On Getting Press and What To Do With It

At this very moment, my picture has come out on several newspapers in an advertorial by Lipton for their Milk Tea, featuring an event I attended a few weeks ago. Hence I’ve been called and texted by friends re this phenomenon.

This bothers me obviously, because now my extreme handsomeness and rugged muscularity is all over the world to see. Sigh. As if I have enough problems with the pap.

But seriously folks, this is exactly what I didn’t wanna happen, especially given I represented Kikay Exchange. It was a workday and so I went on Jill’s behalf, then bang, I got my ugly mug taken in the middle of sipping the stuff (which is delicious btw – no I’m not obligated to say that).

I am often invited to numerous events and this coming week I already have three. Many of these are women related due to Mom and Kikay, and so it’s appropriate that as much as possible I try to drag a girl along to represent these for the photo opps. Unfortunately, this ideal is not always available, so I try to keep a low profile and just keep an eye out for things to write about (which should always be first and foremost in every blogger’s mind, especially when they are invited to events. I’ll be talking about that in my talk this week).

I’ve been pretty successful avoiding the cameras for the past two years, until today. Now I’m listed there as “Gary from Kikay.exchange”, (why do they keep missing the “.ph” btw?).

Well, anyway here’s my two cents about bloggers as ‘personalities’:

This seeming rush of publicity is very new to me, given I had always been the one giving it and so now the tables are turned. My take? I think it is unfortunate that the blogging world has a tendency to focus on personalities as opposed to the content they produce.

Let me make my philosophy on this crystal clear. The ‘star’ of the show are my websites. People like Kikay, Mom and Ball Exchange because of the content we produce for it. They don’t like it because of Gary Mercado, Jill Sabitsana, JenCC Tan and John Dacanay. They like them because of the content we just happen to have produced. The spotlight is, and always should be, on our work, not on us.

This philosophy I learned when I was writing for the Inquirer. Did I believe for one nanosecond that the VIP treatment accorded to me by some of the biggest companies in the country was because I was Gary Mercado? HELL NO. They treated me, and I admit – almost like royalty – because I wrote for the Inquirer. Assuming that I’d get the same treatment otherwise is stupid. I completely understood this, and tried to work as best as I can within that framework. All the good writers I met via that stint, and I met a lot, understood their roles as well and accepted it. That’s the way the world works. We all knew our place and enjoyed it.

However, I’m not without accepting that things are different in this scenario. And besides, I see some advantages to it. For example, I am itching to launch a service on Mom Exchange that holds great promise, but unfortunately needs a lot of input from users. Sharing information is the spirit of the Internet and is also the best way to use it (why do you think I used the word ‘Exchange’?). It’s not gonna work if I just do it myself, so I will *gasp* need to actually meet people and show my face to them to ask their cooperation.

Now, if I keep my name out of Kikay Exchange, I do so even more for Mom Exchange. I am sooo afraid of confusing it’s audience when they realize that a guy, a single and non – parent at that, is running their (obviously much loved) website.

But over the past few months I’ve realized that it has its advantages, and I will give it a try. So from now on, I’ll try to use it to my advantage. This is uncharted waters, but if it works to help my sites become a better resource for the industries that they are in, I think it’s worth trying.

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