Archive for June, 2010

Reminiscing ‘Idol’

Ever since Jasmine Trias rose to fame in the country after being one of the Top 12 in American Idol Season 3, I became an American Idol (AI) fan for its succeeding seasons.

I witnessed how Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, and Lee Dewyze became each season’s winner from audition weeks to weekly elimination. But then, I am thinking of not supporting the upcoming season next year that much.

Controversies envelop every show and AI is no exception. AI’s Season 9 is dubbed to be ‘the worst season ever’ and known by critics to have the lowest ratings since the show was launched in 2001. Some say it is about getting Ellen Degeneres to be one of the judges or having a very amateur top 12. In one way or another, I agree with those. But I became more upset when Alex Lambert, one of the Top 16, got eliminated so early and the ones who did not deserve spots in the Top 12 got in (mmm, Tim Urban?).

Alex singing Ray LaMontagne hit, "Trouble" (photo credits to: www.flickr.com)

Alex singing Ray LaMontagne hit, "Trouble" (photo credits to: http://www.flickr.com)

Alex has definitely have the potential of being a star from being a raw and undiscovered talent. The night before the eliminations, I labeled him as my ‘favorite’ without me knowing that I was about to hate the season the following day. This incident in fact opened my eyes for two reasons.

First, it made me realize that America is no smart. I don’t want to sound racist here but I was really disappointed with them.I have been watching American dramas ever since childhood- among them were Dawson’s Creek and Charmed- and I can say they had influenced me to conclude that Americans are intelligent. I know it’s a hasty generalization but could I blame myself for being a ‘victim’ of mass media? So here goes, I was full support of AI contestants because I know that whoever gets eliminated, America will surely pick the right one. The best one. But then, I was wrong. I did not know what went through my mind that time but I just wanted to yell at the TV, “Hey! Get lost, America!”. They picked Tim Urban, who cannot even sing well (I mean, if you are on AI, you should sing at least very well),to be on the Top 12 over Alex Lambert, but who might be very nervous each time he gets on stage, whose voice is just one-of-a kind. Oh well, AI is a popularity contest and not a singing one even before.

Second, it made me realize the power of new media nowadays. One is the anti-AI website, Vote for the Worst, attracts supporters to vote for the worst contestant every week to stay on the show. Yes, this is a very good counter-attack for the show’s haters. AI is able to get money from the call and text votes but at the same time, is also getting the incompetent contestants stay longer. For some reason, this website is totally a hit and a success in its own right. Another is the campaign on Change.org to bring Alex Lambert back on AI.

"Vote for the Worst" website

"Vote for the Worst" website

Well, this one has got another story. Hours after Alex got eliminated, a fan named Jessica Bongiorno started a campaign via Change.org for the cause of having Alex back and give him another shot for a slot in the Top 12. I was able to check on this site 2 days after it was created and found that there are already around 4,000 fans who signed up for the petition. Not surprisingly, I signed up and advertised the site to my friends in Facebook (actually, they grew tired of it already as I am posting updates every hour). After 24 hours, the number of those who signed up rose to 9,000. I think at least 5 supporters all over the world sign up every minute. The last time I checked the website, about three months ago, the figure went up at 19,000.In this sense, it was creepy.

Change.org petition

Change.org petition

But then, it made me believe that social media is really powerful because it…brought back Alex, not to be on AI, the chance to pursue his talent. The management of 19 Entertainment and AI’s creator, Simon Fuller, were impressed on how the fans united to have their idol back. Simon Fuller, then, decided to cast Alex as the 6th dreamer in his Internet show, If I Can Dream. Fans definitely felt their victory and maybe some of them gained confidence in Idol again after that announcement.

This is a lesson for organizations- whatever line of work they are into. Outside forces, like the fans, will always influence an organization’s decisions and strategies. They cannot keep themselves shut from their external environment. In this case, 19 Entertainment was able to compromise on what they are going to offer Alex Lambert without sacrificing the credibility of Idol and disappointing its fans. Organizations should be aware that their publics are in control at some point, and that they really have to be effective in dealing with them.

Thanks to the new media, the Internet in particular, the “Magic Bullet” Theory of mass communication starts to lose its applicability I bet. However, Goldhaber’s organizational communication’s definition, “the process of creating and exchanging messages…to cope with environmental uncertainties”, will never lose its place to the real, competitive world.

By the way, I watched AI Season 9’s Finale. But everything was not the same anymore.


‘About Me’ Continued

Join me in exploring the exciting world of communication, new social media, and organizations! Oops, this introduction is dull. Let me try again. Here goes:

It has been three years when I have first found myself confused on what major to take in college. The hardest question I ever encountered in my 4th year in high school was not about Trigonometrical Functions, a Thermodynamic law, or a case study in Economics. It was about what do I want to be in the future.

I can vividly remember this seminar of ours about choosing careers. The facilitator asked us, one by one, on what our dream job is. I actually had nothing concrete to say to him that time, but I just said, “I want to be an interpreter”. “So you must be a linguist!”, he replied.

Too bad for me, I did not qualify for a degree program directly related to languages or linguistics. But too good for me, I landed in a degree program I never realized would open countless career opportunities that I had never thought of before. This degree program I am talking about comes in the words of ‘Organizational Communication (OrCom)’. Perhaps, what you are thinking can be summarized in one word: ‘Huh?’.

I am now in my 4th year and I am proud that I do not regret taking up the course-and staying with it. Some of the blockmates I am close with in 1st year have already shifted to other courses, have been pursuing their own ‘callings’. As I write this entry and take a glimpse from the past, I am proud to be where I am now.

Block 9 (Girls) Batch 2007

I would like to summarize here my journey being an OrCom student but it seems like everything could not be put to words. I am an OrCom student- and I am making a blog for our Organizational Communication 152 class (Communication Trends and Styles).  This may include blog posts required of me to write, articles I have to analyze, comments that I need to make. But above all, all of these encapsulate my whole OrCom being.

I do not forget that I still want to be an interpreter, but being an OrCom professional is another dream I have added in my list.

Isn’t it more fun to explore a field of study when you have the heart for it?

“I shape.” – Internet

There is this one article I read from the Manila Bulletin in 2009 , written by the Editors of Publications International, LTD., and which I kept myself a copy, that became noteworthy for me. Its title reads: “Fifteen (15) Notable People who Dropped Out of School”. First in the list was Thomas Edison and followed by Benjamin Franklin in the second place. Just when  thought Albert Einstein will be next, I was amazed to read that I had been wrong. For the person who got the third spot was, no other than, Bill Gates.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates (photo credits to: http://www.winsupersite.com)

“Bill Gates is the co-founder of the software giant Microsoft and has been ranked the richest person in the world for a number of years. Gates dropped out of Harvard in his junior year after reading an article about the Altair microcomputer in Popular Electronics magazine. He and his friend Paul Allen formed Micro Soft (later changed to Microsoft) to write software for the Altair.”    – Students &Campuses, Manila Bulletin/ F-3/ January 8, 2009

Who would have thought, then, that the world’s advancement in the 21st century is all in the hands of a Harvard drop-out? Who had expected that the course of living in the planet is about to face a drastic change?

In his 2000 essay, “Shaping the Internet Age”, Bill Gates emphasized the positive and the negative impact Internet has brought to the world. Indeed, Internet has been a global phenomena for years now that no other more advance technological invention has eclipsed its importance.

Above all the debate on whether the Internet has contributed more to the development of markets and economies or shift in political strategies, an important focus should be on how it influences, and sometimes even dictate, the behavior of organizations at present. As we assert that the Internet has brought about everything that previous generations have not imagined at all, we must realize that organizations are actually the ones who made it all possible.

In tackling Facebook alone, there is already a number of issues arising. Should the government allow government employees to use Farmville at work? I have several relatives, aged 30-50, who work for the government for at least a decade; I have never seen them so upset over the blocking of a virtual game.  They used to hate computers before, but thanks to them being virtual farmers, they are now more addicted to Facebook applications more than I am. Should our education policies be lenient enough to adjust to the emerging Jejenese language?The ‘leet’ language which ‘jejemons’ use is actually recognized by Facebook as one of the languages. I know some 6-year-old children nowadays who are at par with adults in using Facebook. Aren’t they prone to adapting this ‘new’ language and be part of the increasing number of ‘jejemons’ just by changing their profile settings? Should the Catholic Church consider Facebook, too, in preaching? The application ‘What God wants you to know’ is an example. Just a click away and you can have that ‘message’. Just a click away.

Facebook homepage

Facebook homepage

Gates recognizes that the Internet poses threat to privacy. This now leads to the argument that the Internet poses more threat to credibility. And this is another issue that confronts organizations. What is now the standard of credibility in the present age? Since the Internet has democratized the means people can communicate their thoughts and broadcast to the world wide web what they are eager to say, it has also put the idea of credibility into the limelight, into where it has never been seen the way it was before. No wonder a speaker’s ethos, pathos, and logos will eventually evolve relative to what is the hype in the information superhighway. Harold Lasswell’s Model of SMCR+ Effect (Speaker-Message-Channel-Receiver +Effect) should now be upgraded to its 2.0 version.

I admit that I am a fan of anti-Noynoy pages in Facebook. Its administrators and members actively post, share videos, comment, and tag others even though those members barely not know each other when they ‘liked’ the page. At some point in time, I found them credible enough. Maybe what we discussed in PR last semester holds true, that the hierarchy of credibility now is perfectly described as an inverted triangle. Ordinary people, who comprise the biggest bulk in the triangle, are now the most credible sources of opinions. Little importance is now attributed to the triangle’s tip which accounts for an organization’s top most leaders. I have proven that this much is true- as I have my faith in what those Facebook members say about the incoming Aquino administration over than its spokesperson’s official statements. Of the page’s almost 20,000 fans, it will be challenge to the incoming government to convince those people that they are truly credible and does not deserve their criticisms.

Internet has actually empowered us to articulate than ever. We admit it or not, we can actually say some things in our Facebook status that we can never say when we engage in face-to-face conversations. We are able to speak our minds without limit.  Yes, face-to-face channel is incomparable. It still is the richest one. But computer-mediated communication make us feel the power that no other medium can bring.

Por Fin.

Por fin.

After a hundred times of thinking through what name this blog should have, of searching over and over again themes WordPress could ever have- and replacing each one with another I have found to be better- and of conceptualizing what should be the content of this blog’s first ever entry, I am proud to declare, yes I am declaring, that I am able to win over the battling brain cells on the two sides of my brain. My blog has now come to existence and I have proven to be an effective mediator in this regard.

And so, welcome to my first ever blog!  🙂