem like peanuts to not a few celebrity bloggers out there, but it was a record for me.
  6. More than anything else, I get a sense that, as far as a good number of Filipinos are concerned, what Sotto did this time was no laughing matter. That he’s way out of his league on such a sensitive and divisive issue as the RH BILL is evident. What he and his supporters and critics didn’t expect was the tremendous backlash his reactions generated after being shown the facts.
  7. As in all things worth doing, you will attract all sorts of characters and reactions, both good and bad. Thankfully, all of the reactions, except for one, have so far been positive and constructive.
  8. Because of the anonymity afforded by cyberspace, there will always be nitpickers out there. How foolish of me to have forgotten. The fact that they’re not obliged to reveal themselves has further emboldened them to twist and turn your words to suit their respective agendas. In the spirit of democracy and freedom of expression, I let them be. You end up learning from them, too.
  9. My friend Chita has a positive spin to it: “Ayaw mo yun, sikat ka na? (Hasn’t it occurred to you that you’re now famous?) If you have a heckler, it only means that even people who are not your friends think you are worth reading!” You’re so right, Chita. As a whole, though, I’m happy that people, especially the young, are still involved and attuned with the times. My faith in the Filipino has been strengthened. Thanks, guys!
  10. Speaking of faith, blogging is a lot like propagating faith, (sorry, did someone say this in the Bible?): to those who believe [and agree with you], no amount of explanation is necessary, to those who don’t, no amount of explanation will ever do. Amen? Amen!

    How I wish, Paul!

4 thoughts on “How Sen. Tito Sotto raised the roof–Alien? Alien!

  1. Nice one Alex! I look forward to reading your blogs about what is happening in the Philippines. I shy away from politics and really don’t watch TV at all in an effort to minimize the worlds drama and undesirable news to linger in my subconscious. I appreciate your time and excellent take on the latest news and showbiz buzz you care to blog about. This is a nice way for someone like me who have been away from the Philippines for so long and basically reacquainting myself with the Philippines. You should know that your Facebook posts and blogs bridge the void that I find myself experiencing lately. Ah… yes someone once said to me we all go back to what we know and want to keep in touch with those people, places and things we knew growing up as a child. Cycle of life I guess? Keep on blogging and I will be reading them. God Bless!
    Cristina Clayton
    East Bay, CA USA

    • Thanks “Tina” ;-D I’m glad I’m able to entertain and inform you in my own small way. If I were you, I would not shy away from politics (although I must agree with you on the wisdom of minimizing or completely getting rid of the TV) because our entire life, whatever our station is, is about politics. But I’m sure my entries create more questions as they try to provide you with answers. To fill in the gaps, you would need to brush up on local news on politics and showbiz. One of the best sources, of course, is Siyempre naman! Rappler is also quite helpful as their news items are sometimes shorter than Inquirer’s. Otherwise, I would have to write paragraphs upon paragraphs just to provide dear readers like you with background information. My journalist- and blogger-friends here in the Philippines have been reminding me to keep it short, short, short. That’s what blogging is all about, they say. But I really can’t help it. Napapasarp, ika nga nating mga Filipino. But I appreciate your letter. It inspires me to continue without thinking of any remuneration. I do hope it comes later. Lol! If it doesn’t, then it’s okay. The fact that I was able to inform, entertain and even sway opinion because of the stuff I write, is reward enough for me. Thank you and regards to the family. 😉

  2. Just followed you on Twitter (I didn’t know you had one) and added you to my list of daily reads. I’ve been an Inquirer reader for a long time and have always made it a point to read all your articles.

    It is hard to get out of the habit of writing long long articles because you have to fill up the space in your page (worked for the rival broadsheet before – heehee). It took me a while to get used to writing shorter paragraphs & more succinct titles, although in my blog, the instinct to elaborate remains strong. I do agree though that newspaper journalism is different because you have to explain back stories and such.

    I really am glad to discover your blog. Hope to meet you one day and I hope you keep writing! 🙂

    • Thanks Mayo. You’re very kind. I’m trying to restrain myself from writing long pieces. But, I guess, old habits die hard. Hahaha! But based on readers’ reactions, I guess there is a market for my brand of writing–long with a bit of asides and critiques. I won’t be competing with others who are fast on the draw when it comes to trends and chismis. Wala akong laban! Nor is my site the most visual thing there is. What I’m trying very hard to do is promote debate and, in my own small way, question the status quo.

      Since you’ve worked for a newspaper, too, I’m sure you know our limitations as journalists. Apart from explaining backstories, like what you said, we have to get both sides to an issue, come up with authentic and grabber quotes and try to remain as non-partisan as possible. In a blog it’s different. I’d dare say it’s easier because you only have to come up with your own opinions and support them in the course of the story. Either way, however, you have to be responsible. That’s one constant quality expected of a good writer: being responsible. You may be the best, most articulate and most brilliant wordsmith out there, but if you’re irresponsible and amoral, then everything amounts to nothing.

      Then there’s also a question of access. Journalists have almost unlimited access to events and newsmakers, while bloggers, unless they’re very popular like Bryanboy or Chuvaness, are limited. But the dynamics are evolving as I “speak.” I began to feel this two, three years ago. While the publicists’ world used to revolve exclusively around journalists and how they could get them to attend their events, now they have other alternatives through bloggers. Not that I’m complaining. Like they say, the more, the merrier. And since I’m a blogger and journalist as well, they get to hit two birds with one stone. Thanks again, Mayo!

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