A COMMUNICATION BLOG WHERE OPINIONS POP

Latest

5 Things New Social Media Taught Me

The impact and, perhaps, the breadth of new social media to every youth nowadays seem to be immeasurable. Aside from lifestyle change to technology habits, the aspects new social media have altered in our lives are also stretch to new disposition and thinking that add to our personal values and attitudes.

New social media contribute a lot to my life, I can say. Their contribution is not limited only to them making my life (err, academic life) convenient to the most possible extent. They have made me ponder on some things in life than ever. I know that some 5 to 10 years from now as I write this entry, I might be having different outlook from what I have now over various things. But when that day comes, I want to find myself looking at this list I made today on the nuggets of learning I got from new social media.

1. Friends are just a click away. And a click far away. I learned to value, cherish, and love relationships.

Before I used to say that it won’t change a thing if a friend of mine is not going to be ‘physically present’, for new social media will always give the bridge. But I was wrong. Relationships change. People change. They won’t miss you anymore or feel the excitement of talking to you. Cherish a relationship whatever it is.

2. New social media provide our ‘other half’.

No this isn’t about getting married or finding a mate. But indeed, finding yourself. The idea of our ‘real self’ and ‘ideal self’ contradicts in the real setting and new social media help us in self-discovery. Know how it feels to suddenly be able to post a status that cries your heart out? What about finding yourself motivated to do a change after seeing a photo of a friend?

3. A simple post speaks a thousand words of who we are.

I believe that even though vocal aspects of communication (voice, tone, intonation, pitch, etc.) are absent in new social media, one’s personality will always come out even just by a single post. I met a friend online who says that it feels like she has known me for 10 years just by us communicating via chat. And I feel the same way. See?

4. Being careful does not only imply security measure but an image and reputation measure.

It’s not about adding, accepting,or ignoring friend or follower requests. But what we say, and the meanings we communicate, once we are online. People’s judgments know no medium for they will always exist. We are posing an image of ourselves online through new social media. Once they are tainted with negativity, they just don’t stay online.

5. Maintaining a relationship is,perhaps, the hardest.

Communication makes a relationship going- whether it is between you and your boss, a friend, a family member, a classmate. But then, in every communication interaction is the uncertainty for that to happen again. It is up to us now how to make those people trust, believe, and find interest in us over time. Plus the image and reputation that we are taking good care of.

But then, new social media are now just opening doors for me. I know that as I become more active online each day, the more that I can have discoveries about this communication trend that shrinks the whole world in my fingertips.  I am now indebted to new social media, and the realizations I got from using it that I will always remember in life.

Social media, Social good, Social change

The use of social media to benefit the society is now garnering more and more attention from global leaders. Given that we are now living in a digital world, the role of webpages, profiles, tweets, or statuses  is now recognized as potential tools to unify people for a single cause.

Did anyone think of this becoming possible five years ago by the way?

Next week, September 20-22, Social Good Summit will be held. It is a convention of world leaders and experts in the fields of media, policy, and digital to discuss various problems in the world right now and how these are to be put in action through the use of social media and technology per se.

It’s pretty amazing how one blog, tweet, video, and other social media tools help the world now just by becoming bridges of communication. Advocacies that are out of the majority’s awareness now have the chance of speaking out and be heard. As well as those advocates who are pursuant of their respective organizations. If there’s one excellent reason Internet exists,  it’s because finally the world has a platform where all individuals are now equal.

What about in the Philippines?

I believe that conventions like this are badly needed to be implemented in the country. Just remember how Efren Peñaflorida and his Dynamic Teen Company owned the spotlights because of him winning CNN Hero of the Year by online votes. How many children did that recognition benefit? How many more children did his kariton classroom help?

Although the percentage of Internet penetration in the country is relatively low compared to the country’s population, social networking sites are definitely good tools for local social advocacies. Indeed, just making a viral video for a non-profit organization as a class requirement was already something.

Who knows if majority of social problems now could be addressed by social media in the near future? Platforms are changing and so are ideologies. There will definitely be a change for the greater good.

To know more about Social Good Summit, read here.

To know the event’s details, read here.

Why making a viral video is challenging

This semester, our major requirement in our Communication Trends and Styles class is to make two viral videos. Easy?

Yes, to the ears. But everything is easier than done. Everything is so interesting at first. And so, I admit that our group has been having some difficulties in making a viral video that is at par with the other viral videos circulating the Net.

The first viral video that made its way to YouTube (more):

Our first task was to have a viral video from a topic we had chosen. But this time, for the second time, we were asked to make a video that will help a cause-oriented organization. The mere fact of this makes everything even so complicated.

Viral video: To what extent should it be planned?

In my observation of viral videos in YouTube and Facebook, there is a few ones or perhaps none that an organization has launched. I don’t know but my limited knowledge on videos (since I am not that video freak) tells me this. Most of the viral videos I know seem to be done with its makers not knowing that it will go viral. I say that viral videos ideally should work and spread like a virus- they have multiplied (or in this sense, have been viewed or shared) in large numbers before you know it. Netizens may have several and different tastes on what kind of videos are they going to share or recommend to their friends, and so their behavior could be predicted at the very least. But then, even Psychology can’t accurately predict the likelihood of results of a certain behavior at all. Making strategies on how a viral video should be promoted entails a lot of research and effort for the Internet is a battlefield of information. I think intentionally making all netizens be informed by the video seems to be next to impossible.

Viral video: What should be considered?

Imagine making a 2-minute viral video that is worth  P5 million. It’s make or break; your client wants to make it viral in 10 days and it should have 1 million hits at least. 2 minutes, 5 million, 10 days, 1 million. And of course, count the sleepless nights.

Making a viral video is challenging because there is a lot to consider. Since it characterizes how viruses spread, mechanism of virus spreading should be also considered and there you can find some parallelisms. The following are the factors:

  1. the size of the population of opportunity
  2. the number of days contagious
  3. the number of people with whom an infected person comes in contact
  4. the probability of contracting the virus from contact with an infected person

And its counterparts in marketing:

  1. the target market, or audience, and its size
  2. the best time for launching or promoting,a.k.a right timing
  3. the prospective audience that a target market, audience, or people as opinion leaders will influence
  4. the extent or likelihood of their influence

Viral video: Its chances of being such

Viral videos depend on their audiences. But still, there are some common qualities present to viral videos no matter what kind of audience there is. First, I believe that netizens will view your video if they think, in the first place, it’s worth their time. A video should capture one’s attention and of course, interest. Creativity is definitely the measure here. Second, an excellent viral video should contain a controversial, hot, or timely issue presented in a different light. It should not be conventional or predictable. Stereotypical nor ordinary. It should have the ‘new’ factor although it seeks to address common unresolved social problems. And third, a striking video should possess a challenging statement or message. It should put one’s emotions and reasoning to test; so, it will make itself outstanding from all other available videos.

One of the videos I can vividly remember sharing on Facebook:

But in the end, a viral video should not stay as a viral video. The message it present does not end on the video’s last second, in the Internet, in monitors. It should compel people to feel and think beyond what it presents. They should act. A true value of a viral video comes in two things- lesson and inspiration- viewers get that they will never forget.

Be updated on the top viral videos here.

Know more about viral videos here.

Facebook wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”. This perhaps is the most famous line one can remember from the classic, Snow White.

And as years and generations pass by, this line from the fairy tale that was the first-ever cartoon shown on silver screen has been proven never to be obsolete and has evolved to be applicable to new social media today, particularly social networking sites.

In August 30 2010, an article was published in CNN.com that says:

Facebook, indeed, reinforces narcissism to some users who love ‘broadcasting’ themselves. Narcissism is defined by Wikipedia.org as “the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness”.  In fact, there is a personality disturbance in psychology distinguished as narcissistic personality disorder which is considered to be a mental disorder as well.

The beautiful yet vain queen and her magic mirror (from Snow White) photo credit: http://www.squidoo.com

As youth becomes addicted to Facebook, it can be said that they have more and strong tendency on becoming narcissistic. The advent of new social media emphasized even more the ‘me-generation’. Since everyone can speak up their minds in the Internet, everyone has the chance to project themselves in whatever way they want to. And in this sense, no one sets the limit. In my opinion, the following can be said to characterize narcissistic tendencies among Facebook users:

  1. having a profile picture of a person’s  face occupying the entire photo or a picture with that person’s ‘best’ pose
  2. having hundreds of photos in one album (and those pictures are taken from a single location with the person just changing the camera’s angle; with one single smile or facial expression most of the time)
  3. having boastful posts or statuses
  4. changing a status every second trying hard to catch the attention of  those who are online (it’s like: ‘I’m drinking an awesome juice my boyfriend made for me. *a second later* ‘Finished drinking the juice blah blah blah…)
  5. giving harsh or not so favorable comments to others’ posts
  6. changing profile picture almost everyday
  7. having other messages, status, or comments that imply selfishness or too much self-glorification

I may have missed other of those symptoms but one thing is true: new social media impact people, particularly the youth, beyond monitors.

By the way, do you think you are an online Narcissus?

ScriptShirt takes inspiration more than a statement

Contact Information

Jamie Espadilla                                                                                                                          0922-8481457, 0927-2868754                                                                                         scriptshirtclothing@yahoo.com                                                                                         http://scriptshirt.multiply.com/

SCRIPTSHIRT TAKES INSPIRATION MORE THAN  A STATEMENT

ScriptShirt, an online business of  RTW statement shirts, came from the conceptualization, initiative, and commitment of Ms Jamie Espadilla, together with Louise Espadilla, James Ferrer, and Derrick Mapagu in September 2008. Bound by music and inspiration to spark a difference, they are also passionate in spreading their faith and belief in God in this very creative way.

“I’m into Christian music while my business partners (Louise, James and Derrick) are into Emo music. And that’s how we ended up with statement shirts that could either be dedicated for God or for someone special.” -Jamie Espadilla, on how ScriptShirt came to be

The ScriptShirt Team (Derrick, Louise, James, and Jamie)

ScriptShirt is named after the word Scripture that represents biblical texts. True enough, its founders basically spread God’s word through shirts’ statements and from this, seek to get other people inspired as well. Furthermore, Jamie puts it, “Eventually, we realized that our shirts, if utilized properly, can actually make a difference. Of course, it’s not about the shirt but the statement printed on it! For the Christians, this is one way of doing a simple evangelism. For others, this is one way of inspiring people and spreading positivity. Either ways we can all MAKE A DIFFERENCE through wearing a shirt that has a positive impact. ”

This business joins Facebook and Multiply in promotions and advertising. To date, it has garnered 633 fans in Facebook. Updates such as new designs and upcoming events ScriptShirt will join are posted there moreover. Their using of social networking sites provides convenience to their business in terms of connecting with their customers in one hand and seeking for potential partners as well on the other. Features of these sites that allow them to add people into their list as prospective customers, posting of blog and photo albums in product marketing, and messaging features such as chat, personal messages, and comments allow them to explore promising ideas to manage and improve their business as well.

They recognize how much help Internet has been to their business but at the same time know where and what to work on.

“The challenge in using social media is that have to be online most of the time because: 1) customers need immediate response from us; 2) we need to be aware on the messages people post in our sites because we wouldn’t want negative feedback to spread.”  – Jamie Espadilla, on the obstacles they are facing as an online business

In 2009, ScriptShirt launched ‘Shirt for a Cause’, featuring ‘Inspirenation’ shirt, where 20% of each piece sold went to Ondoy typhoon victims through Red Cross relief operations.

It keeps its customers engaged via social networking sites not only by getting feedback such as comments from them and the like. ScriptShirt launched its promo, ScriptShots Part 2,  in February 2009 to celebrate the month of love. ScriptShots is a compilation of meaningful photos of people wearing their favorite ScriptShirt outfit.

Now who says that new social media can’t lead to a difference in our society?

Boilerplate

ScriptShirt is an online shop owned by Jamie Espadilla, Louise Espadilla, James Ferrer, and Derrick Mapagu creating RTW statement shirts. For orders and inquiries, visit ScriptShirt official sites on Facebook and Multiply or text 0922-8481457 or 0927-2868754.

Workplace redefined?

Time is running out for me to enjoy the perks of being a student who relies on parents financially. I know, and no matter how  it disturbs me, I have to be mature enough to assume the role of our family’s breadwinner sooner or later. We discussed in our previous classes in Communication Trends and Styles that the dynamics of the workplace, particularly on employees as to what motivates or compels them to work and the values they bring along with them, has changed thanks to ‘generation gap’ (as we may call it) between the ‘baby boomers’  and  the ‘NetGen’.

Being a part of NetGen makes me question the nature of workplaces, hierarchy, or even work itself time and time again. Maybe I am just that kid before who was used to have things set by parents that’s why applying for my first own job and setting my career are difficult and, sometimes, tear-jerking. I contemplate on things regarding life after college these days no matter how exaggerated this is for others.

I don’t know but, perhaps, people enter college to secure employment upon graduating. This is a fact. After years of being in school, we as students have to pay back our parents who spent most of their earnings for our education. And so, it’s highly depressing to know that jobs are not everywhere, competitors abound, and opportunities are most of the time biased. Moreover, it’s sad to note that your own country can’t support you to have your dream job that you just have to forget attaining it. After years of study, it will be just salary, salary, salary. Sometimes factors like self-fulfillment are considered less.

But then, whew.

A New Workplace

Perhaps, the Internet has been changing a lot of aspects in our lifestyle today and there’s nothing it does not affect at all. The notion of workplace is definitely one of these. If work is just a means to an end which is connected to financial stability at the very least, then some factors will not be that held important. Nowadays, more and more people looking for income or jobs  are opting to take freelance work or work at home instead. Virtual companies such as those of language tutorials are on the rise.  For instance, in freelance work, one can enjoy:

  • flextime at its fullest
  • working at home (while attending to other matters)
  • no or less dealings with difficult bosses
  • no interaction with difficult co-workers
  • a salary that office employees are likely to earn

There are even call center companies that allow employees to work from their homes. Of course, these are all possible through the use of new social media. Language tutorials are done in Skype where people of different nationalities converse. Web designers do the layout of corporate websites without being those company’s employees. Organizations hire bloggers just to make blogs and comments for their companies’ sake. There’s a lot of avenues new social media could provide now- without the limits of organizational hierarchy or policies and regulations.

"Freelance work" photo credit: http://www.atniz.com

New behavior?

Would there be a point that employees will stop seeking for corporate life? Would there be a point that they ’employees’ or ‘workplace’ are going to vague terms as well? Employees, being individuals, will continue to have increasing demands, differing values, and new priorities as they, of course, age.I know some people who abandoned their corporate life to give way to their own business they manage through new social media. Most of them value being at home and with their families as to decrease the chances of them being so workaholic neglecting their responsibilities with their children at home.

Organizations, in the advent of NetGen in the workforce and as ‘baby boomers’ are about to retire, should be ready for the ‘unthinkable’ implications today’s trends concerning new social media. This will in turn provide new paradigms in communication within organizations above all. Could it be possible to have computer-mediated organizational communication in the future?

When customers become your ‘friends’

They say finding true friends in the Internet is next to impossible. The fact that you cannot communicate with them in flesh says it all. Let’s just say that nonverbal communication can never be replaced and still the most difficult to objectively decipher. Written messages in social media in the form of wall posts, status, or comments can never suffice the richness a message has. All netizens, experts or not, alike know this basic tenet.

Computer-mediated communication has brought some changes not only in communication per se but rather on relationships. My close friends whom I spent almost everyday with years before are the ones I miss a lot these days. Some of them are abroad while some are the ones whom I lost communication with. Yes, thanks to Internet, I can have conversations with them now. But then, I know that nothing is going to be the same anymore. Failing to connect with them once accounts for everything.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but these days, I am thinking over how social media and the Internet redefined the meaning or ‘friendship’. Perhaps at least one friendship is ended everyday as well as a new friendship that is formed between two strangers. Some friendships end while some just becomes faded.

Building friendships is similar to establishing connections with customers in the perspective of organizations. Maybe the difference lies in the fact that organization-customer relationship is crucial for it’s not that symbiotic. Organizations should develop good customer relations if they want to survive in this age of business competition literally. However, customers now are the ones to be ‘pleased’ and hold less pressure for there is a wide array of products, services, or companies to entrust themselves into. When customers lose interest, and moreover trust or loyalty, to a product or service, companies have to think of strategies to win them back. In a sense, this is like a one-sided relationship. Although both parties benefit, the amount of effort and expectancy level is not equal. And now, these all become more complicated because of social media, where a person’ message can instantly reach millions in just a click.

To organizations,

but be sure on how to have them.

Although a neophyte in communities and chatting, I learned essential things . I think these things may not be that directly translated to organizational strategies but I believe they are the fundamentals in every relationship there is. Here they go:

1. Disclosing true information helps you.

What’s the sense of pretending to be someone you’re not? Yes, information we disclose over the Net must be carefully sifted for security reasons. Yes, deception can be said to have higher rate of occurrence in the world wide web (particularly in social networks) than face-to-face. But there will always come a time that scandals will surface, hidden agenda will be traced, even secrets will be revealed in the Internet age. And that time is more unpredictable than before.

2.The first conversation is always the most important.

Relationships involve conversations. People rely and believe on first impressions. These are facts. First conversation is actually a predictor of the existence of succeeding ones. It’s like establishing good PR for yourself leveled up because it’s online. Smart people know whom and not to trust in the Internet. Gaining trust, perhaps in any channel or mode, is still difficult.

3. Keeping conversations entails pressure.

How to keep the interest in your target burning is a difficult task to do. In fact, it’s sometimes pretty normal to be paranoid in predicting, assuming, and expecting customers’ behavior. Each opportunity an organization can get to have conversations with customers should lead to more conversations in the future. Sometimes, it is even better to have clashes between companies and customers (although this is a huge no-no!)  than finding customers apathetic. It’s like having people not realizing your existence.

4. No matter how short conversations are, people remembering you gives the best feeling.

Trust is definitely gained, hardly gained. Real relationships are with people who know one another though they are not with each other physically. I am working on the assumption that when people/ customers believe in and like you, they will remember you without commanding them to. They will be ‘evangelizers’ of you instantly. It is not about the quantity of conversations organizations are having with consumers, but the quality of their relationship’s impact is. It’s about how much they value one another and be there when one needs the other.

Of course, I think, too, that relationships have their endings. No matter in what form those would be and because of what reasons, relationships should be taken care of very much while they last.