“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 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.
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.