There is a critic by a certain group of bloggers towards another group of bloggers and the recipient of the critic is labelled as "elitis." The so-called "elitis" group were accused of raking in income of RM20,000 a month.
Wow! That is supposedly the basic salary of PKNS General Manager or Azmin Ali's alleged monthly take home income as PKNS Director. Do I wish?
It is not possible, thus let's not make a mountain out of this guesswork.
Referring to both Dewan Bahasa Pustaka and Kamus Lengkap, there is no such a word as 'elitis' in Bahasa Malaysia. But let's assume it is meant to be the English word, elitist, which is derived from the word elite.
Elite could be associated with snobbishness or dominance but the Oxford dictionary described it as select group or class. The word elite is also used in military operations like a certain special mission or elite force. Eliticism is associated with reliance and dominance of certain select group.
Ah ha ... now I am getting the grasp of it. Perhaps, some understanding of the blogging game is needed. May I repeat, I will be talking of the blogging game, and not blogging.
Out of Context
From my daily blog surfing, this term "elitis" was first seen at Papa Gomo's blog. That term could have come from another person. It doesn't matter.
Whether it is his creative term, his associate seem to be using the same label. Gelombang Wangsa Maju quoted this "elitis" group claim that if they jump ship, Barisan Nasional will be in trouble.
Being in that closed door session, that is taken out of context and not taking account the jest and jibe manner it was said. So does the one about hate UMNO. There was reasons to hate or get fed-up with UMNO for the arrogance, opportunistic and inconsiderate attitude of individuals.
Before going any further, there is a basic rule of the game broken here. What is usually discussed in closed door session should remain closed.
But one can't blame them when the organisers themselves were taking pictures and videos. And they did not emphasise to the attendee clear and loud enough that it is a closed door session.
If this group of bloggers got the wrong perception and had to vent it out openly, there is nothing to stop them. It is fair game. It is certainly fair game then to explain that it is a wrong perception.
Hopefully, we remain focus on the bigger battle ahead.
Most of us and bloggers including yours truly, work or socialise or exchange information and views within a select group i.e. a team.
I do have a so-called team or associates and our's ranges from newbies to veteran, young to the equally as 'young', and other characteristics.
One can't help not to be selective because the blogging game works within a circle of trust. It is simply too cumbersome to manage, and too dangerous to leakage to be too inclusive.
So, Jangan kecik hati. Thus one can't help being misunderstood as snobbish.
Furthermore, we hardly meet that often thus every other opportunity to sit together is seldom seized upon. Maybe, we should avoid public events and invitation for functions.
The team idea is similar to the manner Papa Gomo develop and work within his circle of trust of several blogs. In fact, he has done well to be the 11th top pro-BN bloggers. His team did very well too. Well done!
This blog is just glad to be make the top 100 SOPO list. But it has never been the objective.
Team blogging is a common part of the game. It is common in both BN side and Pakatan Rakyat side. In Pakatan Rakyat, the leaders deals with the team leaders. One certain leader in Pakatan Rakyat has four teams at his disposal to work his propaganda. We can't be sure if UMNO knows the existence of such teams.
UMNO's digital divide
Despite the UMNO-led Government that established the Internet and wider coverage of telephony services, UMNO does not understand the blogging game and do not see it from the perspective of psywar.
The cardinal mistake that leaders or management (except Najib) in UMNO made is to assume bloggers as reporters. To them, bloggers primary role is to provide coverage or to report this and that.
They don't know and do not want to ask. What can we say?
While blogging can be dubbed as citizen journalism, it is not confined to citizen reporting. This is the reason why they could not fathom the many roles bloggers have been doing quietly. They would be surprised if they know.
Orang UMNO personalities tend to be too rigid by party discipline, loyalty, and insecurity. Another thing is they have a tendency as politicians to be publicity crazy. Bahaya cerita pada dema.
Many such roles are done in one and many circle of trusts. Some of these teams do work with other teams on selective game by supporting and promoting each other.
Satu lagi about UMNO's mistake in blogging.
Readers are only attracted to independent bloggers. But they tend to established blogs with the names of their UMNO Division or Branches or formalised groupings like UMB or BPN with flags and logos. It only turned off readers.
The same happen to that of PAS and PKR.
UMNO's situation on the cyberspace can be described by this quote from the January 22, 2010 edition of Small Wars Journal (available here) on the strategic situation of the American army on cyberwar:
“Our enemies are winning in the information environment, while we continue to discuss and debate how to operate in this environment. Our adversaries are using simple, cost-effective means to close the physical battle space gap by taking control of the narrative and effectively subverting with their radical ideology and propaganda. It is absolutely critical for every government agency within the U.S. government to participate, coordinate, cooperate, and arrive at a final, integrated and definitive standard of Strategic Communications against ... ”To many old time pro UMNO cybergame players, it has long been a frustrating one to make UMNO understand, appreciate and adapt, if doing that quantum leap is a tall order.
UMNO has the resources - within and without - the organisation. It has the brain power, manpower, information, database and finance at their disposal. They are quite capable of harnessing it.
The problem is those in positions of authorities are stuck in past analog ways in this increasingly digital world. The game may remain the same but it is played differently.
There is then the organisation attitude issue to contend with. It is claimed as Malay characteristics but does not necessarily has to be so.
The usual being that petty arrogance, insecurity and ignorance leading to jealousy. Honest and frank views are taken to heart and at times retaliated with slanders. The frustation from this usual and predictable ordeal could push one to the brink of hate.
The reason the hate word came about in a close session discussion had to be seen from the context it was explained. Blogger Anuar Mohd Nor recently initiated a discussion in his blog to talk about this pent-up frustration.
Unfortunately, the manner he emphasised could be easily misconstrued as only financial. It is as though money is the underlying issue.
Although financial assistance come in handy to secure equipments and supplement the monthly Internet and telephony bills, the real issue is hardly about financial.
Having been involved a bit more than 10 years in the political cyberspace but longer in political campaigns locally and abroad, money was never the consideration and motivation. Not even during the days, one was skint. The sense of accomplishment from meeting appreciative souls was sufficient.
Forget what most Internet millionaire say, the 5% success rule applies. And it is most unrealistic to expect political blogging can generate money - be it from advertisement or subscription or sponsorship.
If there is any monetary gain, it is the appreciation from some readers that open one to off-line writing and consulting opportunities. Most of such opportunities is not in the area of socio-political or blogging but economic and corporate.
Unlike journalist who are professionally paid writers, blogging is not a profession but a passion.
One need a job or skill or profession to support this passion. It is the knowledge, experience and network from one's job or skill or profession that provide the base to build on in blogging.
Blogs are build or become popular for many peculiar reasons. Some for their reputation, for good or bad. Some for being independent, honest and forthright qualities.
Some as newsbreaker, expose and insider news. Some for their astute analysis. Some as aggregator and distributor of information.
The last seldom by-pass the imagination of many but that is of strategic importance in political game. That is what Malaysia Today was. Without which, it is just Raja Petra Kamaruddin writing his No Holds Barred and Corridors of Power columns.
To stand above the rest, it is not about high hits and good Alexa ranking. It could sometimes be from the impact of ones writing. If a newsbreak caught on and become the discussion of the blogosphere, why do one worry about hits?
Sometimes it is better to go niche than being a generalist. For instance, blogs specialising in Kedah issues like Kedah Lani, Biaqpila and Kedah Times stands out. My Husin Lempoyang will always attract crowd despite not as frequently updated because there is not many political satire blog around.
Sometimes, the game is about effective reach. It is about having niche segment of readers.
Jalani Harus may not be in top 100 but his expose on airtime scandal here is getting someone shitting in their pants.
It is similar to Business Times having low circulation compared to Harian Metro but read by those who owns and run the country. It is the influence of one's writing on the decision maker, public and event.
In political blogging, the game is about reach and influence. It is not about just one blog but promoting and disseminating news and information capable of influencing voters.
The frustating part is sometimes dumb and twisted news and information is the one that influence voters. This is where we need to educate our voters.
This process was described by Jeff Ooi once as the game of α, β, and γ and both side of the political divide knows it. But I am not quite sure if UMNO leaders and management understand the game.
See the diagram below and try to decipher the α, β, and γ game:
Forget the real scientific meaning. The two diagram shows penetration and dispersion of information.
There are other models too but that model basically mean no bloggers are too big or too small as long as they know what they are doing and not trying to be reporters.
No doubt many bloggers were operating like reporters doing field and reconnaissance work. But that was the time of Kalimullah's NST and his censorship grip and spin on all mainstream newspapers.
Bloggers should explore roles beyond that.
An important role not appreciated and understood by UMNO is the role of strategist. The nearest to it would be the Information Chief. The strategist is almost like a General in the war room pushing model soldiers, tanks, and ships around a map.
But in the political psywar, it is pushing news, information, and many other stuff. The operators of war room must not dunce and imbecile. Will talk of the many other stuff later.
There is also the battle or war objective to contend with. Is the political psywar about winning Galas and Batu Sapi? How does that defer for Hulu Selangor and Bagan Pinang?
Are there different cyber objectives? Off course, it defers with the terrain and situation. We can talk about terrain and situation later.
For many old time players like KMU people, Syed Akbar, Big Dog, maybe myself, and others, we have seen the game moved from the days of use-net, forum and e-groups to portals and websites. Then it turn into blogs, and now facebooks and twitters.
Where will it move next?
That should have been what Ahmad Maslan should be thinking. And he should appreciate the digital divide in information and how to bridge and handle it. He raised money to get Obama's Scott Goldstone to come here, didn't he?
By the next change, hopefully the Parpukaris, GAPs, Pisaus, Papa Gomo and his Gelombangs, and the rest are ripe and ready, and entrusted to take charge. I hope to be hopeful.
About other model than α, β, and γ said above, the other stuff, terrain and situation, battle objectives, roles, and etc., hmmm ... maybe that's too lengthy to be free. Perhaps more than RM20,000?
* Edited and updated 1/12/10 8:30 AM