Featured Blogger: Mike Abonitalla

Michael Abonitalla Blogger Philippines

Every week, iJustDid.org will feature the some of the best, top and talented people in the blogosphere. These talented and inspiring individuals could come from all walks of life and various expertise from Bloggers, Community Managers, Designers and even our loyal Readers. This week’s Featured Blogger is Mike Abonitalla. Get to know him better through the following interview.

1. Tell us about yourself and what do you blog about (niche).

Hello everyone, I’m Mike Abonitalla an online entrepreneur and a blogger. Since my early years I just love thinking about how a certain kind of business works and when I became old enough I started conceptualizing different types of business and realized some of it. Back in the early 1990′s I was introduced to the Internet way before the Philippines was officially connected to the Internet through Bulletin Board Systems or BBS which was then intermittently connected to the Internet in the U.S. From then on I knew this information superhighway will be a worldwide revolution and by 1994 the Philippines was indeed connected to the Internet. During my college days I started conceptualizing how to make money from the Internet and after graduating from college I started one of the first Internet cafe in the Philippines in 1996. In the early 2000 I’m still fascinated with new and innovative business ideas from around the world when surfing the Internet, that’s where I started Negosyo Ideas blog in 2007.

2. How did you get started blogging and what constantly keeps you going?

Back in 2006 I close my main business and I was contemplating on my options. Since I have some extra domain names and an idle web server I started to turn some domain names into a blog or online business. Then by 2007 I registered another domain name which is NegosyoIdeas.com. The fascination of new and innovative business ideas keeps me going to blog even now. Through blogging it allows you to share your ideas to the community.

3. If you would be given a chance to interview someone famous for your blog, who would it be? Why?

There are quite a few but first thing on my mind is Warren Buffett the “Wizard of Omaha” as they fondly called him. He is just one of the richest man on earth and widely considered as the most successful investor of the 20th century and he is a philantrophist too. I read sometime that he offered to have anyone who can shell out 50 grand to have dinner with him and talk about business for the benefit of a charity fund.

4. What has been your greatest achievement through blogging?

Back in 2008 I had a chance to be one of the founding member of CDOBloggers group in Cagayan de Oro City which I then later registered with the SEC to be an officially legal organization of the bloggers community in the City. In 2009 my blog NegosyoIdeas.com got nominated and won the national level of the Philippine Blog Awards under the category of business. Through blogging I get to inspire my readers to start a business of their own through great negosyo ideas.

5. What’s your greatest advice for those who want to get started in blogging?

Blogging is a continous endeavor once you start it – to become successful. Before you start a blog be sure you have the passion on the blog niche you are entering because if you have no interest on the subject matter you will have a hard time keeping up on your blog posting.

6. How to get in touch with you? (Link to your blog and social accounts)

My major blog is Negosyo Ideas, follow me on Twitter and Facebook page.

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Featured Community Manager: Mike Collins of Development Processes Group Plc

Mike Collins of Development Processes Group Plc Community Manager

Every week, we will be featuring the best community managers from around the world. For this week’s Featured Community Manager, we caught up with Mike Collins of Development Processes Group Plc. Get to know him better and the community he’s managing through the interview below.

Tell us about you and the company you’re working with / projects?

I now work for Development Processes Group Plc , previously I worked for RBS Insurance part of RBS bank and was then involved in the HR Transformation Programme to become Direct Line Group. My specialisms are in online learning and I’d like to think community development. I’ve been involved in building numerous online communities using a variety of platforms (SharePoint, Bloomfire, Ning etc). My background is in Learning & Development so my main angle is on connecting people, removing silos and building capability and confidence in online collaboration / communication.   My new role is extending an existing community online and using a community to support learning - building community based learning around my organisation as well as using Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn …community first organisation second. I’m also talking at LearningLive in the UK in September on live online learning & using communities to support learning

How did you build your experience as Community Manager / Social Media Strategist?

Practice what I preach, I am a learner and a community member. I’ve been a member and contributed to online communities for a number of years. Role modelling is key for me and I’ve been through the journey of being a newbie and being a lurker not knowing what to do or say  to being someone that I hope adds value to others by sharing and leading by example. You are what you share not what you know is my motto and I’m lucky enough to be in a role now that I am genuinely passionate about and love . I’ve blogged about my experiences with social networks in organisations Warning Social network ahead and have my own blog where there is a theme around doing things differently & connecting people online.

What are your top resources for community management?

I read a lot of blogs and find the work of Jane Hart & the Internet Time Alliance very interesting and useful. The work Jay Cross and Harold Jarche do on networks and informal learning is very useful. For hints and tips the NING creators site is useful and I also would recommend Feverbee . I’m still new to this and always learning especially around social media use and strategy but the LinkedIN groups I’ve just joined are also great resources.

Who are your favourite community managers/strategists or community management case studies?

It might not necessarily be a case study yet but at RBS Insurance – they created a social network /community (of which I was in the top 5 contributors) and used the network to create the new company values for the new organisation. I created a HR community that grew from a small team site to a multi-team site over 18 months. I have seen the Learning Skills Group grow and have been a group owner for some time. I am always looking for people who can share their experiences and to learn from them as no community is the same and all have different needs and purpose. I was part of a team that was looking at a social enterprise platform for 15K people and reviewed Jam (Successfactors), National Field, SharePoint 2010 & Newsgator & Jive. It’s not about the technology or system but the WHY…. What value is it adding, what difference will it make…..behaviours first and they take time to change as there is a lot of resistance to using these tools in a work environment or to support work activities.

What do you have to provide the community to make it work?

Support, guidance, a helping hand, friendly face (photo), support with face to face events, community chats, capturing what makes a community in the first place, recognising that sometimes online communities are an extension to existing communities, building conversation, sharing information that is of interest (curating content), responding and making people feel welcome, being human and yourself, providing people with reassurance, time – Rome wasn’t built in a day – neither will your community, demonstrate the value and share successes, blood sweat and tears, persistence and not being afraid to be the ‘lone’ voice, courage and conviction J

How do you attract new community members?

The community I’m working on now with DPG will be invited through their dealing with the company e.g. students, customers, clients, suppliers – I also ensure that it’s a consistent experience and where possible all tools I use have the same ‘feel’ and experience in terms of customer journey and interaction

What are the most common mistakes in community management? What should companies do to avoid them?

Making it about you, one way traffic, push push push, assuming people understand and ‘get it’, not having an objective or being able to describe WHY the community is in place, not finding champions and advocates, going alone, – they are not a selling or marketing tool and if companies use them as such then this will most likely turn people off, no guidelines or moderation, not responding to feedback, doing it because it’s ‘cool’, not effectively managing conversation or encouraging it,

Do you have any social media crisis management experience? If yes, what is the best way to approach the problem?

One of my principles and how I’m building my current community is on openness and transparency, deal with your issues out in the open as much as possible, people respect that. Education and awareness are key and social media is no different – if you are using the tools to sell or communicate with your customers then ensure the people doing it understand the positives and negatives. Don’t bury your head in the sand and hope it goes way…..deal with it and deal with it well, complaints or dissatisfaction are a way to build customer confidence.

How do you measure the ROI of your community?

Wow, big question…. I guess it depends on the community and I’m not going to cop out here by saying it depends. In my experience the ROI of my time in a community is being able to help people develop themselves and become more self-sufficient. It’s difficult to measure value in terms of learning new things and processing & applying information but for me community is about a sense of belonging and developing relationships. Hard metrics don’t provide the value in terms of community benefits e.g. 100 visitors a day doesn’t mean you have a thriving community. The communities I am involved in are about learning new things and making connections, they are about sharing information across a diverse group and longer term the DPG community will add value by supporting L&D / HR professionals as they progress through their qualifications. Here is a quote from one of the first community members when asked if the DPG community adds value ….“Yes it really does, when i first started the course I was really concerned about it being distant learning and being alone but with the community it’s so much easier to talk to others and it’s like a weight has been lifted. At the touch of a button advice and support is available. I like the updates we receive, discussions being held and also articles that get posted on here – provides some further reading which is a great help.”

That’s my ROI J

When not building and managing an online community, where else could people usually find you?

I’m married with two children, my weekends are usually spent taking the kids to football or to swimming and I’m in to computer games and general gadget geekery. I love all things learning and love Twitter, you can find me using @mikecollin007 and @DPGplc . I’m partial to a nice bottle of red wine ,I enjoy eating out (Italian or Indian food) and family days out.

You can be our next featured Blogger, Community Manager or Designer too! Click here for details on how.

Featured Blogger: Marin of UnPocoDeRojo

Marin Jabin Filipino Blogger Myta Santiago

Every week, iJustDid.org will feature the some of the best, top and talented people in the blogosphere. These talented and inspiring individuals could come from all walks of life and various expertise from Bloggers, Community Managers, Designers and even our loyal Readers. This week’s Featured Blogger is Marin of UnPocoDeRojo whom I met during the Generation Change Project in Davao.

1. Tell us about yourself and what do you blog about (niche).
My name is Marin, and I’m an art, culture, and history enthusiast with a passion for preserving our cultural heritage through social awareness. I’m a full-time writer for now (hoping to get a job in the arts and culture sector). I graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in European Studies and a minor in Hispanic Studies. I can speak two other languages aside from Tagalog and English — Spanish and a bit of French.

Netizens can find my blog over at UnPocoDeRojo, (which means “A Little of Red” in Spanish) where I blog about the history of art in the Philippines (mostly the principal arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, film, poetry/literature, music, dance, photography, and comics), indigenous culture, and issues concerning heritage conservation. Every Friday I also post American Jazz from the 1920s-1970s. I post once a day, but sometimes, when there’s a trending topic that’s relevant to my blog, I will write about it.

2. How did you get started blogging and what constantly keeps you going?
I actually started blogging as early as 2004 or 2005, when I first heard about xanga.com and it was just a personal diary. In 2006 I moved to multiply.com where I mixed my personal journals with Philippine culture. I kept that blog until 2008, when I started a DeviantART account for my photography which lasted until early 2010. While keeping that I also had a wordpress.com blog which featured my photos and tips on photography. Finally, in early 2010, when I saw that information regarding cultural heritage is not well disseminated to the public, I made my big move to tumblr.com because I heard of its ‘reblogging’ feature, very similar to sharing, but only within tumblr. I was very happy with the responses and the friends I’ve made. The dialog just kept going! I’ve actually been blogging there for almost two years, but in July 2011 I had to make a new account because my previous one turned very personal.

As you can see, I’ve traveled throughout almost half of the blogosphere and I’ve been doing my best to spread the word. Of course it’s very hard because my topics are very specialized and academic, but I infuse my personal experiences or the experiences of others while adding an educational flavor. I believe that while it’s good to go to museums and view our art and history, it’s equally important to put into daily life our appreciation for cultural heritage. I apply a story-telling approach and try to make use of sense-verbs (feel, touch, taste, smell, etc.) so that my readers can feel what I’m writing. At the end of the day it’s my loyal readers, my love for Philippine culture and history, and my dream to be a cultural manager, that keep me going. I’m driven to improve and write more because of these three qualities.

3. If you would be given a chance to interview someone famous for your blog, who would it be? Why?
The Thirteen Moderns. They are a set of artists who, in the mid-twentieth century, debated against the Classicists (headed by Maestro Fernando Amorsolo and Guillermo Tolentino) regarding the use of art techniques. The Thirteen was headed by a triumvirate of modernist painters, namely: Victorio C. Edades (personally, my favorite Filipino painter), Galo Ocampo, and Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco. I just want to hear their stories of living in the Philippines in the early to mid-twentieth century, to hear their stories of surviving during the Second World War, and what happened to society after that. I’d be great to have a first-hand interview of artists who lived through wartime.

4. What has been your greatest achievement through blogging?
My greatest achievement as a blogger is being able to guest-blog in a few sites and being invited to blogging seminars and training workshops. I believe being open to such invitations is a must to share your beliefs, aside from your blog. It also shows that you want to spread the truth and transparency through personal stories or whatever it is you know.

I co-write in the Philippine Studies Group on Tumblr, but only every now and then. My co-writers and I form what I call a ‘brotherhood of really awesome people’. I also guest-wrote in The Filipino Teacher just recently, where I explained what I believe teachers should teach their students in the 21st century. Recently as well, I was invited to the iBlog 8 Blogging Summit and the Generation Change — Social Media training seminar in Davao. When I was an intern at CCP, I also did a quick seminar on blogging where my audience was a group of Mindanao youths.

5. What’s your greatest advice for those who want to get started in blogging?
I learned this from a friend of mine: “You’re always going to get criticized, so keep doing the right thing.” For bloggers with an advocacy in mind, we are aware that there are many pessimists and ‘trolls’ out there who want to see us go down. It’s a fact of life that you can’t please everyone. But if in your heart you know its true and what you do spreads truth, just keep doing it. For a heritage preservation blogger like myself, no matter how many criticisms and put-me-downs I get in a day, online or offline, I still do what I do, because, to be honest, it gives me a good reason to experience the world every day and go to sleep at night with so much hope that what I’m doing will help the Philippines become a better place. And I think that can apply to other bloggers — just keep doing the right thing.

5. How can we connect with you?

You can follow Marin through her blog and her Twitter.

We want to hear your story! You too can become Featured on our blog, click here for details on how.

Featured Blogger: Airra Pingol of Queenbee’s Diary


Every week, we will be featuring the best top bloggers from the Philippines, US, UK, Canada and around the world. For this week’s Featured Blogger, we caught up with Airra Pingol.

She’s a Coffee Lover, Impulsive Shopper, Fashion Junkie, Queenbee, dancer and a blogger with an attitude and a Segment Producer for a local TV Network, ABS-CBN.

1. Tell us about yourself and what do you blog about (niche).
Hello. Everyone calls me Airra, I’m 22 years old, I am a dancer since birth! Im a freelance Model and stylist since 2009. I am also a frustrated theater actress, and I blog about Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle.

2. How did you get started blogging and what constantly keeps you going?
I actually started my personal blog last 2010. But I decided to write about Beauty and Fashion this 2012 since most of my readers are women, and that’s my interest. My motivation to keep going would have to be my passion in what I do. I love to share what I know to my readers. Free passes and giveaways are just the bonus part. hihi :)

3. If you would be given a chance to interview someone famous for your blog, who would it be? Why?
Oh, there are a lot! I would love to interview Tyra Banks, because she’s one of those supermodels who’s not afraid to exposed her wacky side. She became an inspiration to many women, and did you also know that she’s currently attending Harvard Business School?! (Talk about an impressive resume!)

4. What has been your greatest achievement through blogging?
I can say that my greatest achievement would have to be the lessons that I’ve learned in this journey. And gaining more readers who actually appreciates what I do.

5. What’s your greatest advice for those who want to get started in blogging?
I always say this all the time, BLOG with LOVE and PASSION..It saddens me whenever I see a “sellout” blog. Those blogs who give fake reviews and too much retweets and reposts from contest and giveaways. ugh.. I think if you want to start a blog, don’t use it as a tool to gain popularity or free passes/giveaways. Blog because you want to share and connect with your readers. Blog to inspire, not to show-off.

6. How to get in touch with you?
You may follow Airra on her Blogger’s journey at Queenbee’s Diary or connect with her on Twitter:

You can be our next featured Blogger, Community Manager or Designer too! Click here for details on how.