2017: My Views Moving Forward

cropped-10277240_10152729199308269_6766472510073464371_n.jpgThe following words are not my predictions of 2017. They are, however, an attempt to put down in words how I see 2017 panning out.

  1. I will continue learning & teaching kids. My strength lies in learning and teaching — and doing it has been both my joy and challenge.
  2. Full-time or part-time, or both? How do you define work these days? Is it a 9-to-5 kind of thing, or is it a series of opportunities where you are tasked to find solutions? (Look up Gig Economy). It’s going to increasingly happen more next year.
  3. Travel and discovery. This is on top of my list. Discover a new place with my wife and kids. It could be another country, or another place where we could drive to.
  4. Active versus passive income. We all need to retire soon. I’m looking at accelerating this plan next year. Here’s to retired at 50.
  5. Family will always come first…before a job or a gig or any material pleasure.
  6. I will finish a race — at least a long swim. Been practicing for more than a year now without clear goals. (Time to learn how to run properly, too.)
  7. Ending my dependence on medication (for diabetes). I picked up a book called “The End of Diabetes” by Joel Fuhrman. I’m still in the first few chapters, but I have recently realized that diabetes is a condition that can be reversed with proper nutrition/diet and complete overhaul of our lifestyles. (No more junk foods and hopefully expensive Starbucks coffee).
  8. Simplify life. It’s a marathon. I will get rid of more junk and unnecessary stuff from my cozy home. Best to move forward with few, simple things in life.
  9. Start a venture. So many ideas up in the air. Need to pluck them out and turn them into reality next year.
  10. Develop a system of “continuing education” for me, my kids and my wife. It could be a regular visit to museum or a tour/experience that we should try together. (Enough of the theme parks and exhilarating rides).

Can’t wait for 2017 to happen!


The author in his best ‘villain-like’ pose.


About the Author: A corporate worker with a 9-to-5 job, he also dabbles on being a part-time professor in a university; a budding entrepreneur trying to iterate ideas into products; an ex-journalist who remains optimistic about the role of media in a post-truth society. He loves time alone to listen to a podcast or to read a book. He also finds time to study new guitar licks from his favorite rock guitar idols.

5 reasons why you should start a blog

Who blogs these days?

Today, I’ve asked my PUBLISH class to start their own class blog as part of a requirement in class. It is surprising to find that many are no longer blogging. (Blame Facebook and Twitter!)

Why do we still need to blog? I will offer several reasons.

1. Blogging helps you become a better writer. It is one way of publishing your thoughts without noise. You own this space on the Internet. Nobody can tell you what to write (unless you decide to sell it to the highest bidder–the devil!). It’s your personal space in cyberspace. Facebook and Twitter are designed for  consumption and connection. Blogging is about creation.

2. Blogging gives you voice. Want to say something, blog about it. If you want to rant, take it to your blog, and explain it well. Blogs can be your venue for stimulating debate and discussion on topics of choice. It’s up to you to engage people.

3. Blogging helps you establish your online persona. I am often impressed with people who own and maintain their blogs for reasons that are non-commercial. Blogs establish your cred online. Buy your own domain name — do it. Having trouble deciding what to blog, use it to document your passion, your journey through life or through the digital space. You will make mistakes–some spelling errors, and sometimes (God forbid!) some grammatical lapses. Don’t fret. You can always revise and update it. And that’s the beauty of self-publishing.

4. Blogging makes you think.  Try writing one entry a day. Isn’t that a lot of work? Yes, of course. Writing is all about thinking and articulating your thoughts in words, images, and videos. As the medium dictates, this is NOT just for the nerdy types–or for the word lovers. You can use photos, videos to communicate what you think. Be creative. You’ll be surprised years later to see what have you done.

5. Blogging keeps you disciplined. Starting is easy. Keeping at it for years without pause is not. This blog has seen less and less updates. And it has always been a struggle to keep the juices running. So yes, blogging keeps you focused and disciplined. It is sometimes cathartic.

So if somebody asks you again why do you blog, remember these five things, and add one more that is unique to you. It’s also fun seeing people realize that, “Yeah, you’re right!”

Blog away!

I’m on ‘Medium,’ and loving it!

Finally, I got invited to write for Medium, a blogging network founded by Evan Williams, same guy behind Blogger and Twitter.

Medium brings back our love for blogging. But this time, their motivation is different. As the founders proclaim:

We think that words (still) matter, so we built a better system for sharing them.

Indeed!

What makes this blogging service different? First, it’s by invitation. You have to pass a certain standard to get invited. What I did was comment on one of the blog entries, and boom, I got an email telling me that I can start posting my own.

You also need to use your Twitter account to join Medium.

I think this service is still in its infancy. But the quality of writing (also the design) is excellent. And they have Editor’s Picks too.

I like this model for blogging because there are a lot of people out there who just wants to write, and who thinks words still matter, because just like air, it is crucial to our existence–just like breathing.

Do check out my first entry, which is aptly titled, Why we blog.

 

‘Bloggers as saleman’

Interesting observation at Baratillo.net about the increasing number of bloggers being invited to cover events. It goes:

I do not know if you notice it but in the past few months there has been an increase in the number of events bloggers have been invited to. There have been more than a baker’s dozen of food tours. And there have been more tech events than Snow White and her Seven Dwarfs. And a lot of bloggers have been invited to these events.

They happen one way or the other, most of the time. And it is a good thing bloggers are invited. But are there times when a blogger abandon his role as a blogger and starts to be the defacto spokesperson or salesman of a product the event launches? Is this a good or bad thing? Are the principles of the blogger compromised? Does it seem that the blogger has sold his soul for a shiny new product because it was given away for free or he/she is part of the viral campaign?

In essence by doing such things does the blogger depart from his original role and thus become just a mouthpiece of the product? He ceases to become a blogger and starts being the Goebbels – the online propaganda Czar of the product.

As you would read along, you’ll be encountering words like “objectivity,” which is an idea familiar among journalists. What is objectivity? The answer to that question will likely lead you to endless debates. I would rather use responsibility. But that’s another issue. Anyway, let’s go back to the article.

Has the blogger by doing this sold his or her soul to the Devil? A devil that comes in the form of a free meal, a shiny new camera or even a new phone?

These are questions that have been from time to time in my thoughts as I see things shaping in the community. It is a concern. It is a similar concern to that mania of hits, page impressions and ranking mania one sees among blogs … but let us leave that alone for awhile.

A few things to consider or thoughts that come to my mind:The blogger has the option to write a post or not and f the blogger then decides to write a post, a series of posts or even publicly state that he or she believes in the product is this wrong?

Only if he does not believe in the product or he is doing this without giving the product a critical eye.

If a blogger does not believes in a product and then endorses it or even promotes it then I think he or she or I (if that were case) would be selling out – dropped the role of the blogger and become the salesperson of the product.

Here comes the dilemma. One way out of this is not to write about the product or whatever is being promoted. Why don’t they write about something that is not related to the event. Or probably they can focus on certain issues? I remember writing a product review in the past. When it came out, I was branded a “pro-this,” and “anti-that.” The review narrated my personal experience with that certain product, which meant it highlighted the pros and cons, and general observations compared with other existing rival products. Mind you, it’s really hard to do reviews because it takes time and keen observation to point out what’s hot and what’s not.

People have their biases. Perhaps the best way of approaching the dilemma cited in the article is to become more responsible about what you write. Just my two cents’ worth.

Twitter gives real-time info about China earthquake

Twitter, an online service that allows people to send bursts of information from their mobile devices to an online platform, has become an important tool for reporting about the developments in China after the earthquake.

This news story from AFP reveals that news organizations were picking up leads from people who were twittering. Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO, California–The world had real-time news about China’s massive earthquake as victims dashed out “twitter” text messages while it took place, in what was being touted Tuesday as micro-blogging outshining mainstream news.

As the earth shook with tragic consequences, people in the parts of China that felt the quake used their mobile telephones to send terse messages using the service provided by the San Francisco-based Twitter Inc.