By Carlo S. Ople I was just reading the latest articles on the recently concluded Anti C on-Ass rally on Inquirer.Net. According to the police, this rally had the lowest turnout, around 6,000 based on their estimates. The organizers, on the other hand, claim that they had 13,000-15,000 warm bodies. You got to ask yourself the question: despite all the outrage this issue has generated, why only 15,000 pe ople went to the streets? I'm sure there are varied reasons but at the end of the day the measurement of success for events like this is the number of participants. Sadly 15,000 is not representative of the majority of the Filipino people and can easily be dismis sed by the politicians pushing for Con Ass. However, the good news is that on the Internet, we have almost double the numbe r of the people who went to the rally sign up on the "Stop Con Ass Now" cause on F acebook. As of this writing, there are almost 28,000 sign-ups on the cause. With that in mind, I came up with this short article explaining the strengths of Cyberactivism and why it should be taken seriously not just by the proponents, but also by politicians and organizers who want to provide a platform for the ci tizens to be part of a cause. Physical Rallies can be Inconvenient Let's face it, life these days is hard. Missing a day of work means a salary de duction or a lost vacation/sick leave. The reality is a lot of Filipinos will n ot "pay" to be part of a rally by missing work. I think this was the biggest hu rdle a lot of office workers had to face in Makati when they wanted to join the rally last night. This was the sentiment of several colleagues I have here in the office. Rallies also need a convergence point. You physically have to be in one spot on a specific time to be able to make the effort count. This literally makes the rally limited since those who are outside of Manila, especially those in Visaya s and Mindanao, cannot participate because they won't buy a plane ticket and fl y all the way here to protest Con Ass. Virtual Rallies, on the other hand, are completely the opposite. All you need t o have to be part of it is to have access to the Internet. The good thing these days is that there are more than 10,000+ Internet cafes spread all over the Ph ilippines and most of them charge very reasonable and affordable rates. There are a few cafes in Davao that charge as low as P5/hour. By going to the w orldwide web, you transcend the inconveniences brought about by physical rallie s. You're still counted and your part of the movement without having to spend t hat much time, resources, and effort. Physical Rallies end when they're finished This, I think, is the biggest weakness of physical rallies. When the crowd disp erses, the event ends, especially if there were only a few or an average number of attendees. Other succeeding rallies are usually treated as separate efforts and they don't really all add up in terms of metrics. And that I think is one of the strongest qualities of Virtual Rallies. The mome nt a person joins, he's in it for the long haul. The count is cumulative regard less of the time and space. As long as the website is up and running, people wi ll be counted. That's the reason why the Facebook Cause against Con Ass is alre ady nearing 30,000 sign-ups. Imagine if we give it more time? That number will continue to grow and eventually might even end up more than 100,000. What is more effective in pushing for a cause? An unsure attendance of 6,000-15 ,000 in a rally in Makati or a virtual representation of more than 100,000? Organizers of the Anti Con Ass Campaign should really take Cyberactivism seriou sly. Given the right firepower, the Facebook approach might actually be more ef fective in the long run. Carlo Ople is the main author of New Media Philippines (http://newmedia.com .ph), a blog that aims to help Filipinos maximize and realize the potential of New Media. Apart from being a blogger, Carlo also serves as a Marketing Manager for one of the leading online gaming companies in the Philippines. He is also a freelance digital marketing consultant and has worked with various politician s and business owners expand their reach and influence through the use of socia l media. Read more about him at New Media Philippines (http://newmedia.com.ph)< /em>
Recently in Freedom of Expression Category
By Anna Valmero THE Filipino online community slammed the approval of House Bill 1109 that set up a constituent assembly (ConAss) that might allow the administration to stay in power beyond 2010. The approval of HB 1109 on Tuesday midnight empowered Congress to convene itsel f into a Constituent aseembly, where members of the House and the Senate could vote jointly to amend the 1987 Constitution. Filipino quickly jumped on the issue, as they launched an online website called No to Con-Ass!. Others li nked to this site, as they included an online badge that said, "Have you no sha me?" Filipinos also launched an open letter to administration allies at t he House of Representatives that read:
The Constitution is a defining moment in history. It is the height of creating a politics of freedom, identity, and national strength, created an d ratified on the basis that oneâs country is not designed and built on whims, but that of foresight and the common good. It sets a precedent for justice and fairness, and is the building block of democracy in free nations. June 2, 2009 was a defining moment in history. It is the height of a politics of ignominy, imprudence, and insolence; the approval of a shameless and ambiguo usly-worded resolution that threatens the very existence of this countryâs demo cracy. One that sets a precedent for injustice, unfairness, and opens the door s for corrupting, unchecked power. You made a grip on the very throat of this countryâs democracy, and choked it. Shameless. That resolution will be tested in the Courts, and perhaps maybe eve n struck out of the record one day. Forgotten, perhaps, but it should stand - and it will stand - as a testament to shame.Blogger Marocharim who wrote the statement noted that the letter was supposed to have been sent to Co ngress but he thought twice, saying that "maybe theyâll just throw it away.â Asked to compare going out in the streets or launching an online protest, Maroc harim says, "I see it as a new channel for resistance, like TV. I'm not saying that it will replace the old, kailangan pa ring mag-rally [we still need to att end a rally].â âI am not saying one blog entry will change the world. But from the Dumaguete ( National Summer) Writers Workshop I attended a couple of weeks ago, I realized how much we (writers) can do. Writing isn't about hits or self-promotion or for m and technique--it's about making changes both inside and out,â the blogger sa ys. He quips: âI happened to like my country enough, and to care for this nation en ough, to go in front of my computer and write something a small ripple but Iâm seeing a wave there somewhereâas plurkers link to the site.â Personally, he believes that the Constitution is better amended after the 2010 elections for the reason others cite tooâprudence. âWhen we take the time to sit down, discuss these house bill, get a move-on on the constitution, get everyone involved and educated, debate, disagree, agree-- that's how we do things in democracy; not that way, like they did June 2.â And this action is also reaching out to political figures: Manuel Luis Quezon I II took time to "plurk" a running account of what happened during the Wednesday House session and so d id Bayan Muna party list Representative Teddy Casino. More and more as Filipinos are indeed turning to social networking sites in hop es of swaying political debates.
By NiÃ±a Terol (Editor's note: Originally posted on author's blog) 1. For writers and other creative souls, blogging is practice. Participants of my Freelance Writing for Dummies class know this: I cannot stress enough the im portance of blogging, especially for an aspiring freelance writer. Blogging off ers a free platform for writers and other creatives to test out their ideas, ho ne their writing style, explore various subject matters, and begin developing a relationship with an audience. Writing is very serious work, and anyone who wants to become a writerâwhether f ull-time or part-timeâmust treat it with utmost respect. It is a demanding art- craft that requires the readerâs full attention once the page is opened, so the writer must ensure that the written material is worth the ink, the space, and the readerâs time. Blogging, then, is like the rehearsal before the actual performance. It allows the writer to flex those critical writing muscles and get into character so tha t once âreal writingâ is needed, the audience wonât be disappointed. 2. For public personalities, it is an avenue to connect with their a udience using more than their on-cam persona. Ours is such a media-inundated cu lture that itâs sometimes difficult to tell which is real and which is reel. Ne ws is often biased, sensationalized, and âtelenovela-dâ; reality shows are some times âgamedâ and are often part of the celebrity-manufacturing machinery of ou r ratings-hungry networks; and there is hardly any time or space for public per sonalities to just let themselves be. While blogging by celebrities is one more way of extending their media reach and, therefore, of expanding their populari ty, it can also be a good venue for them to show the public what theyâre really made of. 3. For politicians and other public servants, blogging is one way to connect to their constituencies and have an alternative forum for feedback-gathering. My principal knows this, which is why he tries to update his blog, Facebook, and o ther social networks as often as he can. Blogging is a great way to test out id eas, solicit instant feedback, and continue a two-way dialogue with constituent s that is just made impossible by mainstream media. US President Barack Obama h arnessed the power of blogging and social media to the max; other politicians f rom around the world have learned from his example and are trying to follow sui t. A note for politicians though: donât use blogging and social media merely for g randstanding or to win an election. Use it, too, to improve on current projects , update your constituencies about your projects, ensure transparency in all yo ur operations, and provide a forum for the public to air their grievances. Like reading on a page, reading a blog requires the audienceâs full attention, so p lease make sure that your words are worth our time. 4. For organizations, blogging is an Ã¼ber-cheap alternative for reporting to s takeholders and constituencies, rallying support for a cause, expanding oneâs c onstituency base, or announcing events. If your organization doesnât have the b udget to maintain a website or produce newsletters or annual reports, put up a professional-looking blogsite that can store your updates, photos, advocacy mat erials, and event announcements. In this age of free blogging platforms (I like WordPress and Blogger), free widgets, and even practically-free documentation courtesy of camera phones and low-priced digital cameras, you now have no more excuses to not have your org information and updates online. Oh, and if you want to fund raise online too, blogging will NOT give you the pl atforms for online fund-collection, but it CAN give you avenues to begin a conv ersation with your constituency, build relationships, and âraise friends.â Then the money can start flowing in. 5. For artists, musicians, and other creatives (again), blogging is a free plat form to promote your work and nurture a fan base. For years before he finally p ut up his Multiply site, Iâd been bugging my fiancÃ© Paul to have a venue for c onnecting to potential clients and audiences online. Now that he has a Multiply site and is also on Facebook, heâs enjoying the process of putting some though ts down, choosing photos and videos to upload, making contacts, and meeting âon line buddiesâ from different parts of the world. For creative souls in search of inspiration, blogging is also a great way to ca ll out to the Muse. So is reading othersâ blogs. Who knows what images, words, rhythms, and ideas can arise while reading someone elseâs words, commiserating with someoneâs pain, or sharing someone elseâs joy? 6. For companies, blogging is a great way to reach out to a certain segment of your target market. One brand-built blog that caught my attention is Doveâs Cam paign for Real Beauty, which featured real blogs by real women. It made real Do veâs brand proposition that beauty is not only the domain of models and celebri ties, but of everyday women living everyday (but not necessarily ordinary) live s. According to Technoratiâs State of the Blogosphere 2008: âBrands make up a majo r part of bloggersâ online conversations. More than four in five bloggers post product or brand reviews, and blog about brands they love or hateâ¦ Companies a re already reaching out to bloggers: one-third of bloggers have been approached to be brand advocatesâ¦ Bloggers are most open to receiving marketing messages from other blogs. Even non-blog web content is more influential among this gro up than traditional media sources for brand information.â If you see that blogging would complement your overall brand strategy, then the re shouldnât be any reason not to try it. 7. For families, blogging is a great way to document and share precious family moments that can never be replicated. More than just sharing photos and videos on your social networks, itâs also great to capture the feelings and the conver sations that were all part of the experience. Whether itâs a momentous occasion such as a birth, a wedding, an anniversary, a graduation or a ânon-eventâ such as making pancakes with the kids, taking the pet out for a walk, having an âad ult-likeâ conversation with a toddler, or practically anything else under the s un, blogging is a way to make sure memories donât just fade away. Iâd also recommend good olâ scrap booking, but for busy parents who donât have the time or the patience to artfully lay out photos and other mementos, bloggin g is the way to go. (Blogs can also be set as private so the whole world wonât have to see whatâs meant only for your family and friends.) 8. For individuals, you actually donât need a reason to blog. Some people blog to share recipes, others to share lyrics and quotable quotes. Some use their bl ogs as online journals and share their thoughts and feelings with the world; ot hers use their blogs to comment on social events and be engaged spectators in a world thatâs constantly shifting. Some write lengthy prose that seem like maga zine articles; others write catchy one-liners. Some have an audience of million s; others have an audience of 10. But it doesnât (and shouldnât) matter. As lon g as youâve got something (non-violent and non-offensive) to say, then you shou ld be able to say it. What is personal is universal If you think about it, never before in the worldâs history have we been given a chance to document the worldâs collective consciousness. Now, thanks to blogs and other social media, the Web has become just thatâa repository of the state of peopleâs consciousness at any given time. What were people feeling when the United States elected its first African-Ameri can president? The blogosphere gives us a clear snapshot of that through people âs blog and micro-blog (e.g., Twitter) entries. How are people coping with job loss and financial instability? We can find out at any time, too. What went thr ough your head the moment your crush told you that, yes, he wanted to be with y ou too? If you blogged about it, then you can revisit that time, too. More than self-promotion or self- flagellation, blogs and blogging allow us to understand ourselves and our world better. Brands and politicians alike tune in to the blogosphere because, here, they are able to capture real, instantaneous thoughts and feelings that donât have the normal editing or censure processes of traditional media. Through micro-blogs like Twitter or Plurk, weâre able to capture âThe State of My NationâRight Here, Right Nowâ. The world is constantly changing, the Web is constantly changing, WE are consta ntly changing. But thanks to the introduction of blogging and other forms of so cial media engagement, one thing that will never change is our desire and our a bility to connect to other human beingsâeven if itâs just through flickers of w ords or images on a computer screen. __ NiÃ±a Terol is a self-proclaimed Communicator, Enabler, and Organization-Bu ilder, using the power of vision, words, and connections to inspire, empower, a nd motivate others around her. She is a political communicator by day, a freela nce writer and poet by night, and an advocate for reform in Philippine governan ce 24/7. To subscribe to Long Live Blogging, click here: http://longlivebloggin g.wordpress.com/subscribe/
Filipino bloggers are now p icking up Filipino songwriter Gary Granada's recorded complai nt against GMA Kapuso Foundation, which he accuses of allegedly using his s tudy without his permission. A blog called "Ang Kape Ni LaTt ex," says Granada's recorded complaint has been making the rounds via blogs, Plurk, Twitter and e-mail. The blog says:
In a nutshell, Mr. Granada, a noted Filipino singer-composer, voice d his sentiments against GMA Kapuso Foundation, regarding a jingle that he comp osed music for. According to Mr. Granada, GMA rejected his study for the jingle , but allegedly used his revisions for the lyrics (which was provided to him by GMA), and based the final tune on the musical structure of his study, all with out attribution or pay. It would be best that you listen to the audio cast and hear it in detail and come up with your own opinions regarding the issue. What makes this audiocast special, however, is the extent of Mr. Granadaâs use of New Media â or, âWeb two point ohâ â to detail his complaint, in a totally u nprecedented manner, and against Mainstream Media to boot!Filipinovoices blog has also picked up on the issue.
Rarely do we ever write about the music industry here at FV, but th is specific case will be an exception, only because this is a case of an entire media company denying a wrong that it has done, especially to a very talented composer like Gary Granada. Songwriter and Composer, Gary Granada, was given lyrics which he was supposed t o translate into music. This music would ultimately be used by GMA for a Kapuso foundation media campaign. But, GMA ended up not using Gary Granada, but it se ems that they used his musical creation in the end, and basically ditched Gary and gave him nothing at all, not even a claim on the work itself, because as GM A says, Garyâs work was a âcollectiveâ work.Ang Kape ni LatTex notes that Granada's complaint is "totally unprecedented" be cause of the use of the Internet to air his sentiments.
What makes this audiocast special, however, is the extent of Mr. Gr anadaâs use of New Media â or, âWeb two point ohâ â to detail his complaint, in a totally unprecedented manner, and against Mainstream Media to boot! In the audiocast, he included a clip of his original study, the final product, and a detailed explanation on the musical structure of both, including the musi cal theory behind his gripes and a re-rendered tune comprising of his accompani ment and the tune used in the final cut of the jingle. To say that Mr. Granada maximized new media to explain his side is an understatement â he clearly under stood that this is the best possible way to make people understand the situatio n in its fullest extent.
By Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON--TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington announced Wednesday he is taking a break from writin g for his influential technology blog after being spat on at a conference and g etting death threats. Writing on techcrunch.com, Arrington, 38, said an unidentified man "walked up t o me and quite deliberately spat in my face" on Tuesday at the Digital, Life, D esign conference he was attending in Munich, Germany. "In the past Iâve been grabbed, pulled, shoved and otherwise abused at events, but never spat on," Arrington said. "I think this is where Iâm going to draw a line. "Iâve decided the right thing to do is take some time off and get a better perspective on what Iâm spending my life doing," he said. "Iâll be takin g most of February off from writing, and decide what the best future for me is while sitting on a beach somewhere far away from my iPhone and laptop." "I canât say my job is much fun any more," Arrington said. "Startups that donât get the coverage they want and competing journalists and bloggers tend to accu se us of the most ridiculous things." Arrington, a former lawyer who has been cited as one of the most influential vo ices in Silicon Valley by several leading US publications, also said that last year, "an off balance individual threatened to kill me and my family." "The threats were, in the opinion of security experts we consulted, serious," h e said, "We hired a personal security team to protect me, my family and TechCru nch employees." "I write about technology startups and news," Arrington said. "In any sane worl d, that shouldnât make me someone who has to deal with death threats and being spat on." Arrington said he will attend the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos and be gin his break next week.
This case about Quez on City Science High school students supposedly criticizing their school's policies through their blogs brings to mind issues of freedom of expression and responsibility. Based on earlier reports, these four students blogged about certain policies th ey deemed "unfair." For that, they were suspended. As one student recalled:
âIt's not true that there was due process. We were asked to submit letters of apology and we thought that was it. Next thing we knew, we were susp ended for ten days,â he added.The school reportedly submitted a recommendation that the four students be susp ended for 10 days, which was later approved by the Department of Education's di vision. Later --or after news about the suspension of these students was picked up by media, the DepEd revoked the suspension and ordered an investigation. When I was still in high school, it was unthinkable to criticize school policie s. We do discuss about such things. But they were all done privately among us, students. Back then, there was no Internet to speak of. No blogs. No social net works. Today, it's quite different, as some teachers and college professors I have tal ked to attest. Yes, some teachers know that students blog and that they are now more vocal about their feelings about school policies, subjects, and even the teachers themselves. Some teachers may find this "inappropriate." But others ch ose to tolerate it. Question is: what can teachers/principals/school official tolerate? Based on this report , the students claim they were not given due process when they were suspend ed. Also, they claim that the blogs were "private," meaning only "friends" have access to it. The report indicates that the students' blogs were allegedly critical of the sc hool principal, Dr. Zenaida Sadsad. At this point, it's hard to say whether or not the school was right in suspendi ng these students. Students do have the right to express what they feel, but si nce they were done "privately" albeit through the Internet (think of discussion s in a private mailing list that are posted in a public list), are they answera ble to the school? On the flipside, it is also apt to ask whether or not these students have gone beyond merely venting their feelings to the point of already maligning persons involved. What do you think?
By Anna Valmero INQUIRER.net SOCIAL networking sites continue to evolve and now shape up for a new career: i n the political arena. At Facebookâs News Feed menu, you can identify friends w ho are attending the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama online . In the study "Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship" by Da nah M. Boyd and Nicole B. Ellison, one of the first recognizable social network site launched is SixDegrees.com (1997), as well as Classmates.com which starte d in 1995. Today, social networking sites abound boasting different features, such as mult imedia sharing, links, messaging and micro-blogging. Previously, social networking sites linked up long-lost friends and even strangers, allowing them to interact via personal messages, blogs, file an d link sharing applications, and comment posts. In addition to building online communities, social networking sites have evolved to become tools for product o r self promotion, business, knowledge sharing, news and now, politics. Looking back at the turnout of people on the Internet during Obamaâs inaugurati on, millions have trooped to the Internet to witness this historic event in American history, as they expressed hope, se tup pages for Oba ma on Facebook and kept themselves updated through Twitter. To follow Obama, bloggers worldwide, such as U.S.-based Filipino Rheynz, has po sted a slew of articles at the blogging site Reyna Elena.com on how to view the inauguration as it happened. It has been a refreshing perspective that through social networking sites, peop le can again come together and share their feelings about a historic moment, In ternet-style. What do you think will be the next role of social networking sites? Do you thin k it can cause more "change"?
By Marjorie Gorospe âUNHAPPY the land that is in need of heroes.â This is a notable quotation from German playwright Bertolt Brecht. It is now th e core message of Mae Paner's (a.k.a. Juana Change) latest video posted on YouT ube. Taking the role of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Paner portrays a domestic helper who talks about how OFWs are often considered as "bagong bayani" or new heroes of the country due to sacrifices they make. These new heroes work abroad, leaving their families behind to find jobs elsewh ere. "We do not need praises, we need money," Juana Change says, as she tells a stra nger on a plane about her feelings working abroad. While more and more Filipinos work abroad as professionals, some end up doing j obs that are menial. In the video, her character mocks government officials who go abroad to hide th eir ill-gotten wealth. The video eventually ends with a familiar face: national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. It was as if Paner was showing the two faces of heroes. Rizal sacrificed his li fe for the country; while OFWs continue to sacrifice comfort and dignity to sup port their family and eventually our economy. But as Bretchâs saying goes, this country still needs more heroes who have the genuine interest to serve the country minus personal interest, desire for power and corruption. Watch her video:
JUST a day after aÂ golf c lub mauling incidentÂ was reported, dozens of blogs are denouncing alleged perpetrators who happen to be high-ranking government officials. Masui, Lanao del Sur Mayor Nasser Pangandaman, Jr. and several of his golf comp anions and bodyguards figured in an altercation last December 26 with Delfin de la Paz and his 14-year old son Bino at the Valley Golf and Country Club in Ant ipolo City. It was later found out that Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pang andaman Sr. was also present at the golf club but was said to have not been par t of the alleged mauling. The incident was later blogged byÂ Bambee de la Pazand was reported by several news organizations. Bloggers also picked up the story and have since been calling for an investigation over the incident wh ile a few others called for both Pangandaman's resignations. Bambee de la Paz's blog was reposted on theFilipinoVoices.comÂ and received dozens of comments. Comic book artis t Gerry Alanguilan also posted hisopinionÂ on the matter, while Juned Sonido also had hisÂ takeÂ on the issue. Blogger Tonyo Cruz listed severalÂ messagesÂ from other bloggers in Global Voices. Filipina Mom Bloggerlisted downÂ other blogs that are showing outrage for the alleged mauling. Manuel Quezon III wrote aÂ scathing commentaryÂ where he relates the incident to the warlo rd culture in the provinces. Â