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Men of 2008

Well, here we are. On the cusp of the new year and it is time to crown the Man o’the Year. I’ve not done this before but you have to know that I’m not going by who the biggest newsmaker is, or the most popular, or whatever. Rather, Man 0’the Year goes to the person whose influence was felt the most in the blogosphere. Yep. The blogosphere. Not politics necessarily, and not even the whole blogosphere; rather that part of the blogosphere that I know about.

Oh and, I don’t hold with the p.c. epidemic either, so there isn’t going to be a Person o’ the Year.

Let’s start with the runners up.

If we’re going by the amount of influence exerted, the quick choice would be GMA. But that’s a cop-out. Obviously, in this politics obsessed country – and blogosphere – the head of state would be the most influential person, for good or bad. And besides, it’s so cliched to pick the villain. TIME did that with Hitler, so let’s leave it at that. So, GMA comes in a distant third.

Coming in second was benign-zero: everyone’s favorite heckler – and his own favorite intellectual. Benign-zero, through his monomanic self-promotion, has been moderately successful in forcing people to re-think their initial – some would say knee-jerk – positions. Too bad his reputation and relentless self-promotion gets in the way of his being taken seriously. And that’s why he’s an also ran rather than the Man.

Because he’s so abrasive in his narcissim, he is not as influential as he could be. He hovers somewhere between acceptance and the fringe, never quite belonging to either. However, I have a feeling that once he drops the I’m-better-than-your-entire-nation attitude, a lot more people will be influenced by what he writes.

First runner-up goes to Plurkbuddy. That delightfully insouciant goldfish has not only taken screen-suck to a new level, he has also created a platform where many blogposts are born, dissected, and shot-down. For a blogger, Plurk is a particularly valuable resource because it is the the blogosphere’s pulse – alive and throbbing with vitality.

Unfortunately for Plurkbuddy, he doesn’t actually shape the discussion. Like a catalyst, he provides the spark but over where the conflagration goes he has no contribution. Close, little goldfish, but no cigar.

So we fnally come to the man of the year. And it’s a toofer.

These two Men o’the Year – working separately – have done more for the Pinoy blogosphere than most. By enshrining blogs in a document of tremendous national import, my first honoree successfully elevated the general public’s awareness of the blogosphere and midwifed the birth of blogging as a significant presence in the intellectual landscape of the country.

With quiet diligence and dedication, my second honoree channeled the scattered explosions of outrage and delight into a booming voice that added a delicious new layer of complexity to the national conversation.

Together, these two gentlemen have transformed the face of Filipino blogging. While it’s hard to tell whether this metamorphoses is for the best, the fact remains that they made 2008 a heady time to have a computer and an opinion.

Manolo Quezon and Nick of Filipino Voices – my Men o’ the Year.

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