I remember my very first “Web 2.0” event back in, *checks notes*, the hazy days of 2006. I had just left my full time editorial job at Hinge-Inquirer publications (a proud genesis employee!) and was transitioning to full time work doing blog network management and writing for b5Media and Know More Media.
That first meet up was cordial but uneventful, so I collectively remember the “good old days” of pre-social media as the wild west of Web 2.0 which consisted mostly of .. eating a lot of food and hanging out in coffee shops with free WiFi. Back then, the conversations revolved around using SEO for good — we were helping the Mindanao bloggers raise the SEO rank for ‘Mindanao’ to display search results relating to lifestyle verticals such as restaurants and events versus it being a conflict zone in the news. We were actively looking for ways to engage community about our personal passions — Evan was a bird watcher, Juned was into fish, Andrew was into blogging’s meta, and I was, well, one of the few tech bloggers back in the day.
Many people asked why I stopped blogging regularly — I have an answer. After being the first blogger from the Philippines to be sent to Mobile World Congress in 2011, I believed that was it for me. It was a Jerry Seinfeld moment — quit when you’re up. Do other things. So I joined a digital agency and put up 8List then moved on to Manila Bulletin to set up its digital platforms.
“Here we go again.” Grassroots. The building phase. Vagabonds being observed by the industry, waiting for some form of structure. These were renewed sentiments, about 15 years apart from “new media” to “the decentralized web.”
I’m not an artist, but I would have paid $$$ to know what it is like to be in this industry for the first time, in your 20’s, trying to make a name for yourself. The perspective, I am sure, is quite different. Forty-ish year old me wants to know what part is passion and what part is shill. From the looks of it, from this live event, it’s mostly the former.
It’s scary too. Back in the early days of blogging, we also didn’t have money. The narrative was that we could level the playing field and help writers make a living by paying them a global standard. We saw mom bloggers make an extra $300 to $600 a month from blog network work. There were those who built their brands on top of AdSense support, and boy, this was a real lightbulb moment for writers. I used to run a local blog advertising network called BlogBank back in the day, and I remember our year-end payout of 1 million pesos split among many local bloggers. Today we have programmatic ads, but back in the day, we pioneered working with GIF’s and customizing ads depending on the blogger’s niche — manually. Good times. Today, it’s a little different. There is that semblance of the starving artist (back then it was writers, now it seems to be more focused on the visual arts because of NFT’s), but the stakes are also higher. Back in the day we worried mostly about finding a voice in an Internet that was hungry to be populated. Today it seems that the grassroots movement has a lot on its mind: from creating a product, to marketing, tokens, security, FOMO, etc. There seems to be a lot more at stake. We’ve come a long way from just wanting to write on our blogs.
I am grateful to enter this new space on the web as a player. I was supposed to take on a leadership role at a bank, but fate had other plans and my co-founders brought me into Anito Legends as CMO. In a way I am starting from scratch, but it seems that I’ve done some good somewhere as many people remember me and this little blog from the good old days, so there’s that. So yeah, I am still a believer in that saying that the cup of goodness tends to overflow. And that is why we must help where we can.
Here to help! Happy to meet everyone!