We Are Neighbors

Ok, I don’t know if this is an embarrassing admission but this is part of my treadmill session playlist: Camouflage’s Neighbours. However outdated this song is, I cannot ignore its relevance to recent current events. Libya and the rest of the Middle East, and now Japan. The following lyrics are just striking:

White man yawning in his armchair

smiled while watching white TV.

Hundreds of people death or injured

he never understands this hysteria.

Although the song may have been intended to reflect sentiments of activism, with its reference to white man and black oppression, during the Apartheid days, it still represents the different sides of the globe in this post-new wave era. Whether we accept it or not, many of us do not grasp the full extent of an event until such time when we become active participants, or worse, victims of it.

Some call this apathy and some refer to it as Schadenfreude or the pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others-–gaba in Ilonggo—or generally referred to as karma. How many would agree and admit that there is this some comforting feeling in just being home, glued in front of the TV while shaking our head at the sight of horrific footages from the trivial motorcycle accidents to the major world events as they unfold.  I also don’t know how many people exactly act out of compassion but my best bet is that there’s just a few. I for one haven’t done much. Now that’s an embarrassing admission.

***

There’s this recent discussion about armchair revolutionaries in the Philippines. According to online thread, Jim Paredes described it as people who take their advocacies only thru social networking sites, Twitter and Facebook. From this definition alone, I’m guilty. Nevertheless, while I believe that social media per se brings intangible action, there is still a collective effect brought about by all these bits of chitchats. It is because when people online become aware of what is happening and what is being done by others, they are more compelled to get their hands off the keyboard and use it to do something more productive. This has been proven during the Ondoy crisis wherein coordination between concerned groups and individuals have become more effective and efficient by utilizing the power of the social media. Therefore, it shows that when push comes to shove lots of people still have the tendency to extend actual help however they could whether they are celebrities, politicians, or just the regular Juan Dela Cruz.

So how does one turn social media into a useful tool rather than just a plain chat room? Here are five ways:

Follow the right people. Other than your pals or officemates, keep a list of trusted people (e.g., journalists) who can keep you informed of current events.

Participate actively. Sending an RT (Twitter) or a repost (Facebook) of verified information helps. It is likely that not all of your followers (or friends) follow the same people whom you do, so any important information coming from your trusted source is best relayed to them.

Do not abuse the hash tags. People on Twitter are familiar with the hash symbol (#). It is used to keep anyone track a particular discussion without having to follow certain individuals. During a crisis, one must not use a hash tag (e.g. #tsunami, #Japan, #Libya) just for the sake of attracting attention and unnecessarily flooding the timeline.

Do not spread unconfirmed reports. Just like in the conventional media, doing this doesn’t do any help. This can be avoided by following # 1.

Be sensitive. Or observe tact. A simple comment may seem harmless but some people may find it annoying or offending especially when everyone’s emotional about a recent event. Remember that not all people may share the same humor (note to self: this is for you).

***

Mood: 4/10 (Pray for Japan.)

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RockEd’s DJ Joint Session

Is it possible for a radio show intended to basically talk about nothing to end up being interesting? And more so, is it possible to cram six or more DJ’s coming from different stations in one booth at the same time? The answer is a big yes.

The show was conceptualized by one of the tweeps I follow, @gangbadoy, who herself is a DJ from NU107. Gang is one the most active tweeps who became one of the most recognizable aliases on Twitter during the typhoon Ondoy days. Since then, I’ve seen her become outspoken in politics and more especially after the infamous Ampatuan massacre in Maguindano (although I don’t necessarily agree with some of her opinions). The ruthless killing which included a number of press people became the inspiration for this year’s Rock The Riles (RTR) which also happens to be one of the projects by this very passionate DJ.

I don’t know when RTR actually started, but I was awed by the idea of holding a rock concert in different MRT stations and to think it got an approval considering the schedule was set during the peak hour of its operation. What made it even better and appropriate to this year’s theme of demanding for justice for those press people slain in the massacre is that @gangbadoy was able to get support from DJ’s from other radio stations to host in separate train stations. This I assume was when another light bulb moment came to Gang’s mind: get all those DJ’s who participated to have a joint session at NU107′s booth with an interesting agenda – talk about nothing.

Today is that day and I was so anxious of getting out of class, not that I hate it, just so I can fill my curiosity of what it’s like to have one radio show with different DJ’s at one time. Well, luck must be on my side, when 30 minutes before my alarm sets off to listen to the said show our professor concluded our session ahead of schedule.

I soon heard while starting to drive back home that RockEd’s joint session is indeed all-star cast. As I manage my way out of EDSA’s traffic coming from Rockwell, voices of personalities like Gang, CJ (89.9), Suzie (89.9), Jiggy Cruz (nephew of Noynoy), and KC Montero (MTV) fills void in the car. To my surprise and delight, I also heard the voice of the very opinionated and talkative DJ Mo Twister of the Good Times Show (89.9) fame. Mo expectedly dominated the discussions and was as articulate as if he was in his own 6-9 morning show. Just as planned the show was indeed all about nothing—i.e., anything goes. The topics ranged from the genitals, DJ’s vs. DJ’s confrontations, product endorsement wishlist, presidential candidate choices, ABS-CBN vs. GMA7, failed celebrity interviews and so on and so forth. It’s a shame I got home early and had to get out of the car with the show’s remaining 30 minutes. I’d say this is the most awesome radio show I’ve listened to, and I really wish for an encore. Good job Gang and team.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks (One of those times I’d wish I got stuck in traffic.)

Cool Twitter tools

Even before I can catch up with what I’ve read from Janette Toral’s book, Blogging from Home, which I bought a couple of weeks ago, comes more info from her Twitter account (@digitalfilipino). This time, at least, I got “fresh” updates and was able to immediately try both of it. Janette Toral shared the following cool Twitter tools that tracks (or stalk?) a user’s Twitter activity.

Twitteranalyzer

Here’s one coming from http://www.twitteranalyzer.com which perfectly reflects the surge of my Twitter activity at the height of typhoon Ondoy. I was among those who felt hopeless and guilty about not being able to help the typhoon victims as news about them appear on TV and on Twitter-verse. For those stuck at home, like me who is lucky not to be affected by the flood, the only contribution is to spread via re-tweets (RT) the information coming from those on the field like media men, public officials, and celebrities whose network of tweeps help spread the critical info, updates and pleas for help. Re-twitting somehow lessened the guilt. Twitteranalyzer also shows indicators like who mentioned your tweets, who’s tweet you have RTed the most, trending topics, etc.

Tweepinfo

This next one is by http://www.tweepsinfo.com. It’s a little bit simpler than twitteranalyzer but shows informative data as well. What I find amusing though is that it indicates how social a user is. It say’s I’m 60% social. Hmm. What does it take to be 100%? Let’s see in the next days to come. Twitter, here I come.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Sun was up, food was great, had a couple of beers and the whole time I was with my family – that to me is what Sundays should be.)

How to Behave Online During a Disaster

Bombarded by a neighbor’s videoke session and a boring new Pinoy Big Brother season, I just realized that I was finally finishing off the last of the chocolate balls I’ve brought along with me from last Thursday’s group session at the Kho’s residence. Now, I’m back to having the regular Hany chocnut for dessert.

 I’m also back to my regular Twitter and Facebook post personality  because last week, due to the seriousness of what happened after typhoon Ondoy’s widespread destruction, I made the following commitment on how to behave online during a disaster.

Do something, anything, helpful for the typhoon victims

Other than sorting and donating some of our used clothing—including our baby’s—and some other stuffs, I was among those who made good use of Twitter to disseminate critical information coming from agencies such as the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), government officials and media personalities who are also on Twitter. I am fascinated by the fact that this microblog, meant initially for socialization, getting updated with what celebrities as well as ordinary folks are currently doing, can become a very helpful communication tool during a disaster such as typhoon Ondoy. It’s just a pity though, that while others are trying their best to extend help however they can, some didn’t spare the opportunity to send spam by latching into critical hashtags.

Stop re-tweeting allegations against anyone

The problem with technology nowadays is that the rate of how information is exchanged back and forth is so quick that it is easy to spread something like a gossip or false accusations within seconds. Take for example, the case of a particular Jacque Bermejo, who in the midst of the overflowing sympathy for those affected by typhoon Ondoy, allegedly posted a demeaning remark on her Facebook status. In a matter of hours, hundreds pounced in (unfortunately, I was among them) to give her their piece of mind—rough ones, mostly. A couple of days later, ANC Dubai interviewed Jacque Bermejo and according to her, it was a hacked account which she has already filed a complaint with the proper authorities abroad (and I’m assuming that includes Facebook admins).

Another victim of this split-second social network mobbing is the President’s son, Mikey Arroyo, whose hazy picture appeared posted in Facebook and Twitter showing him in a liquor section (according to report was in Rustan’s department store) at the height of typhoon Ondoy. If it was him or if it was taken while everyone’s busy helping out those impacted, I’ll let it pass, I give him the benefit of the doubt.

Lastly, even Gibo Teodoro, the Secretary of Department of National Defense and a 2010 presidential aspirant wasn’t spared.  Some tweeps became furious when they discovered that Gibo isn’t the one behind his own Twitter account (@giboteodoro) but his staffs. Whether that’s the truth or not, I really don’t care.  As long as he dictates those tweets and each are meant to communicate to as much individual as possible, that to me is still public service. (Feel my bias here?)

Quit sending inappropriate humor

I’m one who would readily type and send anything humorous as soon as it pops in my mind. Although I have limits to what I send (for one, I haven’t sent sexually explicit jokes), I realized that since I don’t personally know well all of my Facebook or Twitter contacts, whatever I’d send especially during a crisis might be misconstrued as insensitive or offending, thus until yesterday I refrained from doing such. In fact, I even skipped sending shoutouts of the ingredients I needed for my virtual Restaurant City game. Just imagine how one would feel when he opens his Facebook to check on relatives and all of a sudden he sees one of his best friends posting jokes or playing Mafia Wars or Resto City? Go figure.

***

I’m now looking at, finally, the much awaited draft of my Mandyn group’s presentation for Thursday. That means classes will resume this week starting tomorrow. It also means that life will be back to normal. Well, at least for those who weren’t affected by typhoon Ondoy or typhoon Pepeng. Sadly, while we all move on as if nothing happened, some even at this time haven’t even eaten regularly yet while others still try to accept that they’ve lost everything they used to have.

So wouldn’t it be nice if we all still spare a thought, pray,  and share something more for the typhoon victims? I’ll try my best.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Bukas na!)