Archive for September, 2010

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?