Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Margaux Salcedo and the Big Bad Blogger

We have keeping track with both fascination and horror the updates on the Big Bad Blogger, inspired by the expose by the Sunday Inquirer Magazine's Margaux Salcedo entitled Please Don't Give Blogging A Bad Name.

I don't usually write, but after this explosion from the article and the number of comments from both friends and on the net, I felt the need to write. I believe it was a great expose and feel bad that some are attacking Margaux when it's the PRACTICE that she exposed that should be condemned. 

First of all, I have to laud Inquirer for being true to their commitment of having "fearless views", with writers like Margaux Salcedo who are brave enough to expose such tawdry behavior by some - SOME, not all - members of the blogging community.

Even the person who is most suspected of being the Big Bad Blogger had to concede that Margaux was very brave for writing this expose. Wrote Anton Diaz on his Facebook page:
Tourism Philippines
Anton Diaz' reacts on his FB page - 'Nice article by Margaux Salcedo :) The girl has guts :) ' @ 
Margaux has also shown her strength as a writer in that three days later, her article is still the most talked about item in the bloggersphere and twitterverse. If it was anyone else, this topic would probably be dead by now.
Sadly, there are some people who have too much time in their hands whose curiosity is killing them like @momblogger or @digitalfilipino, launching a campaign in the twitterverse (makes me think they are connected to the PR Firm?) to compel Margaux to name the Big Bad Blogger. (Personally, I think they are just trying to increase their number of followers at Margaux Salcedo's expense)

In an effort to force the names out of her, I even read one blog post that was attacking her personally, even making references to a once-posted anonymous blog (big bad non-food bloggers!) claiming that Margaux had some relationship with Erap, a vicious rumor that in time has been proven to be untrue. Now if that isn't bullying, I don't know what is. That was a really low blow showing how pathetic that blogger is. I would put a link but that would only dignify that blogger's "analysis". (Incidentally, I thought she was excellent as spokesperson of Erap. She brought intelligence to his otherwise brainless crowd.)

Margaux has no need to identify the Big Bad Blogger. If you read her article well, you will see that she was talking negatively about the PRACTICE and NOT the person and certainly not the blogging community in general.

@JimAyson stated it most succinctly: "RT @JimAyson: Why is @margauxsalcedo being vilified? She's just pointing out the elephant in the room - the phenomenon of the blogger as a paid hack" .

I think the number of retweets of this tweet will show that on the contrary, a LOT are annoyed by the whining of those who are asking Margaux to "name names".

In fact, after re-reading it, I think Margaux's article was very carefully thought out and very responsibly published.

First she relayed the facts as relayed to her by her source: that a PR Firm had approached the restaurant to handle their social network marketing for a fee of P100,000 a month. Then when they did not agree, the Firm started attacking the restaurant in the blogosphere, then went back to the resto saying they could ask a retraction from the bloggers for the same price. 

But Margaux carefully PROTECTED the blogworld through the following statements: 

1) She even emphasizes that food bloggers have received such a credible reputation as honest reviewers of restaurants; as taken from the nature of blogging. 
"Food bloggers, especially, were revered as reliable sources because they were perceived to be independent of any influence, paying for their own meals and untouched by PR firms.
2) She even went so far as to emphasize that certain bloggers have worked extra hard to maintain their integrity - the BIG GOOD BLOGGERS

"Certain bloggers, like the Marketman (www.marketmanila.com) or Lori Baltazar (www.dessertcomesfirst.com) have worked hard to maintain this integrity."

3) Margaux, a blogger herself,  then even gives the blogger the benefit of the doubt. Even if this Big Bad Blogger was specifically identified to her. If that is not trying to uphold the credibility of the blogging community, I don't know what is.
"One can draw one’s own conclusions from this. Maybe Georgia is overreacting to a negative review. Maybe The Firm was only claiming to have relations with Big Bad Blogger for their own sinister purposes, unbeknownst to Big Bad Blogger. Or maybe the suspicions are true and Big Bad Blogger bows to the highest bidder.

Read it again. She was so careful to protect the blogging community.

Come to think of it, knowing the network of Margaux Salcedo, I bet she personally knows and may even be friends with the Big Bad Blogger. Having run praises for the blogging community herself such as this one, also published in her column in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, she is sure to have had some encounter with him or her. Did it occur to you that maybe she did not identify the Big Bad Blogger to PROTECT him or her? 

It seems that Margaux deliberately kept the identity of the blogger secret because it was the prudent thing to do. She clearly only wanted to send out the message of the existence of the practice and - KINDLY - not necessarily deprive the blogger of his or her source of income.

I think it was not only a brave but a very well-thought out article. I have been a fan of Margaux's writing and I trust not only her instincts but her being a responsible journalist and critic. I hear she is also a lawyer so she certainly knows the law on this. I hope Margaux will not be discouraged by the attacks of know-it-all bloggers who actually don't know it all.

I hope that Margaux will continue to write with this bravery that she has shown, in spite of all these attacks on her by the bad bloggers. More importantly, I hope the blogging community stops to be so defensive and the bad bloggers are eased out. Oh, and I hope Margaux starts blogging again.

In Margaux's final statement she says, "We're watching you." The use of the word "WE" shows that she considers herself as part of the blogging community. It is a simple word of caution to those who are giving blogging a bad name.

We heard you, Margaux. I am willing to bet that the Big Bad Blogger heard you too.

Good one, Inquirer.


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