24 Jun 2006

Business Times Interview

To: Swati Chaudhary
Date: Jun 8, 2006 6:58 PM
Subject: Re: Feature on Singapore Bloggers

1)How did you start blogging
i) When?

The first post was written June 2003 while sitting at my desk during lunch break in Singapore. Initially using a different name 'John Hicky' as some of what I was writing about needed a certain level of anonymity in the beginning. And my boss may not have been to keen to know what I was using the company computer to do.

ii) Why blogspot (features/ease of setting up or any other reasons there may be)

Blogspot was really the first blogging software that I had heard of then and the ease of use combined with the html and java skills I had picked up while running a more academic site for my students made the shift into blogging an easy one. All it takes to start publishing on line is an internet connection, the ability to post an email and three easy set up tasks that blogspot walks you through. Getting people to read it is a different matter. Reading other bloggers material, posting comments hyper linking other bloggers and trackbacks allows other bloggers to know you are there and they will cross link and cross post etc integrating your site into the wider blogging community. When getting started blogspot enables you to slowly learn and use these techniques while not overwhelming you with code and blogger speak.

2) How many visits a day do you get?

Currently it is an average of 1,027 new hits 1,585 refreshes or people returning to the site. Making an average of 2,500 per day.

i) Where are your visitors mainly from? Currently 65-75% are from Singapore. This has largely been the trend for the last 3 years. Depending on current news events the 'other' countries will increase or decrease according to the geographic location of the story. There is also a small number of Singaporeans who are currently studying overseas. Click on the link to see the up to date country share of visitors.

ii) Who are they? (if you have any idea based on the comments and emails that you receive)

The vast majority of commentators tend to be Singaporean and guessing as a result of their command of the English language well educated and articulate. Those who tend to go online for information regarding politics and social affairs are in the 20 to 29 year old demographic according to a recent IPS survey. There are a few brief comments given by readers who appear younger but the IPS survey did not deal with that demographic.

3) What do you think makes your blog attractive to people?

The blog has to be updated on a daily basis and more if possible. We would also like to think it is viewed as an alternative news and information source. As a team, myself and the other contributors search the internet, news sites, blogs etc for stories relevant to politics and social issues in Singapore or we take articles from the main stream media, political speeches and criticise them, question their assumptions, check out their 'facts'. Readers also get to contribute and can be perceived as producers of content rather than passive consumers, in political discussions, and calls to action such as signing petitions or attending meetings.

Singabloodypore has been online now for three years and has been updated almost daily from the start; we are consistent, determined and not easily frightened into self-censorship by speeches from members of parliament. We have done and will continue to engage the public in an open debate and continue to be shape and be shaped by the online topics and debates.

4) Why have you refrained from putting up ads/sources of revenue on your blog?

Not an anti-commercial stance but more to do with not being aware of companies or educational establishments willing to align their brand with a site that can be politically controversial. The demographics of the readership would require a Singaporean based target market in order to be a practical endeavour.

Engaging in politics in Singapore is seen by many as a risky endeavour with few material gains to be made unless you align your opinion to that of the dominant party.

Individual Singaporeans seem to be less risk adverse than Singaporean companies.

6) What advice would you give to people who hope to follow your example and be widely-read bloggers?

My number one no-no is writing about employers, past, present or future. Yes blog about products you are launching but approach your boss first. Next 'do not do' is hate speech aimed at specific individuals, groups or organisations. There is a certain code of ethics I adhere to, maybe one day I will get around to writing them down. Finally I try to write as little as possible about my personal life, enough to individualise it but not an online personal diary, simply because it is irrelevant to the focus of a political blog.

Pick a topic that you are consumed with passion for. Post often, keep it as up to date as possible and most importantly of all read other blogs within your target community, be it business or IT, comment frequently on your own site and others, reply to questions and comments as much as possible, block flamers, hyper link to as many bloggers as possible and approach the bigger players politely asking for a hyper link to your site after you have provided a link to theirs.

Blogging is about social relations online while trying to build a little community. Blogging requires you to realise that bloggers are inter-dependent not independent.

If you require any further clarification please feel free to ask.


Anonymous said...

the people in control of the traditional media, and the bloggers themselves, find a mutual interest in overstating the impact of blogs, the former because they can justify not representing certain points of view by saying these are more appropriate in blogs

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