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 Politics 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 Carlo Ople* (Editor's note: re-posted from author's blog http://newmedia.com.ph) AS most of you probably know by now, the House of Representatives approved
HR 1109, more commonly known as the Con Ass (Constituent A
ssembly) resolution. I'm pretty sure that the Senate will take this up
with the Supreme Court to determine if what the House did was in accordance to
our constitution. Anyway, I wanted to focus more on what was happening on Face
book while the hearing was going on. Several opposition congressmen were actual
ly micro-blogging on Facebook! Imagine that, hahaha! I took some screen shots f
or your viewing pleasure. Check out what some of our congressmen said in Facebo
ok after the break.
CONGRESSMAN TEDDY CASINO
One of my personal favorite comments during the evening. A lot of people left c
omments on this and it was nice to see that Congressman Casino was replying to
some of them. Talk about real time interaction. Note my comment in the print sc
CONGRESSMAN RUFFY BIAZON
Congressman Biazon was very active on Facebook during the proceedings. He was a
ctually like a reporter the entire time. It's kinda sad that he wasn't given th
e opportunity to speak during the plenary but at least he was able to voice out
what was in his mind through Facebook.
CONGRESSMAN ERIN TANADA
I was able to hear Congressman Tanada deliver his objection speech. It was very
articulate and hard-hitting. He wasn't able to update during the actual procee
dings but he was able to make posts before and after.
While it's not Plurk or Twitter, these Congressmen actually micro-blogged throu
gh the status update feature of Facebook. I'm sure that it's only a matter of t
ime before their staff teaches them how to actually microblog through their mob
ile. Maybe we'll see more consistent updates then.
Social Media is a very powerful communications tool, and I wouldn't be surprise
d to see more politicians start using this channel not just for the 2010 campai
gn, but also for governance. I talked about this in length during my interview with Cheche Lazaro (Media In Focus).
So, interested to hear what your congressmen have to say online? Add them up on
Carlo Ople is the main author of New Media Philippines, a blog that aims to
help Filipinos maximize and realize the potential of New Media. Apart from bei
ng a blogger, Carlo also serves as a Marketing Manager for one of the leading o
nline gaming companies in the Philippines. He is also a freelance digital marke
ting consultant and has worked with various politicians and business owners exp
and their reach and influence through the use of social media.
By Anna Valmero INQUIRER.net REALIZING the power of blogging to disseminate information, the Commission on E lections (Comelec) is tapping the Elections Education and Information Departmen t (EID)'s blog t o give updates on the ongoing voters' registration. "Now that we have the technology available and stable, the Comelec will use the bagongbotante.ph blog website to give voters here and abroad updates about the ongoing registration and at the same time, to gather feedback from voters, esp ecially the youth," said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez. Jimenez said the Comelec aims to educate the youth on how registration is being conducted in the National Capital Region and to encourage them to register as voters. âUnlike before when technology is unavailable to us and blogging is a domain fo r hobbyists and experts, now is the right time--when we have access to technolo gy and blog systems are more stable--to fully utilize the power of blogging to encourage Filipinos to register and exercise their rights of suffrage,â said Ji menez. Through articles, pictures and videos, the site offers voters a "fee l of the registration process" in the National Capital Region, said Jimenez. Since January 19, three EID staff visit different Comelec offices and registrat ion centers to gather news and information. They then publishÂ these reports v ia the blog. Jimenez said this is part of EID's monitoring duties. âWe included pictures and videos to show voters the ongoing registration proces s. Usually, people do not believe until they see pictures and videos and as wit h news delivery, this has been the strategy of mass media so we want to keep up with the times," said Jimenez. Jimenez added voters can post feedback to the Comelec via the comments box and shout box or get advise from the poll body about concerns on voter's ID, regist ration process and the like. An upcoming feature on the site will be the "e-plaza miranda" sub-domain, where Comelec will post information about candidates for the national elections. Likewise, Jimenez said candidate can post articles and their objectives or poli tical platform on the e-plaza miranda, once they assume office. Filipino voters can then comment on these political platforms and directly ask questions to the candidates, thus encouraging online interaction between the ca ndidates and their constituents. "Since the site can be viewed by anyone with access to the web, this will also be instrumental in updating the .5 million overseas absentee voters, which will vote for national positions in the 2010 elections,â said Jimenez. Jimenez said other topics included in the blog include Comelec announcements an d voter's education. Media and market research firm ACNielsen estimated that the number of Philippin e-based Internet users has reached about 24 million in 2008. Voters can also follow Bagong Botante through social networking sites Facebook and Multiply a nd micro-blogging service Plurk. Watch this video report:
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"?
As I'm writing this, I'm watching the unfolding of a historic event in American history over the Internet. Thanks to CNN.com and Facebook, I can now watch president-elect Barac k Obama's inauguration on the web--wirelessly, that is. What makes this event interesting is I'm getting this supposed "live" stream fr om CNN over my wireless connection of 1.8Mbps. There are slight pauses. But so far, my connection is not giving up on me. To make things more spicy, I can see people in my Facebook network logged on to this CNN Live streaming video in partnership with the popular social networkin g website. Now, I can chat with fellow Facebook addicts from the Philippines. One Facebook user says this is going to change how Presidential inaugurations a re covered. And the social network aspect of it is simply brilliant. Score one for CNN and Facebook. Another was wondering how many Filipinos are watching thi s live feed. Judging from the comments that are coming in by the minute (or sec onds), a lot. I also found from fellow Facebook friends that this online video streaming service is different from what you see on cable TV!
By Agence France-Presse KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia's leading blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, wa s Friday released from detention under controversial internal security laws aft er a court ruled the government had no right to hold him. Raja Petra, a vocal government critic who had been held at a notorious detentio n camp since September, wept and embraced his family after being freed by the S hah Alam High Court. "I'm realy glad it's over. I'm really tired. The judge's decision proves that t here was no justification for my detention," he said, calling for an end to the Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows for detention without trial. "We have to fight all-out and get the ISA abolished," he told reporters. Looking haggard and dressed in a brown T-shirt and jeans, Raja Petra was garlan ded by dozens of supporters outside the court before stepping into a maroon Rol ls Royce provided by a supporter to ferry him home. "It's a great day for human rights and fundamental liberties," said Malaysian human rights commissioner Denison Jayasooria. "The executive must use the ISA only in situations where there is a real threat to national security," he told AFP. Raja Petra, founder of the popular Malaysia Today website which has outraged to p leaders with its stream of critical stories, was detained in September for wr iting articles that allegedly insulted Islam. His lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said the High Court ruled earlier Friday that Ho me Minister Syed Hamid Albar had acted outside his powers by ordering Raja Petr a to serve two years in detention without trial. "The judge ruled that the circumstances which existed at the time that Raja Pet ra was detained did not satisfy the threshold conditions under the ISA," he tol d AFP. Malik said it was the first time a court has ordered the release of an ISA deta inee since 1989, when courts were barred from interfering once a detention orde r has been signed by the home minister. "It is certainly an historic ruling and a profound moment for civil liberties i n this country," he said, while adding that the government can appeal the decis ion. Opposition parliamentarian Lim Kit Siang said the ruling "sustains hope that ba sic judicial decency, independence and integrity have not been completely destr oyed, despite two decades of judicial darkness." He called on the government to "fully respect" the verdict and "slap down any t rickery or stratagem to frustrate the judicial decision, such as a re-arrest." Raja Petra is best known for his articles on politics, and had already been cha rged with sedition and defamation for linking Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife to the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman. But he was also accused of threatening public security and causing racial tensi on by inciting hate in his articles on Islam -- a serious offence in predominan tly Muslim Malaysia. There has been a rash of detentions in recent months under the ISA, which allow s for renewable two-year periods of detention without trial. Raja Petra was detained on the same day as opposition lawmaker Teresa Kok and j ournalist Tan Hoon Cheng, both of whom have since been freed. Tan's arrest in particular caused a furore as she had merely reported on racist comments from a ruling party member who was subsequently suspended by the Unit ed Malays National Organisation.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net MAKATI City, Philippines -- Senator Manuel Roxas III is taking his online prese nce further. Aside from his official website, an e-forum and accounts in social networking s ites, Roxas has finally opened his own blog a> and is setting up his own virtual ral ly to further promote his advocacies. Roxas' other websites include one that is about his official function as senato r. He also has entries in Facebook.com, Friendster.com and MySpace.com. Roxas who uses the handle "misterpalengke" launched his official blog last Augu st 1, after meeting up with bloggers in Quezon City. It appears, however, that he made his first posting on July 27. So far, there are three blog entries, though the last two entries were written by "Kael", a staff member of Roxas, and "Susan", a former staff member. Meanwhile, Roxas's Virtual Rally site is still undergoing final revisions but t he main page is already readable. One of his staff members said in an interview that they will soon finish working on the site. The virtual rally, created in Adobe Flash, is aimed at gathering a virtual crow d to peacefully protest different issues. People can use avatars to represent t hemselves in the rallies. So far, there are 111 members of the virtual rally and the main topic for now i s the fuel price hike.