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A historical chronology of English language blogs in Malaysia

OK, the title pretty much says it all :-)

To get an overall view of the history of blogs in Malaysia, and my fieldwork, I've made a table.

Of course, this only represents what I know of, and the events and so that I was able to attend during my fieldwork. There are many many thousands of blogs out there, and I can never hope to cover all of what blogs have been to all bloggers over the years.

So - I'd really appreciate any feeback! Anything I've missed out, got wrong... please tell me!

It's too long to post as a table (or rather, I don't know how to convert the Word table into html), so I've uploaded it as a pdf.

Just to give you an idea of what it looks like, here's a screenshot - click on the picture to get the full version!
history of malaysian blogs

Alpha Project bloggers

Doing an interview recently, I realised that I am the epitome of the bad blogger! My crime? I am inconsistent - I blog in spurts, but not regularly. A good blogger needs to blog regularly (at least 3 times a week), or at least consistently (e.g. every Sunday), so that the readers know what to expect and don't waste their time. I suppose that with Google Reader or RSS one can get around that, but still...

Anyway, I will make an effort to be more consistent from now on (but I've said that before, haven't I?)

Anyway - a few things have happened since my last post: a couple of screenings ('District 9' - great!, 'Murderer' - pretty lame), a birthday party, I bought a new super chair, and continued to be stressed out by work :-|

Yesterday, there was the launch of 'Project Alpha' (recognise the design?)
Project Alpha launch

It was combined with an Adidas promotion at the Centre Court in Megamall - you could get a "Mystery prize" by saying the password. It's "Drymax", but don't all go rushing to use it. Unless you really want a sample of "Tropical Passion - Adidas fragrance for women" which is all I got, or even a keychain (Tian Chad got both). I was so not impressed...
Tian Chad with Adidas gift

On the other hand, if you go there and buy Adidas shower gels and stuff like that to a value of RM45 or more (I think), you can win extra prizes (a bag, fragrance,...).

I also met Casey Liew, and Dustyhawk was also there, and helped me to choose a microphone afterwards, for my interviews.

After the trailer for Project Alpha was shown, there was a foosball competition. The KennySia and Jojo Struys team beat Nicolekiss and (er sorry I'm not sure...) beautifulnara (thanks Casey!)
KennySia Jojo Struys and Nicolekiss playing foosball

and, in spite of looking very focused,
sixthseal and fourfeetnine playing foosball

Sixthseal and Fourfeetnine lost to Redmummy and Budiey
Redmummy and Budiey playing foosball

The final was won by the Kenny and Jojo team,
Kenny Sia, Jojo Struys and Adidas person

and everyone got something anyway :-) Ahh the life of a blogebrity, freebies galore...
Bloggers at Project Alpha launch with Adidas

OK OK I know they work hard for it. By for example posting (and posing) regularly!

So that was that - I must say I'm intrigued by Project Alpha though - it's going to be an "Online TV Show" - kind of like the Malaysian Dreamgirl I suppose, but focusing on the life of bloggers.

When I think of it, calling it an "Online TV Show" is an interesting mix of terms - by definition, if it's online it's not television: in media studies terms I suppose what it means it is a television genre of programming, but it's distributed online.

It will feature one blogger every week, with a three minute segment every day. So it's like TV in that it is moving pictures with sound, broadcast at a certain time; but unlike TV because one can view it at any time, and it's short. Having it short suits online media - you can watch it in the time it takes to read a blogpost, and it's not going to take forever to download or cost too much if you're using a mobile device.

I must say, Malaysian blogging is always throwing up surprises. This is something of a glimpse into the future of new media I'd say. However, at this point the production of such a programme is taken over by professionals: my guess is that the next generation produsers, will be producing their own short videos. Sure you already have vlogs, but what I mean is that at some point, someone will be putting together an edited clip which would cover similar topics that blog posts do, in a way that is more than someone talking to a web cam.

Advertlets Malaysian Bloggers Evening

I went to another blogger party last Thursday (participant observation is such a drag sometimes... ;-)) - for once it was not a Nuffnang party, but one organised by Advertlets (I didn't have a camera, so I'm borrowing some pics from others - sources indicated)


The event was at Envie - a nice little club, with an 'interactive dance floor'. This is the best picture I could find


But actually it's more interesting than that - it's a 'touch sensitive' dance floor, and each square is like a 'pixel' and there are games possible. We played 'Musical chairs' on it (I got a Google t-shirt - uber geek!) - but that was the only game I saw, and I would have liked to see more. They're also a bit sensitive about the RM250K dance floor, and you're not allowed to be holding your drink while on it.

The emcees were the stars of the 8TV series Blogger Boy (I think you can watch the episodes online too) - there was free flow until 10, and lots of bloggers partying, camwhoring, drinking, doing silly things for prizes, and generally messing about :-) I met a few bloggers I know already: kruel74 (who put me on the guest list, thanks!), Tian Chad, and Dustyhawk - and of course the founder/CEO/etc. of Advertlets himself - birthday boy Josh Lim :-)

I also met the sole employee of Google in Malaysia (who provided the Google t-shirts) - he told me that you can now get Blogger in BM, which was news for me. However, a lot of people prefer to use the English version because that's what they're used to already, even if they blog in BM.
Blogger in Bahasa Malaysia, Malay language

It was a nice evening, smaller than the usual Nuffnang event - but with nice people and a good atmosphere as well. There were very few 'Nuffnangers' there - this fits in with previous observations of other meets I've been too: AMBP, All-Blogs, etc. Generally, most bloggers seem to stick with one group: this leads to questions about the 'blogosphere' as whole... Some bloggers have said to me that there is no real 'blogosphere' - what do you think?


Other blog posts about the event (please tell me if I've missed any):
• Bitchy Mitchy: Thursdays full of rainbow
• Let there be chaos: Hatin' On the Club
• Life's Journey: How are we, my Friday feathered friends?
• Mai Tomyam: Malaysian Bloggers Evening 2009: Super Party Time for Bloggers
• nadea.maradana's blog: Malaysian Blogger Evening by Josh Lim
• RowYourBoat Blog: Party @ Envie Lounge
• Stephen's Blogs: Malaysian Blogger's Evening - Party Like A Blogstar!
• Tian Chad @ ???: Envie Club With A Little Surprise!
• Yantz.Yanttie lif3st0ry: EVeninG p@rty for bl0ggErs

myBlogS 2009 - First Malaysian blog survey results released

[edit 11/09/09: I just realised that the title of this post is a bit misleading - myBlogS 2009 was not the first Malaysian blog survey, what I meant was that these are the first results of the myBlogS 2009 survey.
Previous surveys have been done by Tan Jun-E and syed syahrul zarizi]

Well I've been kind of busy lately, and finally got round to submitting a paper to a journal (my first one! Wish me luck!) - it's based on the paper on Blogwars and Authenticity that I presented at MSC6 last year.

Anyway, I know a lot of people want to know what the results for the survey are, so I've decided to do it like this:
1) Release the full summarised results for anyone who wants to look at them - download them here.
2) Put up more detailed analysis of different portions as and when I complete them.

The reason I'm doing it this way is because I have no idea when I'll have completed the full analysis of the survey (it was quite long, and there are many angles to it), but at least people can have a look at the overall results.

I'll be happy to respond to any questions and requests for analysis on particular angles. For example, looking at the summarised results you can see that 54.2% of the bloggers that responded were female, and that 51.4% of the respondents are trying to make money from their blog; but you may want to know how many females were trying to make money compared to males. You can't tell that from the summary, but if you ask me I'll do my best to do the analysis for you and then put the results online. I'll also be putting different analyses online as I go forward - the first one will be comparing bloggers' and non-bloggers' views on blogs in general (question 10).

Limitations to the results
As with all social research there are limitations to the conclusions that can be drawn, here are the main ones that I can think of now:
• The survey was in English only - this tends to exclude the non-English language bloggers and readers. As such, it cannot claim to represent Malaysian bloggers as a whole, but a particular portion.
• The sample size is not insignificant, but not very large either. This will possibly induce bias in certain directions - in particular, it is more likely to reflect the kind of blogs I am focusing my research on, and who are more likely to have heard of me. That is, personal/lifestyle blogs.
• In addition, the sample is 'self-selected' - i.e. only people interested enough in the subject matter choose to respond to it, so this induces a bias in favour of a particular type of blogger and/or reader.

Some overall results
The survey was conducted online between March 9 and April 10 2009. 686 started the survey, and 561 completed it, giving a completion rate of 81.2%. Of those who completed it, there were 356 bloggers and 197 non-bloggers (i.e. those who read blogs only).

This is a rough portrait of the average blogger who responded:
The average respondent blogger is a young Malaysian female student, between 18-25 years old, living in KL or Selangor, and of Chinese ethnicity. She has had a blog, in English, for more than two years, updates at least once a week, and has less than 100 unique visitors a day. She is likely to use her real name on her blog, or be identifiable via photos or other information. She has a blog mostly because she likes writing; she wants to keep a track of things she wants to remember; and to keep in touch with friends. Her top three preferred blogging topics are friends, events and travel. She allows unmoderated comments - but will censor comments that are offensive, racially sensitive, make personal attacks or refer to her family.

Making money from her blog is not an important reason for having a blog, but nevertheless she is probably taking advantage of opportunities to make money. In practice she is making less than RM100 a month using Nuffnang, and is not likely to be doing paid advertorials; she has not received any free gifts/tickets/food as a result of her blog and is not likely to have a non-commercial ad or announcement on her blog.

She reads blogs every day, and follows up to ten blogs regularly - she may know her top three bloggers personally, but reads the blogs because they are interesting and/or useful. She will have met some of the bloggers in person, but not too many. She is likely to read the comments in blogs - but not always - and leaves a comment when she has something useful or interesting to add, and may respond to other comments for the same reason.


There's more information than that in the results, particularly about attitudes, but I'll get round to that afterwards.

Compared to most studies of blogs - e.g. Technorati's 'State of the Blogosphere', or Tan & Zawawi's 'Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia, this sample is younger and more female (though the 2006 survey by Microsoft had more female bloggers too). The amount of bloggers with paid advertisements is less than those reported for Asian blogs by Technorati (51.4% and 60% respectively).

As usual, I would more than welcome any comments, suggestions and criticisms. Please feel free to use the comments area below, or to send me an email if you like.

Bloggers are not journalists, and blogs are not newspapers

I've been meaning to blog about this but many things are happening...

Anyway, as readers of joshuaongys or *fourfeetnine* may have noticed, I appeared in an article by NST ten days ago.
Click to enlarge

Being interviewed was new to me - I've been asked my opinion on blogs a few times (e.g. by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the NST (last year sometime) and malaysiakini.tv - but nothing ever seemed to come out of it. This time, the journalist turned up with a photographer and the interview lasted almost an hour - with the photographer hovering around and snapping away constantly. It was an interesting chat, but it made me realise one thing for future reference - the journalist knows less about the subject than me, and therefore may not always be able to ask the right questions. No disrespect to the journalist here, who did a good job condensing my ramblings into coherent and concise points: it's a journalist's job to get information obviously, and if they knew everything they wouldn't have to interview people. But it made me understand more how politicians and people in the public eye must approach journalists - wanting to make sure that their own message is heard, whatever the journalist actually asks.

Another thought is how, as a blogger, I have already got quite used to putting stuff out there for all to see - which was initially a little worrying sometimes. With the interview it was different, however, because I had no control over what was written - the journalist was kind enough to do 'quote check' and show me the draft article for feedback, but in the end she could write whatever she wanted. With a blog I can think about it beforehand, and even if I want take it down afterwards (though that's not usually a good thing for bloggers to do).

Anyway, you can read the article and tell me what you think (click to enlarge).

In terms of research ethics, I also found myself thinking about how much I can say - I have done a few interviews with bloggers already, and learnt some things during them. But part of the conditions of the interview are that I only use that information for academic purposes, and also that I keep the information anonymised. So, for example in relation to how much people are paid for advertorials, I actually have more specific information but I thought that I had better not use it.

Click to enlarge
Another thing that was weird was being asked for my 'Personal Top 10' of various types of blogs. Suddenly I felt some pressure about who I should mention - what if someone felt snubbed that I didn't mention them!? There are really so many blogs out there that are interesting in their own way and I wasn't sure how to choose. Anyway, I decided that the easiest is just to be honest and mention the ones I'm most likely to read, and that are the most likely to appeal to the general reader out there. But in a way I suddenly found myself in a position of potential influence - maybe I would affect the readership of those blogs that I mentioned.

But in fact - not at all. It's been noted before (e.g. by ShaolinTiger) that appearing in the newspaper has little to no effect on incoming blog traffic; the same happened to me. See on the 18th (when the article came out) there is no change, but I got a huge boost of about 1800 hits on the 21st from Audrey whom I had mentioned in my Top 10 (check her out – refreshing attitude and daily whatevers are her thing). This really suggests one thing - people who read newspapers don't read blogs much, and vice-versa.


So, it's interesting to see how there are so many similarities between blogs and newspapers - they use words and images, they appear regularly and articles are written by individuals - but there are key differences. The blog is under the control of one person (with whom the readers can have some sort of direct relationship), but a newspaper is a large organisation; and although in theory they may share similar interests and concerns, their audiences are from different groups.

eLawyer Conference - Be informed!

Last Saturday I attended the ”eLawyer Law Conference 2009 - Blogging & Law”. It was interesting, I got to meet up with some bloggers and also (of course) tell people about the survey – myBlogS 2009 (there are 151 responses so far – have you had your say?).


When I arrived I first spotted Suanie, then also Foong Cheng Leong and Nizam Bashir. I always have difficulties remembering Cheng Leong’s name, because I really knew him first (before I met him) as ‘xes’ - which is his blog that has been around a long time. I had met them before at the Bar Council Blogging and Defamation Forum, so I was familiar with quite a lot of what they said, but it struck me again that spreading this information around is really important for bloggers. I find that there are still too many bloggers who seem to think that just because you’re online, suddenly there are no laws and you can start to act (figuratively) like Marv from Sin City.

I also met kruel74 for the first time, and DiEsE - I forgot to take photos with them though (tsk tsk – lose two points for not being a proper blogger :-P). kuE and CurryEgg were also there, and have done a pretty good job summarising what was said in the two talks; I have also talked about some of the issues before (link above), but here are the ones which stuck in my mind:

First of all, Eddie Law opened the conference and explained what eLayer.com is all about; mostly it’s for lawyers and law students (job announcements, online resources, etc.), but there are also some useful services for ordinary Joes and Janes like you and me.


Legal Q&A: you can submit legal questions and get a professional opinion.
Find a lawyer: you can search for a lawyer near you, and with a particular specialism
S & P Legal Fee Calculator: this will calculate legal fees for Stamp Duty and Sales & Purchase agreements.

Then we had the main talks.

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