Saturday, December 31, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
The mighty netizens that can trend whatever hashtag it wills. From the fuzzy #RoyalWedding to the empowering #ArabSpring. The people of the Middle East decided to utilize the power Social Media to fight and eventually overthrow power, so much so that they even wanted to proclaim Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg a modern hero.
In a web forum, however, Zuckerberg said Facebook did not fuel the revolution in places likeTunisia, Libya and Egypt. "It's not a Facebook thing, it's an internet thing," the young mogul was quoted saying. It is an internet thing, and precisely the kind of power Social Media wields that when the deadly tsunami and earthquake hit Japan last March, the internet was the melting pot of all outreach, whether it was to send good thoughts or tangible help. And it was successful.
New York Time's Brian Stelter said over the documentary "Page One: Inside the New York Times," and I quote: "I don't know why anybody who's a reporter isn't on Twitter, I constantly berate my colleagues who aren't on it. It drives me nuts hearingmy colleagues talk about a story at noon, and I read it on Twitter on midnight. Why is that allowed? Why are we not on top of the news?" Here is a kid who had two things in excess: Internet time, and passion for news. He blogged and blogged about TV News long enough for the Times to notice and hire him, at a convenient time where WikiLeaks was just exploding, and Stelter had his game face on, looking out for leaked videos, cables, talking to Julian
Assange and convincing the Editors to put him on Page One.
Even the Philippines is having its share of WikiLeaks exposure, with the media milking the cable of Kristie Kenney allegedly underplaying Cory Aquino's role in democracy. The former US envoy kept mum and could not be reached for an on-cam interview, but GMA News' Lei Alviz had an idea: tweet Kenney, and although the reply was of "no comment" equivalent, Alviz was able to screengrab and voila, story is complete.
President Noynoy Aquino's communication group, for one, is so fond of Twitter that they sometimes forget they are the Palace's mouthpiece.
Atty. Edwin Lacierda, during the height of transport strikes, hit back at critics: "Noticed how leftists are so onion-skinned? Tinawag lang perjuicio ang strike, pumuputok ang butchi nila! Mahilig bumanat pero mga pikon pala."
A journalist called Lacierda on it, saying he should separate personal opinion and government duty. But the Presidential spokesperson candidly replied: "Why? Who came up with those rules?"
Perhaps Atty. Lacierda is right, that there are no rules governing the platform and how News is integrated into it. But it only makes it more fun, more free, and this is not to say the media would have a carnival out of Twitter notoriety, just that news limited to recorders, cameras and steno pads is long over. Welcome to the digital era - where it is no longer enough to just think, do or be; now it's to think, do, be something, and then tweet it.
Today, everyone has a voice, everyone - from top government officials to a street photographer - want a piece of Social Media for themselves, making stories that unfolded over the Internet a must for the mainstre
am audience, lest we alienate the more than 20 million Filipinos online whose voice and pull got Twitter to include Philippines among countries to have its own Trending Topic list, and get this, language. [GMA News Online: Twitter now in Tagalog]
Some say this might be used as a tool for sloppy research, but as its very nature goes, the rampant use of Social Media among every kind of person - whether it be a citizen, a resource person, a subject, and the journalist - leaves no excuses for a work to lack a certain element. All you need, if not within a screen's reach, pans out with the press of your fingertip.
Before Facebook, there was Friendster and Myspace; Social Networking was already a thing but not without the human element that Zuckerberg had so brilliantly weaved in, making it into a social product that everyone just can't seem to get enough of.
"Now the cultural change is more and more people are finding that they can build a reputation, they can help disseminate interesting information, help people discover stuff, get credit for that, they can be part of people discovering other stuff and I just think that people are seeing, everyday, that it's awesome." - Mark Zuckerberg
Had the Anti-Planking bill been filed at a time of no Facebook and Twitter, it could have just as easily slipped through to become a law. But under netizens' probing nose - no can do, Mr. Castelo. With Social Media,
there is a pressure for the government to get its act together and perform well - to please its people, and rightly so. After the DPWH photoshopped mess and the Batangas Hollywood sign brouhaha, every official is made to think more than twice about what he'll push. In today's trending topic times, no one wants to be made out to a meme. It's funny but it just isn't flattering.
Wasn't it a blog post, which was followed by a site poll and then a loud online clamor that fast-tracked the renovation talks on
NAIA? The Ninoy Aquino International Airport had been in a poor state for a long time, but alas came the tweets and blogs that merited space in TV and broadsheets which left the government no other choice but to contain the public and say: Yes, we will renovate it, don't you fret.
Wasn't it Social Media that Tourism Chief Ramon Jimenez endorsed as the best medium to promote the Philippines? It can sell as well as Chicken Joy, he said. Best-selling author Paulo Coelho had once already tweeted dreaming of coming to the Philippines. With his almost 3 million followers, cult as you may, who worships and subscribes to every word he writes - expect a fraction of that to visit our islands.
Wasn't it Social Media too who gave birth to Charice, Maria Aragon, and the worldwide phenom, Justin Bieber? The 12-year-old Justin, starting out in the Industry, thought up a marketing plan that some record execs in the Philippines are mind-blowingly failing to take notice of, he said: 'I continued tweeting, promoting my shows, replying to messages, that way, my fans feel like they're part of my career, from the beginning, it makes them feel they're important, which they are.'
2011 saw the influx of issues that took to Social Media to get a push: some socially relevant, some turned out ugly, and some are just downright viral but nevertheless made our internet time (mischievously) worthwhile.The gauge today seems to be: if it didn't rend, it just plain didn't.
And let me close it with an excerpt from a piece by New York Time's David Carr: "Like many newbies on Twitter, I vastly overestimated the importance of broadcasting on Twitter and after a while, I realized that I was not Moses and neither Twitter nor its users were wondering what I thought. Nearly a year in, I’ve come to understand that the real value of the service is listening to a wired collective voice." [New York Times: Why Twitter would endure]
No one in the internet, not even Lady Gaga, is Moses. But as Facebook reports to having 800 million users, and Twitter claiming its pushing to 200 million; with a well-meant cause, we, as roboheads and as people, could very well part the sea.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The first time I heard Glen Hansard and Marketa Inglova's 'Falling Slowly,' I thought wow this is a really good song. Then I heard it again, and learned the words, heard it again, downloaded it, heard it again, put it on my repeat playlist, and just when you think there's only so much time to devour a song, you hear it again on a movie it was made for, with lead 'actors' that turned out to have actually 'fallen slowly' for each other in real life, and a story that defies the foundation of this theory we call the 'Happy Ending.'
In one of Glen Hansard's live performances, he introduced the song as a "story about going to a party with your girlfriend, and she goes off to get a drink, and you're standing there on your own, and you look across the room, and you see this girl you utterly fancy, it's not mental, you just feel it, and you realize that it's your girlfriend. You're like cha ching!"
But what if you don't have the 'cha ching' moment? What if, when you look across the room, staring at this beautiful person you just desperately fancy and you realize, he's not your boyfriend? What if when you look across the room, you find that nobody's even there?
And Miluju tebe? ('It's you I love' in Czech) What if you can't say it? What if there's no one to say it to?
What I loved most about the film 'Once,' despite the characters remaining nameless throughout, is their not ending up together. The guy fancied the girl, the girl loved the guy - at a whim, on a romantic hill in Dublin, days before deciding she wanted to make it work with her husband. And it ends there. Him going to London, going back to the love he once lost and chasing a dream. Her staying in Dublin, rekindling a marriage. Was it a sad ending? No. It's life. It's not perfect, but it's tragically brilliant when it hits the right notes.
I think that even though longevity and consistency make for a wonderful life, sometimes you have to look at it in frozen frames, pick out moments when the world stood still and you said to yourself, "cha ching! this is it," no matter how long it lasted for. In a span of weeks, a guy met a girl he at least loved for a moment, and those moments were incomparable only because they shared the same sad music. And that whiff of a memory, of meeting a girl, and singing in a music store after knowing her for only a day, has a potential of lasting forever.
When you're 21 and still single, every conversation you will have will more or less include a question why you haven't found love yet. How do you answer something like that? They'll ask, "don't you want to?" "aren't you ready?" But of course you want to, and you're ready. But when have wanting and being ready ever merited realization?
You could be standing all the way across the room, looking out a window to nothing, and feeling happy by default. And you say, "wait I'm happy here." Sometimes, that's enough, and you can only wish for more moments like that. Like tonight, as I write this, and on the 15th time today that I've played this song, I look across the room, and I realize, I am, in fact, happy.
Besides, "games that never amount to what they're meant will play themselves out" right? It falls slowly, and sometimes on a rather different path, sometimes painful, but it falls in whatever place it should. It doesn't mean it's not a happy ending.
It's just life. Raise your hopeful voice. You have a choice.
It's too early to call it a midlife crisis, too late to call it puberty. It's the time of your life where you're too old to show off and too young to screw up. The time you're pressured to "go out there," "have fun" and "see the world" when you can barely afford a decent meal.
It's the time of paradoxes. Season of the bipolars. Age of depression.
Your decisions could determine the next 10 years of your life. The no's and yeses you give out could ultimately draw the line whether you're gonna marry your true love, or someone who makes sense, or if you marry at all. Whether you get married in a beach, or at the city hall; whether you get to live in your dream suburban house or in an urban broken home.
It's all being decided at this very moment, when all you have the energy for is battle PMS. The world is staring you bluntly in the face, asking "What the hell are you going to do?' and you, well, you don't know.
It's not that you don't know what you're doing. It's that you want to do everything. You want to travel, you want to fall in love, you want to be dedicated to your job, be the best at it, you want to change the world, and there is just so little time to do it all.
Hollywood actress Helen Mirren once said: "The hardest period in life is one’s twenties. It’s a shame because you’re your most gorgeous and you’re physically in peak condition. But it’s actually when you’re most insecure and full of self-doubt. When you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s frightening."
When you are finally at a liberty to do everything you want, that's when it gets the scariest. Because what if you can't do it all, what if you can't do anything? You can no longer blame it on the perils of being too young, or too much responsibilities, you can only blame it on yourself and the fact that at your best, you were the worst.
And it's messing up your head. You're at a sweet spot of having aged but maintaining a little innocence. The perfect time to be responsible, but to dream big. The time you're allowed to see the world through rose-tinted glasses because you're young, and idealistic. You are part of the future, and you can actually change the course of your generation.
It's a lot of pressure.
Mostly on yourself. When you look in the mirror and see a twenty-something so unsure of herself, when she should be weaving magic.
But as I said, it's the time of paradoxes. You're chasing the unknown.
Scrambling for a dream you're not even sure exists.
And you're falling and you're sinking, and you take on a destructive path into the labyrinth of suffering out to your great perhaps.
There's no other feeling.