In April of 2012, JoeAm got banned by Get Real Post. His motivation changed. He did not announce this. But it changed. Benigno changed it.
Joe is a competitor. He played basketball from age 7 until a few years ago when his knees forced him to retire. He played baseball from little-league through high school. He swam competitively. He was a ruthless spiker and blocker in college volleyball, a backhand deficient tennis player, and a lightening quick badminton player. He proved good at ping pong, pool, rock climbing, spelunking and chasing girls. He was a gross failure at anything dealing with ice, like skiing and skating, for instance. Don't ask about his sledding recollections; they are painful.
Joe learned that the win was found in the competition, not the score.
Here was benigno's parting taunt at JoeAm just before he gave JoeAm the boot:
- Hey I’ve got an idea, Mr Joe America. How about we run an online experiment that goes like this:
- (1) I put all comments of yours subsequent to this in the Spam queue.
- (2) You go off and get up on your soapbox elsewhere (say, somebody else’s blog, like yours maybe) and announce to the world how the Admins of GR Post don’t practice “free speech” here.
- (3) We both sit back for the next couple of weeks (or years) and see if:
- (3.a) anyone out there actually cares about what you have to say about our Admin practices here; and,
- (3.b) anyone of the regular commentors here in GR Post actually miss your presence and clamor for a reinstatement of your comments.
- I think the above little experiment will be good for a few laughs.
JoeAm said to himself, and no one else, until now:
"I know a poor sport when I read one. Okay, game on."
JoeAm took three decisions.:
- "I'll write every day so that readers know to check in on today's article, like reading the newspaper every morning."
- "I'll change my approach from grousing like benigno to accepting the Philippines as it is, and I'll support Team Filipino."
- I'll see if the GRP malcontents can take what they dish out.
The chart down there shows page visit trends to JoeAm's blog.
What used to be 50 page-reads a day has become 400 page-reads a day. Yesterday was 462. Today is on a pace to exceed 600. That is still comparatively small, but readership is clearly up, and it is undeniably a thinking, well-read society. It is satisfying to note that it is also a polite society, in the main. Respectful. Classy. I believe that if you treat people with respect, they will return that respect, and that is pretty much the tenor of the blog.
Readership has assumed a life of its own. No matter what I write, the readers are there, 24 hours per day.
Comment is also more active these days. People come and go. I miss those who visited for a time then left, brianitus, Jack, Jim-e, but they have lives to lead, you know? And some new visitors become regular commenters. Johnny and andrew and DocB. Edgar and Cha are cerebral anchors and have contributed their own articles. It is a flow now. Old friends occasionally stop by to drop off a comment (Attila, Greg, Mariano, J, patrioticflip, Angel). It's cool. A real society. Graduates and newbies and old friends popping in.
I appreciate the loyalty because I am confident I have offended all of you at one time or another. Maybe a joke that went wrong, or a criticism that was too strong or completely off base. It is a risk that I accept to try to write a somewhat edgy literary style. I don't really intend to offend, and I think most understand that. Well, I don't mind offending Senator Sotto or benigno, two birds of similar feather . . .
The blog has recently been featured in two popular newspaper columns and is being read by numerous opinion makers. One article even ended up with President Aquino, and I suspect he stops by now and then when he is winding down. If he can shop gun prices on Google, he can pop in to see what is on Joe's eccentric mind today. One of his communications people, MLQIII, has popped in and other notables now know Joe America.
About a month ago, after popularity got ticked up by the newspaper articles, I asked, "what can I do to keep readership up now that people are aware of the site?" I started getting more active in making comments at other blog sites. I just keep my mug shot and writing in front of people and hope they get curious or think, "oh, yeah, I read that guy a while back, I think I'll see what he's written lately".
And that has indeed produced a steady flow of visitors. I do this without prostituting myself, generally refraining from placing my own links in other people's blogs. Just thoughts that I hope contribute to constructive discussions on those blogs.
Andrew Lim has been instrumental in keeping the flow of comments coming by posting links and references in Facebook and other blogs. He finds an article he thinks makes good points and he broadens the reach of those ideas. He has brought over a lot of new readers.
I appreciate it when readers do that, extending the reach of the articles and the dialogue attached to them. The comments are as important as the articles.
What are JoeAm's aspirations?
If given a choice between producing a popular, broad-reaching blog read by thousands or a quality blog read by a couple of hundred opinion-leaders, I would most definitely aspire toward the latter. This readership would accept the views of an American blogger in the Philippines because it is the IDEAS that count, not whether the writer is American or Filipino. Readers would recognize it is the crossing of two different cultures that provides new insights. And this readership would appreciate word play, satire and quirky humor. Sometimes even off-color or irreverent humor.
This would be a readership that doesn't mind bending its own mind . . . or challenging JoeAm's.
It would be a readership that occasionally gets so fired up about a topic that the reader pens a long, thoughtful comment that builds depth and adds new perspectives to the discussion.
I do know that I aspire NOT to write a blog that is a pit of shallow, concealed manipulations and bitterness where tearing down others is misrepresented as insight.
I'd like to see JoeAm and readers continue to work at being genuine, a real society of honor, searching for important truths . . .searching for solutions, not just problems . . . and expressing thoughts in ways that seek to enlighten, amuse or inspire.
The competition is in the playing of the game.
Cheers. Thanks for being here.