The Singapore Blogosphere: Screwed Up?

Perhaps, and all thanks to its readers. Ever since advertising companies started to arrive in the shores of our local blogosphere, everything has changed. Some bloggers were intrigued by the idea of earning money just by sharing their thoughts online. Then, they began to learn how everything works and before you knew it, began posting articles about -you guessed it- sex, scandals and controversies.

No, it is unfair to put the blame on advertising companies. They will most willingly want to clinch a deal with top sponsors for high quality blogs discussing on topics such as technology, science and even politics. However, things work differently here in Singapore. The majority of the readers are hungry for more sexually explicit content, highly controversial articles and exaggerated artiste scandals.

The commercialization of the blogosphere has made bloggers themselves slaves to their readers. Readers are like consumers and bloggers are compelled to feed them with almost-junk content. The money-making equation is simple: the more readers or subscribers you have, the more moolah you are likely to bank in.

If there is one evidence needed to prove this problem, then it will be none other than our very own community meta blog for Singapore bloggers, known as Ping.sg. On average, almost half of the top ten most popular entries contain sex-related content with striking blog titles everyday. Again, you can't really blame Ping.sg for the overflow of sex-related blog posts. Ultimately, the people who decides which blogs get to the top ten spots are its readers.

I remembered asking a few of my not-so-Internet-savvy friends about the local blogosphere. And surprisingly, all of them uttered the same name, XiaXue. They went further and commented on how she represented our 'complain culture' pretty well. Somehow, XiaXue seems to be a representative of the entire local blogosphere. Unfortunately, all her constant ramblings and vulgarities that inundated her blog makes her bad one. Nonetheless, local readers still flock to read her blog as if it provides a new learning experience for them each day.

Now comes the difficult question: why are our readers more interested with sex, scandals and controversies?

Before answering the question, we must first acknowledge that sex, scandals and controversies sell everywhere and not just in Singapore. However, in other countries such as America, they are many highly reputable blogs writing articles on topics such as the science and technology. TechCrunch, Telegraph and Wired Science are some examples to name a few. The reason why these blogs are so successful is because they manage to garner a huge readership base.

By contrast, in Singapore, I believe most of our (intellectual) citizens are not connected to our local blogosphere well enough. Our small online market makes it even difficult for our local niche blogs to survive. In school, students are constantly reminded to be wary about information available in the Internet. They are encouraged to read print media, especially our very own The Straits Times. Reliability is often emphasized and in favour of print media.

The other root cause of the problem is none other than the nature of our education system itself. I don't think I need to elaborate further on how it works (basically its all about grades) but it definitely has a part to play to how and why most of our local netizens behave in a way they are now. Everything is provided for us and there is little need for us to research on the subjects tested. Little did they know that there are really good local niche blogs here in Singapore such as The Online Citizen and The Wise Curve. These local blogs need more support from netizens. They reflect well of how much our blogosphere has matured.

Hence, this has left our netizens with only two reasons to visit the Internet: to read on the latest sex news, scandals and controversies and to socialize with friends via games or social networking websites. It is as if they are habituated to the reasons stated above.

Nah, the Singapore blogosphere isn't exactly screwed up; its readers are...


Anonymous said...

Ping.sg itself encourages such postings when it don't control down the postings of sex including nudity pics. Reason given: free choice to the readers. Ya' right. More like earning from the banners now and partnering with 24seven.sg to milk the blogsphere.

Relax said...

Thanks for featuring my blog. I'm glad that it's useful to you guys :)

I'm happy that more and more bloggers and pondering about reality and write good post about their analysis.

The Wise Curve is written by a Malaysian btw, although the author enjoys mixing about with bloggers from Singaporean blogphere :)

Thanks. Xie xie. Terima kasih. Danke. Merci. Hvala.
have a nice day.

your friend Relax ~

brian koh said...

thanks for the post, i think you've brought up good points -)

media will always be balancing what its readers want to read, and what it also deems as responsible journalism. i guess in the case of Ping.sg, plenty of "money-spinning" blogs take the route of "shock, sex and awe."

The reader also plays a part in encouraging writing about such things, as evident in the number of pongs it gives the posts.

i guess the reader has a slightly passive interest in encouraging what should be the important agendas in our society.

maybe it's the lack of sexy stories that we turn to the Internet for a quick fix?

But yeah, i'm glad the niche blogs you described continue to post, and blog about other topics as well. hopefully the audience will grow.. but as bloggers, we can't force what audiences want to read as well -)

xizor2000 said...

Check out singaporedaily.net as well. There are definitely more sources of worthy and meaningful blog posts than those submitting to ping.sg... and even tomorrow.sg.

reenamelanie said...

I was rather suprised that ping.sg allowed all these nude pics and blogs to be on their site. It's difficult to find much to read and those who blog well also don't really get a chance to showcase their entries.

Nice post.
have a great day.

reenamelanie said...

I was rather suprised that ping.sg allowed all these nude pics and blogs to be on their site. It's difficult to find much to read and those who blog well also don't really get a chance to showcase their entries.

Nice post.
have a great day.

reenamelanie said...

sorry there was some mistake...didnt mean to be anonymous

Rachel Chung said...


Interesting article and insights.

Addressing your issue of Ping readers, the top ten positions are influenced not by the whole reader consensus but by their active community who is logged in. So, there can be an excellent article that was read many times but not 'ponged' by their logged in community and thus not in the top ten positions. So in a way, it is their active community who steers the direction of Ping.

I would like to think though that the Singapore blogosphere is a young and growing one and that there is hope yet. Most are at the foundling stage of self discovery and certainly many of us are not as advanced as our US counterparts.

Like I said, there is hope yet. Otherwise there is always that little x at the corner :)

Wendy said...

I do realize that topics that made it to the top 10 in ping.sg are mostly those with titles that contained sexual innuendos. Only one of my entries made it to the top 10 for the few months I have been registered there, and that was the one titled "If Teachers Couldn't Wear Bikinis, What Should They Wear?" I believe my blogs have since had some other more interesting and more intellectual topics as compared to this, but they have never made it up there.

uzyn said...

Thanks for your feedback, especially on the current issue with the Top 10 section of Ping.sg.

We realized such problems and we are as concerned as you are about how it reflects on the Singapore blogosphere.

Rest assured that we are currently working hard to rectify the issue now.

You will hear from us soon. :)

Benjamin Koe said...

This post made the Ping.sg Top 10 without sex! =P

OK seriously, great observation. But I think this is the tip of the iceberg. There's probably about 200,000 more Singapore bloggers who don't care about Ping.sg, Xia Xue, or The Online Citizen happily living in their communities of friends, photos, and feeds.

Jakob said...

Absolutely agree with what you said. Nowadays it is so hard to find nice blogs without the attention grabbing headlines that just wish to clock revenue. Nice post.

BLue said...

Blog doesn't make you a blogger,
Sing doesn't make you a singer.

To me blog is just something I can do with my computer. It's always a choice for us to choose what we want to read and what we don't want to read.

If you don't like to read, you can choose not to visit the site again.

If you enjoy reading, means the author got your attention which is good news to him/her.

Well, some people are born to write interesting while others just do what they can to gain popularity. It's normal these things happen in life.

My only comment on Singapore blog that I don't like is that when they post 'Are Singapore Bloggers Smarter Than Malaysia Bloggers?' in Youth.SG

I personally don't think it's a good way to teach the younger generation to compare but not to self-improve in life. I still believe the greatest enemy is me, myself.

Photosophize [ 影.像.物语 ] said...

Some of the examples which you all have cited wasn't very accurate. I have explained it on my blog. Please see:

An alternate point of view on local blogosphere

Spank-A-Lot said...

While the theory of sex sells does prove true across the globe, it sells even more online. Be it an intellectual or a perverse wanker, sex still draws their attention. Its one of the constants in the blogosphere. Why are other "intellectual" blogs not receiving the same amount of attention? Its simply because although their articles/posts are extremely well written, it only appeals to a certain niche crowd whereas sex/scandals appeal to almost everybody. More so on the internet, where one is able to indulge in such a past time without fear that someone is watching them. Its a fact of life we cannot fight. Take my blog for example, I only receive a small niche group of readers because of the topics I post abt. If I were to start a Forex or trading blog, I would still only be able to garner a limited niche crowd. However, the same cannot be said about the blogs abt scandals/sex. The inner appeal to such things are there whether we admit it or not.

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