If you came from the Straits Times or the blurb in My Paper (as seen below), congratulations on finding me!. If you’re feeling lost, I suggest taking a look at my About page which details my life’s adventures in one convenient place.
I’m really fortunate to be surrounded by supportive family and friends. This particular story was pitched to the press by my sister Lynda, a talented PR lady who rushed me through the wee morning of Thursday to get this story in on time. Besides my sister, I’d also like to recognize Priscilla, who has been a sweet friend for cheering me on and a partner-in-crime for keeping me informed on Singapore’s social media scene. As crazy as it sounds, it seems as if I have two pretty awesome publicity agents looking out for me.
From these articles, a quirky incident involved Singaporeans emailing folks at this university, to pass the word and to ask for my blog address (which wasn’t mentioned in the Straits Times). This resulted in my blog getting the attention of a few academic administrators over here, to the sound of me being a mini-celebrity. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be ATAS about it. Instead, I see it as a great credential to have for showing others the pragmatic side to blogging.
Now I’d like to share some of the Q&A that didn’t go to print. If you’re a blogger (or a prospective one), consider this as a motivational health-check. Simply take these questions and prepare for your own press interviews in future!
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1. When did you start blogging?
As my blog archives will show, I officially started blogging back in 2004. I say “official” because before that, I was using blogger.com as a way to store my thoughts, less so to socialize. It was only after learning about celebrity bloggers in Singapore that I realized how blogging was more than simply updating web pages, but more of a literary spectacle.
2a. What is your purpose in blogging?
I’ve previously created a comic strip on my blog to explain this, but here’s an abstract:
First: To help make the web more useful.
(i.e. bloggers help make things more findable)
Second: To be recognized as an expert in my field.
(i.e. sharing what I know makes me the “go-to” guy)
Third: To get to know people like you.
(i.e. by making my life open, I gain trustworthiness)
2b. What content do you blog on?
One way to become a popular blogger is to have a focus. I’m the opposite, simply because I feel that life has too much to offer. I started out blogging academically, but realized I could do so much more. Since I enjoy the cultural aspect of technology, I’ve blogged about the different ways in which we could use existing tools. This included anything from using online video, del.icio.us and twitter as ways of streaming one’s life autonomously (i.e. life as a social cyborg), to participating and understanding particular online phenomena. When the Copybot tool was unleashed upon Second Life, it allowed less ethical residents to replicate intellectual property and to copy identities. I wrote about the Copybot incident, compared it with Star Trek’s replicator technology and highlighted the subsequent communist way of life in the Federation. This caught on with CNN Money as well as renown game theorist, Ralph Koster. So what do I tend to blog about? In Singapore, it’s rojak, with a dash of cyberculture.
2c. How often do you update it?
I used to update my blog several times a day. To be well-connected in the blogosphere, I used to spend a lot of time commenting and responding to other blog posts of interest as well. Nowadays as the many have become bloggers themselves, I feel less of a need for me to engage in matters accessible elsewhere. Naturally, I’ve scaled back, writing only when I’ve something unique or important to share.
3. Why do you decide to join the contest, how did you chance upon it?
My academic mentor Alex Halavais first reminded me of the college blogger scholarship this year. Since application was easy, I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t expect a response, but this week I received an email from the scholarship organization notifying me that I was selected to be one of the top 20 college bloggers, out of hundreds of other contenders.
4. Whose blog do you surf most? Any star blogger you admire or learn from?
My favorite blogger changes over time. I love to discover new talent and one I’ve been watching since the start of this year is Justine Ezarik. She’s the next generation of bloggers whom embodies social technology into the extreme. As an attractive 23 year old, she videoblogs, lifecasts, twitters and blogs all at once. More importantly though, she has showmanship, a digital virtuoso fluent with the ebb and flow of the blogosphere.
5. Tell us a bit more about yourself, your age/ how many years are you in US/ schooling or working background.
I’m now the ripe old age of 30 years, where I’m currently pursuing my doctoral in Communication in the University at Buffalo (State University of New York). I’ve been here since my undergraduate program and decided to carry on through my Masters after being awarded a graduate assistantship at the Teaching & Learning Center (TLC) on campus. At the TLC, I give workshops to faculty and staff on engaging students as well as the research community through the use of social media, such as blogs, wikis, podcasting, streaming video and social networks. Besides teaching, I am presently studying how citizens negotiate Internet regulations enforced in their particular country.
6. How do you intend to use the $10k scholarship if you win?
It’s a financial challenge just being a student, but I manage to get by with the support of my parents and an assistantship at the ETC. If I win this US$10k scholarship, I’m proposing to let the collective public decide on the wisest way to use it, by taking suggestions on my blog and picking the best ones to execute.