“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.

14 responses

  1. very well written… goodluck on your blogging stint!

    June 19, 2010 at 1:50 PM

  2. Upon reading your article, I realized how my article is ‘non-orcom’ related. But then again, we can never say an article is ‘non-orcom’ related just because it does not contain orcom concepts. (a defensive blogger speaking.)

    I feel for those employees who protest the banning of Facebook in the workplace. I even remember Sir Chong saying that bosses don’t know that allowing Facebook in the workplace keeps the employees in their desks. I think this holds true for employees whose main tool for their work is the computer.

    We just finished our internship and we’re still fresh from our workplace experience. In the company I worked in, Facebook is blocked. Not all employees are complaining though, from the deparment I was in for that matter, because most of them are middle-aged, some don’t even know how to create a Facebook account. But from one other department composed of employees in their 20s to 30s, they aren’t directly complaining but when we, interns discovered a wifi connection that is independent of the company, therefore open to all websites, they clamoured for this connection and started bringing out their laptops so they could check their Facebook accounts but made sure also that they did not neglect their job responsibilities. We interns, too, we check our Facebook but the moment we are tasked to do something, we stop and work.

    Point is, Facebook or any other web applications for that matter (unless we’re talking about porn sites and the likes), shouldn’t be banned in the workplace because I think it has become sort of a stress reliever for employees who are so bummed by 8-hour work (now I know how that feels). Provided, employees don’t forget that what they came to work for and focus more on the results. You think? 🙂

    June 19, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    • First, I think there is no need for us to stick on posting OrCom-related topics all the way until the semester ends. I think commenting on various fields, especially those outside of the classroom, justify the versatility that defines OrCom beauty. Everything is so interconnected now, and there is no ‘non-OrCom-related’ thing. I am even thinking of posting KPOP issues here, haha, and relate them to organizational issues. 🙂

      Next, I agree that…Facebook should not be banned in the workplace. But then, I am talking in the perspective of a has-been undergraduate intern who finds corporate life dull. I worked for Philippine Airlines and Weber Shandwick (PR company) when we had our practicum. Those two workplaces are really different, they are located in the two opposing sides of the spectrum. In PAL, Facebook is blocked. There are even computers which have no Internet connection. Just imagine me staring blankly for hours when I got nothing to do. But in Weber, Facebook can be opened anytime and be used unlimited.

      But I think, from those experiences, Facebook only relieves stress at some point. I still went home every night stressed after the day’s work and over thinking what will happen for tomorrow’s work. I think it still depends on the mechanisms employees do to relieve stress outside the workplace. Facebook is getting more and more attention these days. Employees will get more stressed if they think Facebook is like their ‘savior’ and it is unfair that they can’t have it. 🙂

      June 19, 2010 at 9:24 PM

  3. Praxis

    you were able to weigh the pros and cons of the internet. this article is very timely as well.
    i just realized how the internet became an avenue for me to know how diverse people think. and i was still quite young when i got hooked up with it.
    nevertheless, the ‘real world’ still shocked me more than the internet did. while you can just unplug your monitor when you don’t like what you see or read in the net, you can’t prevent yourself getting slapped in the face in real life.

    June 19, 2010 at 9:52 PM

  4. Facebook in the workplace is not banned without cause. My OJT proved that to me. FB was banned in my workplace but i found myself not having enough time to actually go online and log in to facebook. Not to mention browse for updates. I believe people should not always think that “People always have time to go online at work so why ban FB?” I didn’t even have time to yawn back then.

    I agree with your argument on credibility but I feel the need to slightly elaborate more on it. “Ordinary people are POTENTIALLY the most credible source.”

    I’ve never been convinced by someone who types in pure hate and all-caps. Comments like “WALA NAMANG NAPAGARALALAN YANG ******* YAN EH. TUTUNGANGA LANG YAN!!” are not appealing. I believe the way people carry themselves in the net matters and I’ll take Noynoy’s comment over that all caps comment anytime of the day.

    I hope I can write like this someday. Like the other posters said. Very well written. 🙂

    June 19, 2010 at 11:17 PM

    • Hi, Lem. 🙂

      Yes, I agree with you that “Facebook in the workplace is not banned without a cause”. I don’t know if this has any basis at all but banning social network sites in the workplace implies a degree of professionalism. Employees should do what their workplaces demand them to do and prioritize work over just checking what is new in Hotel City, for an instance. My side on allowing Facebook in the workplace stems from the point of view of an ordinary trainee who was used to Facebook-ing when there is nothing to do unlike filing documents up of some sort. But we know that as we have our own careers in the near future, we must all be professionals- we must go to our own workplaces or companies for a cause. And that is to work. 🙂

      June 21, 2010 at 5:23 PM

  5. Are our comments supposed to be long? 😀 Just kidding.

    “Facebook should not be banned in the workplace.” I definitely agree. During my internship in Geiser Maclang, Facebook can be used by the employees freely anytime and in any computer. In my observations, I can say that using the social network site didn’t really deteriorate the employees’ productivity. In fact, using it actually helps them relax and think without being pressured much. As they say, “All work with no play is not good”. I think this also holds true when it comes to students. I myself is proof of this.

    June 19, 2010 at 11:23 PM

  6. Internet and emerging communication trends truly shape the way we live today. From the youtube campaigns of Obama to the new wave of Filipino protests through facebook, it is apparent the we are being “digitized” everyday.
    One of the things I fear is that the change we experience would be too fast for our society to accept. If we are not ready for such technical advancements, we might end up misusing such emerging trends.
    (Sidenote: Your illustration of the inverted-triangle reminds me of social construction. lol)

    June 19, 2010 at 11:23 PM

  7. I think we choose to trust “ordinary people” like us because we know we share the same thoughts and sentiments. There’s this interpersonal theory that we studied but I forgot its name (something related to onion i think HAHAHA), but basically it says that we gravitate towards people who have the same interests as us. And the Internet allows us to do just that. By joining a fanpage, we are instantly connected to thousands of people with the same interest or opinion. In relation to this, I think it’s still important that we expose ourselves to the realm outside our own interests and opinions, and this of course is also possible with the Internet. Just a little openness for some balance. 😀

    June 20, 2010 at 3:12 AM

  8. blahblahblogsheet

    Like Rhea, I also had my internship at GeiserMaclang and truly, Facebook is part of our daily work routine. I suppose the issue on banning SNS depends on the work’s nature. Since GeiserMaclang is a PR company, SNS help them to easily get connected with the bloggers and other media people that they need for their events. Ergo, making their work e-squared. Also, we know that PR is a stress-filled field. I observed that SNS, particularly facebook, has become their antidote to stress.

    June 20, 2010 at 2:25 PM

  9. 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.

    Sometimes I think that there’s something that CMCs can give that even face-to-face communication can’t – and that’s anonymity. Sometimes people have more courage to say what they really mean when they’re not talking with the person involved face-to-face. I doubt that all those 20,000 and so people would still say they don’t support Noynoy if they come to a one-on-one face-to-face meeting with the president-elect. But the anonymity of facebook gives them the spines to say that, “No, we don’t support him.”

    (And by anonymity, of course, we don’t talk about real anonymity, but the shroud that the internet provides it users. It’s like when you do something in the internet, you are detached from your real self… that nothing you say or do in the internet will have a concrete effect in your physical life.)

    Great post, Jody. :3

    June 20, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    • Hi, Erose! 🙂 Aww, thank you for the compliment. 🙂

      Yes, I agree with you that anonymity is one big factor that contributes to all of this hype. I remembered the ‘Kris Aquino’s Despedida’ page after reading your comment. As far as I know, it attracted thousands of fans in Facebook to support Kris’s leaving the country when Noynoy wins the election. Fans said that Kris made a promise to leave the country for good when her brother wins and if she gives him a problem.

      This page was featured on TV and its administrators were interviewed. However, they said that the page is just actually for fun.That’s all.

      This now brings me to think that people, who engage in these related activities, should not be complacent that what they say in the Internet will remain in the Internet. Just what you said, “being detached from their real self”. Most people nowadays have two different and contradictory personas existing. One is in their real lives and the other is in their cyber ones. 🙂

      June 21, 2010 at 5:34 PM

  10. mae

    you were able to explain how the internet can affects our daily lives. like for facebook, there is no age limit on using facebook as long as you know how to operate its application. I personally, would like to agree on banning any social platforms in every workplace. but there’s a part of me saying that it shouldn’t either, most especially when you are an internet buff. but the bottomline is that, internet is no exemption to anybody. anyone and everyone can hitch the internet.:)

    June 21, 2010 at 4:45 PM

  11. barrycade

    i like how you made an effort to link the discussion of Internet to OrCom practice. that’s how it should be,I believe.

    just temper statements like “world’s advancement is in the hands of a drop-out” as it needs some back-up to be credible.

    and talking about credibility, this is a relevant subject to bring up in the talk of social media, where the audience is also a publisher. you gave good examples of how public opinion has become the “credible” expert opinion. what must be stressed more, i believe, is that by being given the “credibility,” we must be responsible with the content or information we will provide.

    June 27, 2010 at 4:48 PM

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