BLOG-O-RAMA:  A  MERGER  OF  FORM  AND  CONTENT

MANILA, January 18, 2006
 (BULLETIN) Success in the blogging world need not be measured by popularity or by the number of Technorati links you have. Sometimes all it takes is to be recognized by experts in the industry to know that what you have is a noteworthy blog in your hands. Such is the case with "The Histrionics of a Balding Drama King" which won the Best Website in the personal category of the recently-concluded Philippine Web Awards. The person behind this blog is young graphic designer Jose Illenberger, a Fine Arts graduate from the University of the Philippines who also won a Webby in the past for doing the website of a top university in Manila. A look at his CV tells you that he is no stranger to the online world, being the creative spirit behind some of the notable corporate and institutional websites in the country. A peek at the design of "Histrionics..." also tells the reader that the design is far from the ordinary. More in the following interview:

Q. Please tell us something about yourself.

A. I'm the Creative Director of Fuse Media, inc. a graphic design firm based in Ortigas, Pasig. I'm turning 29, married, with two kids. I also run a small arts studio with my Davao based friend Bong Segovia called Studio Arsenic (www.studioarsenic.com)

Q. How did you start to blog? How many blogs do you maintain?

A. Just one, The histrionics of a balding drama king (http://blog.illenberger.org )

I unoriginally thought of the title after watching Lindsay Lohan's teen flick confessions of a teenage drama queen. I noticed blogs usually had high falutin titles so I decided I wanted mine to be as high falutin as possible. My blogger account started out as a news update page for a non-blog personal site I had years back called Redberger ( www.redberger.net). When I lost interest in pursuing that and given the popularity of online diaries, I decided to transform it into a full time blog in 2004.

Q. How did it feel winning the personal category in the Philippine Web Awards? Please share some anecdotes. What do you think are the advantages of winning these kinds of derbies?

A. This year was my second PWA award, so I wasn't too excited. It was my first time to go on stage though and the experience of getting up there felt surreal. What amazed me though was that of all my entries the one that I least expected to get an award was the one that surprised me.

People have been bothering and insulting me in my guestbook ever since I won at the PWA, I had to take the guestbook offline. I didn't know there was such fierce competition for the personal category na meron ng nagagalit at di sila nanalo. So I guess yun yung downside when joining derbies like this one.

Q. What do you like about blogging as a personal activity? What is the best thing that blogging has brought you since you started?

A. Well, I blog mostly to entertain friends: offline and virtual. It's a stress reliever I guess. Mga jokes I get from the mail, funny pictures, and interesting links. I share it with them via my blog and sometimes they put comments which most often make my day. Parang natural drug. And to answer your second question I guess it got me a webby and once a site of the week award from pinoyblog. I know I'm no writer but having been recognized by fellow pinoy bloggers and even by the web industry… I guess it is kind of flattering even if I don't take my blog too seriously.

Q. Which do you think is more important, design or content? How do you create a balance between the two?

A. As a graphic designer by trade, I have always believed that in order to have a good product, form and function have to complement each other in order to be successful. Content can survive without graphic design but it wouldn't stand out with its audience if it isn't attention-grabbing enough. Graphic design can survive without content but it'll be mostly style without intent, message or function. The key is to have balance between the two. Ergo when it comes to blogs, I guess the best blogs are those that have appropriate presentation and quality content. I'm not saying mine does. He he. I guess I'll settle for style. Lolz.

Q. Do you abide by a certain blogging philosophy (ies)? What are these?

A. I never write anything too personal on my blog because I have no way of knowing who might be reading it. I am no writer so I try to write what I know and use the vernacular where I feel more comfortable using it. My posting topics range from personal opinions, graphic design related BS and the usual jokes and email forwards. I try to be humorous albeit in my own weird way when I can. I think it works naman but I guess sa mga friends lang that know me personally.

Q. Your online/blogging habits.

A. Hopefully at least one entry a week. But no commitments. My boss reads my blog so he'd know kung papetiks-petiks lang ako sa oras ng trabaho.

Q. Future plans for your blog.

A. Maybe a re-skinning and a re-titling. I haven't really thought about it.

Q. What do you think are the qualities of a good blogger.

Hard to say. Blogs are supposed to be glorified diaries so who's to say which makes for a good personal journal? It's all relative. To each his own.

Q. What blogging trends do you see in the future? Do you think blogging is here to stay?

Already blogs are being used for business and other useful ends. Locally it is mostly used as personal online journals. I would like to believe that in the next couple of months or at the worst in the next couple of years the Philippines would be able to catch up with this trend.

(For comments and inquiries, email annalyn.jusay@gmail.com)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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