Bloggers and the 2007 Philippine Elections

What role will bloggers play in the coming May 2007 Philippine elections?

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Since it is quite easy to put up a blog, or to leave comments on various blogs, here's what will happen:

1. Bloggers will NOT sway the opinion of Philippine voters. Readers will naturally flock to blogs whose opinions match their own. They will also go to blogs of those who adopt a different view, so that they can post their comments (in an attempt to change the opinion of the blogger or that blogger's readers).

2. Bloggers will "cash in" on the increased traffic to their site. Filipinos love to express their opinions. And they will do this in their own blogs, and also in the comments section of popular bloggers because they think their views will get more coverage. In the end, it will be the popular bloggers who will enjoy the potential benefits of higher website traffic.

3. People will believe in citizen journalism. Scoops or reports on the latest gossip, or inside reports of cheating will quickly spread through the internet via YouTube or forwarded emails. People will be swayed by the power of photos and video.

4. People will downplay citizen journalism. Since it is easy to doctor images and magically edit videos, internet-savvy folks will put less value on these. Various camps and PR groups will still come up with smear campaigns, though, in their bid to sway the online crowd.

5. Politicos will publish their own blogs. This will be a good way of clearing the air online, so to speak, in the wake of increased chismis and swift-boating conducted in various social networking sites online. Since there will be groups that will probably even edit a politician's Wikipedia entry, the politico will have a chance to air his/her side at their own blog.

6. Bloggers will post ads from politicos. Bloggers will make money as they accept banner ads or even text link ads from politicos or their PR campaign handlers. This will help drive traffic to the sites of some of these politicians.

7. Domain name registrations will increase. Politicians (and domain name speculators) will hoard dot com and dot com dot ph domain names. Some "bloggers" may even put up "official" blogs of these politicos, if only to confuse some readers.

8. Bloggers will ghostwrite or ghostblog for some politicos. Does a politician have time to blog in the heat of the campaign? No problem. Just hire ghostbloggers. It will be those bloggers who will be able to affect public opinion via the politico's official blog, in the way they write and in the tone they adopt in their blog entries.

Will the politico come across as masa or elitista? Will the photos posted show a politico who is sincere, or someone who's just acting?

9. Videobloggers will serve as consultants. Hopefully, this entire "Philippine internet connection slowdown caused by the earthquake" excuse will not be used in March, and more people will be able to view online videos in YouTube or Revver (ka-ching, ka-ching!). The videoblogger consultant can then team up with politicos whom the cameras love, and then help them come up with a great video.

These videobloggers will choose their clients well, because they want to have a successful track record. I wonder who will work with politicos whose "hooded looks" work against them in the field of videos?

10. Bloggers who publish offline WILL be able to sway voters. Some bloggers will realize that their blog has practically no impact on the online crowd, especially as far as the 2007 Philippine elections are concerned.

They will go offline and distribute their opinions, podcasts, mp3 files, and videos in CD or DVD format and distribute those to the masa, as well as to those who tend to believe everything they see on their television screens.

Interesting times ahead for blogging and Philippine politics... :-)

[ First posted on 01/28/2007 by Manuel Viloria ]

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