Why I’m into Open Source Consulting
If I remember correctly, it was from Nick Nichols whom I first heard of this term. Nick says blogging is a form of open source consulting. I guess that was my approach ever since I first started my online presence back in 2000.
Back then, I saw the power of the internet as sort of dynamic collaboration with free flowing information and discussions of almost anything one can ever imagine. I was awed and thought the Internet was inherently good as it opens new possibilities for everyone who has access to it.
One of the first websites I created when I was just starting to learn HTML was a mix of a tutorial + guide + how to website. I posted computer shop information, some price lists I saw at Buy & Sell, guides on how to troubleshoot a computer, comparative reviews of some new gadgets or peripherals, and even a hand-coded marketplace to sell really cheap but used computer spare parts. It was my way of sharing what I know to the rest of the intarwebs.
Today, I go out to meetings with people I hardly ever know. They just happen to chance upon my blog and thought I could help them out. They could be a geeky foreigner who just came to the Philippines for the first time and wanted to have some beer, a stay-at-home mom who wants to start blogging, a group of students who needed help with their thesis paper, an office worker who wants to earn on the side, an IT company seeking fresh input for their consumer-oriented services, a new graduate who needs a career advice, or an NGO that wants to market their fund-raising efforts online.
All those time, I never (directly) made a cent and on some occasion, I’m the one who shells out for lunch. No biggie. I thought I was actually helping people. Last night, I met with a project coordinator for a local company’s NGO effort. They wanted some help to go into blogging, ICT being part of their advocacy. They said they didn’t have money but badly needed the help. I said, it’s for charity, we’re not suppose to make money off charity work. Long story short, I volunteered my time and expertise to their foundation. I was happy thinking I was making a difference, however small it was. I thought I could also learn a thing or two from them as I’ve been planning on putting up an educational foundation myself.
So, my recent meeting with Carl and his dad seeking for advice on how to face their predicament was a way to bridge the distance and resolve the miscommunication. I thought I was helping. Apparently, Anton de Leon thinks I was being nosy and overdoing it. Wow, even the best of intentions are being frowned upon. I know, I’m not new to this but sometimes, fresh perspective can strike a cord. Was I really being nosy? Some time back, I was also invited to observe in an interview about the spat between Gail and her client with allegations of a libelous blog entry. Was I being nosy then too?
But that is the beauty of blogging. Everyone wields the power, not just a small group of people. Anybody can express their opinions and be heard. No one is preventing anyone from joining the conversation. It’s all there and you are free to join or exclude yourself from the discussion. That power is so potent that you can even shut it off in a blink by clicking on that small square box with an x at the top right corner of your browser. Out of sight, out of mind.
The exchange of opinions (minus the cussing) is a sign that the blogging space is vibrant. Anyone can add or subtract to it and that choice is solely theirs. What would have been more sad was if nobody cared nor lift a finger. I feel blessed that we are free to express our thoughts and we’re aggressively expressing that freedom. My workshops around Asia opened up my eyes on why some people in neighboring countries are afraid of blogging while others are being jailed for it.
I believe that the recent rounds of debate is a testament of our growth, both personal and as a society.
“No great advance has ever been made in science, politics, or religion, without controversy.” – Lyman Beecher