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Posts tagged “New Social Media

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.


Cry and click: What links depression to social media

Social networking sites have definitely changed us. Not because the way we communicate nor the way we connect to others has. How we view ourselves and the world are now in a flux more than ever because of social media.

I am coming clean. Two years ago, I suspected myself having a depression because of the usual things adolescents like me go through. Conflicts and issues with family, circle of friends, and even people I never thought I would care so much about became the dwelling thoughts in my mind from the moment I close my eyes to sleep to the time I wake up. I was actually not the type of person who cries easily when the going gets tough as I am used to put on a fierce and bold mask when terrible circumstances arise even though I am tearing up inside. How exactly did I escape  those dark times I do not know. However, as I discover my strengths and weaknesses from those experiences, there is this one that influenced my outlook in life now- yes, you are correct- social media.

(photo credits to : http://www.healthspablog.org)

Psychologists in the University of Leeds, UK studied if there is a relation between the use of Internet, particularly social media, and depression in February this year. They found that there is indeed a correlation between the two variables and even discovered that young people are more vulnerable to depression as their Internet addiction is definitely higher that middle-aged adults. The whole article can be read here.

The study even poses a new question whether the Internet causes depression or depressed people are drawn to browse the Net. In my experience ( as I cannot answer the question myself), I can say that depression and Internet come in cycle, and it is a case-to-case basis to know whether which variable comes first and which comes its implication. The more I visited social networking sites back then, the more I felt that depression covers me. But then, the more I become depressed, the more I sought the comfort of the world wide web.

I am contemplating on the reasons or factors why this phenomenon happens, and here is what I have came up with.

1. Social networking sites empower individuals to project the ‘self’ they think they are.

The conflict between the real self and ideal self of individuals clash in social networking sites. We always want to project a good image and reputation of ourselves, I think that is one basic human drive, to others. And in the Internet, we do this by making our profiles speak the best we have in ourselves. We post even hundreds of our vain photos (pictures of ourselves) in Facebook and Friendster. We want to show all our followers in Twitter that even notable people in the world are following us, too. We want to broadcast in the Net that we have 1,200 friends in Facebook, 50 photo albums, and our one status garners over 70 likes. But then, in real life away from the computer, are all these things true? Do we really look the ‘best’ as we do in our vain pictures everyday? Do we really mean it in real setting when we click ‘like’? I think there is a cognitive dissonance somewhere there and it may cause depression.

I Rate My Day! (www.iratemyday.com)

A social network where users are encouraged to describe how they are feeling that day. The company was founded by D2Soft Technologies based in Montreal, Canada.

2. Since our ideal self is what we want the world to see, we want that ideal self to be the best.

In other words, what we see and encounter in social networking sites give us reasons to be more envious of others. Or is it really that way? What we read, watch, or know from social networking sites sometimes make us feel our emotions, especially when they are negative, twice its heaviness. You feel so alone and problematic and there’s no one to comfort you and suddenly you found all your friends changed their status to ‘in a relationship’. Wouldn’t you feel heavier? You want to be the best in your class this semester and this high school competitor of yours when it comes to grades suddenly receives a lot of praises because he or she got a 1.0 in all his or her subjects? Wouldn’t it make you feel a loser? There is an implied competition in social networking sites without our awareness. We cannot help to compare ourselves with others, let’s say the one who you are stalking is in relationship with.

3. We realize that our cyberlife is different from real life.

In times of problems, we have the tendency to sign in on our social media accounts, post a status of what we are truly feeling, comment on that, and chat with those who are online. But then, do they really ease the pain and all? They help in some extent but the degree of how we feel and think is still the same. I am not saying that social media is or not therapeutic in this sense. Our 1,200 friends in Facebook are actually only 50 in real life. Among the 70 comments that our status has, only 10 of them are from friends that are really close to us. People in Facebook, Twitter, Multiply, or Tumblr may have all the :), :D, XD, or even :)))))))))))))))))))))) in their posts but not all of them have the same facial expression in the very same moment. I think in one way or another, this is a mechanism that we develop to project what we feel in the Internet. This is a probable cause if depression because there are instances wherein our emotions are actually augmented by our interactions in the Web.

But then, whatever reasons there are that account to our depression, what is important is how we deal with them and learn. This is even more exciting- social media is affecting us deeper as we do not know it- as social media is now a factor in our self-discovery.


Because Facebook is Filipino

I can vividly remember the first time I learned what Facebook is all about. It was in 2007- when a close friend of mine living halfway around the globe was nowhere to be ‘found’ except on this social networking site. I created an account, added him as my first friend, and used the account for mere communication with him. I had so much hesitations on creating an account back then- without knowing that the very site will have 400 million active users by 2010.

Yes, 400 million, and as I think of it, I can imagine almost the whole world is in Facebook. I decided to use and update my own account in April 2009 because of some personal matters. I was surprised to see that my batchmates, classmates, friends I met in my 12 years of being a student could only be found in one site. The summer in 2009 gave me a hard time dealing with some emotional problems (yes, I was that serious, haha) and so, I decided to give my life a new taste. One of these was to join a new social networking account than Friendster, which I had used for three years, and make new friends. Luckily, I found a ‘home’ in Facebook.

And I found a new ‘home’ in the company of my new-found Korean friends online. It is really difficult to find foreign friends online who have the same interest as you do, whom you like, and like you back. One of them, a really dear friend, posted in her account last week:

Yes, Facebook is not widely used by South Koreans. But according to the 2009 Internet World Statistics, South Korea ranks as the fourth country in Asia who has the most number of Internet users. Philippines, where members of social networking sites (and some of them have multiple accounts even), ranks in the sixth place.

South Korea has a huge number of Internet users but some of them have accounts on Facebook. There are Korean social networking sites, too, such as  Cyworld (minihompy) http://www.cyworld.com/ss9696, and Korean celebrity news say that using Twitter is an emerging trend there nowadays. However, despite ranking two places below South Korea, Philippines can be inferred to hold a huge number among the 400 million Facebook users or even all Filipino Internet users have own Facebook accounts. My theory or idea  before that Facebook is trans-cultural and universal is now wrong. Then, what is it in Facebook that makes Filipinos addicted to using it?

Only in the Philippines

I believe that Filipino culture and values has a lot to do with the rise of Facebook (FB)usage in the country. Many would say that Filipinos are social people and that makes FB usage even more rampant. But then, aren’t other cultures social as well? It’s striking to note that Friendster and Facebook were and are both widely used by Filipinos although the two do not have the same features. Aside from adding friends, posting comments, and posting and uploading photos or videos, the two sites have their own qualities. What does these sites, FB in particular, have that make Filipinos so receptive? Here are some Filipino values related to communication that Tomas Andres discussed in his book, Filipino Behavior at Work.

The Filipino Sociostat

According to Tomas Andres (2001), this is the Filipino tendency to stay in the group rather than to stick out. Filipinos are part of a collective culture still no matter how the principles of individualism apply to some aspects of our culture. It is still Filipino to identify one self in a group and enjoy the company of a certain one. Perhaps, peer pressure can be one of the factors that influence one to have his or her FB account as everybody in school or workplace talks about the latest fanpage or FB application there is. Bandwagon could be another. Everyone has his or her accounts and that is the only reason why a person should create his or her own. Reasons like these.  But then, it is still evident in Filipino culture to be part of a whole or a group rather than enclose oneself to being alone.

Tsismis

Tomas Andres also classifies this Filipino value related to communication to be the tendency of Filipinos to know the private or secret life of a person and to spread such secrets. He also accounts that this is the favorite pastime of Filipinos at the expense of others. True enough, who disagrees that most of the tsismis we know now are the information we read in our friends’ posts in their walls? Our own ‘Home’ page in our own accounts is open (unless we filter or hide some friends’ updates)- we can view and know what our friends are up to, are feeling, or are planning to do with no so much effort at all. Sometimes, even though we did not intend to, we come to know those information. Moreover, the ‘comment’ feature of FB in every post allow us to ask further or give our reactions to our friends. When there is something we read new or unusual in FB, we can’t help to comment. We can’t help to discuss among ourselves online a certain issue.

Parinig

Filipinos are non-confrontational people in general. We have to prevent conflicts as much as possible even though it takes for us to conceal what we genuinely feel or think. Communication, then, becomes high-context because the real meaning of a Filipino’s statements are no longer explicitly stated. Andres calls parinig, letting the intended party hear by speaking to a different person, is a way of communicating the truth without hurting the feelings of the receiver. In Facebook context, posting a status, liking a page, or allowing or joining an application can be considered how this communication style is apparent.

See? Even conversations are in the Internet now, Filipino idiosyncracies, particularly in communication, will stay the same.


No muggles allowed: www.butterbeer.com

Over a week ago, the third official trailer of the Harry Potter series final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was finally released (watch here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8NSQmPoyeE&feature=fvst) . And two nights ago, Dolores Umbridge topped the trending list in Twitter.  Really, Dolores Umbridge?

So I tweeted:

And my friend could not even believe what I just tweeted. Being a huge Harry Potter fan, I was amazed that night to know that people all over the world were tweeting about Harry Potter the most. From those tweets, I learned that most of them were tweeted by Indonesians for the Order of the Phoenix (if I am not mistaken) was being shown in their local TV that time. Harry Potter hype is still in! And even You-Know-Who attests to this.

The Dark Lord’s tweet made my night. Dolores Umbridge, Harry’s professor in Defense Against the Dark Arts in his 5th year and replaced Albus Dumbledore as the Headmistress for quite sometime, is a character of evil in the series whom everyone in Hogwarts wants to get rid of.

But then I am thinking, what if the magical world becomes equipped with social media? Could everyone say ‘I shall not tell lies’? How would the story go?

A website not for muggles- Why not?

When Hogwarts students are taking vacation, third year students and upperclassmen are allowed to visit Hogsmeade, a village outside the wizarding school. Students enjoy themselves with butterbeer while chatting and all. Perhaps, a new social media named after this refreshment will surely capture the attention of all Hogwarts students wherever House they belong.

Butterbeer (photo credits: http://www.harrypotter.wikia.com)

Butterbeer. com (www.butterbeer.com)will be the new haven of everything students can’t talk about at school. I envision it to be like Twitter or Facebook, where students can check on the status of their friends, stalk their crushes, or develop a game where the one to be beaten is Professor Snape. Above all, passwords on accounts will require an original spell from a student or person that only he or she knows. Hmm, I wonder if this social media will look like this:

photo credits: Facebuko.com

Through this hypothetical social media in the magical world, status and relationships will surely be a lot more different than they used to be. Hermione Granger’s genius will be severely tested. Owls may be kept as pets only and not for mail anymore. Hogwarts can be friends online with those from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. Student organizations can have their own websites, forums, and Butterbeer pages without the knowledge of their professors. There will be less use of broomsticks or apparitions. Maybe, even the Marauder’s Map might not be thrilling anymore. Everyone will not be even afraid to type the Dark Lord’s name in websites. Everything will never be the same.

The Impact to Hogwarts

Hogwarts, as an academic organization, should develop strategies that will build their image to be as it was amidst these changes. The moment that the administration knows about this phenomenon, it cannot be stopped- like what is happening now in the Internet. The changes on teaching methods, policies, detentions, safety measures, and others will surely be translated to reality. It should cater to their shareholders better: the students’ parents, the students, the teachers, and the whole wizarding world. It should think of new ideas that will get them catch up with the various hypes the young generation or their students submit themselves into and nail their image of being the best wizarding school in Britain or Europe.

Some of Hogwarts professors (photo credits: http://blithesea.net/)

Horcruxes and Hallows on Wiki

The highlight of the last book: Will Harry go for the horcruxes or the hallows? In the Half-blood Prince,the 6th installment,  it was revealed that Harry should destroy the remaining horcruxes to run for his life; in Deathly Hallows, he should find the hallows before Volde- oops, You-Know-Who does. How would the course of events go if Harry could search for these things on Wikipedia?

The Harry Potter series (photo credits: http://i42.tinypic.com/2462ago.jpg)

Of course, there will be no story anymore as adventurous as J.K. Rowling has written it. But then, these two things- horcruxes and hallows- remain secret as the information about them are only from people’s memories. They are the top secret topics the magical world could ever hide. It will be then a different challenge for Harry to look for these when the Internet could not supply them. Hmm, so this could spark a better plot for Harry, then- deciphering the loose ends of the new digital world and the old school wizarding one. Should You-Know-Who panic now since getting information will be a lot easier?

In Reality

But then,in reality, perhaps what made the Harry Potter series loved by million of audiences is its idiosyncrasy in itself. It presents the ‘old’ and traditional school life as an adventurous and thrill-filled that everyone of us wishes and has wished to have had experienced. At present, we can not imagine ourselves surviving a week without a single use of Internet or a single peek on our social networking site accounts. Somehow, it depicts a way of living long akin to the years long before the first appliance known in muggle world was invented- a lifestyle that we all want to experience as we submerge ourselves to the magic of the book itself.

Browse more on the wizarding world at http://harrypotter.wikia.com


The country’s wee small hours

If you were the president of the country, what is the first thing that you would change?

This is what a close friend of mine and I are discussing over and over again whenever the issue of nationalism becomes instantly related to a conversation about anything we have interest in. I keep on thinking this through because I still do not have a justifiable answer until now.

“I would definitely change our mass media first”, my friend asserts. “Mass media play the biggest role on how our nationalism was shaped over the years. We need a change on how we look ourselves as Filipinos.”

This is one fact that has been bugging me since yesterday. Everyone knows that yesterday marked a historic event for the Philippines- of a new hope and, perhaps, change. All the people in the streets (as I saw on TV) were cheering for and talking about the new president. Our neighbors could not control themselves yelling, “Go, Pres. Noynoy!”. My parents turned the TV on at 7am, three hours before the event proper, to show how excited were they to witness the new milestone. Everyone was enthusiastic and hopeful yesterday. Everyone but me.

Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III waves to the crowd during his inaugural address (photo credits: Reuters)

I really do not know why did I feel that yesterday was just an ordinary day. I can say it’s not because I am not a fan of the President nor a die-hard hater of former President Arroyo, but because I can feel that the country has entered a vicious political cycle again. There was nothing festive to me yesterday. That’s it.

I can vividly remember that day before the May 10 elections when I was all confused whom to vote for the following day. The decision on whom to give my golden vote gave me the thrill tantamount to what I felt on which major to take. That day was like a matter of life and death, now-or-never thing. But the thing was, I lost my faith in mass media. It was just so obvious that there are media companies which were ‘campaigning’ for someone. That’s when I decided to trust the Internet more than what the mass media. I started to search for each of the candidates’ websites, student forums, Facebook pages, and debate and interview videos on YouTube. I began to make my own research on the Net without the influence of political campaigns on TV or the arguments of my parents or friends. I saw the various sides of the controversies, even those not aired on TV. Perhaps, this is one quality the Internet will always have over mass media- it does not protect parties and will never be controlled by people who are rich or in power. Does the Internet equates itself to ‘education’ now? But then, I think that had the Internet emerged generations ago, our parents should have had a different viewpoint from what they have now and so is the country’s course of history.

Going back to my friend and I’s question, I can’t still find an attainable answer although I agree with him that mass media account the most for people’s opinion on issues. But then, I hope that the first thing our new president will do or change has a huge impact on upholding Filipinos’ nationalism and pride. Now in the era of globalization, every country is in the threat of losing its own sense of identity while earning its way for global competition. Most of the time, I think Philippines is already about to let its unique culture and identity fade away. This may be sad, but I don’t want to be pessimistic at all. Never.


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.


“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.