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1 New Tweet: @myghostisalive!

I was checking my thousands of emails this afternoon when the subject of an email notification from Linkedin caught my attention. It says, “Top Headlines in Public Relations and Communications”, and dum-dum-dum-dum, my heart was yelling at me, saying “C’mon! Open it! It’s interesting.” Oh well, PR is my first love and anything about it is everything to me (did I just utter an overstatement?).

Enough of that lousy introduction. Let’s get into the details of that email. The headline says, “Social Media ‘Professional’ Fires Twitter Ghostwriter, Forgets to Change Password, Hilarity Ensues.”

After reading the entire article, I was reminded of my blog entry written exactly a year ago (September 25, 2010 and today is September 25, 2011 – what a coincidence!). Check out Ghosttweeting, anyone?

When I wrote that article, I didn’t expect to hear about the disadvantages of ghosttweeting happening in real life. But Mark Davidson made a mistake – and now, I am somehow comforted with the fact that what I wrote about last year wasn’t crap or a fiction or a what-if. It really does happen in real life! It wasn’t something to be happy about, though. I know how Davidson is feeling about this “tweeter tragedy” – he might lose his credibility and right to call himself a social media professional.

While mistakes can always be charged to experience, the price he has to pay is quite big – and to some extent, something he can’t afford. I am no follower of his. But I am looking forward to the new tweets from him.


What language does your heart speak?

When I thought about the answer to this question, the first thing that crossed my mind was a big question mark (font style curly, font size *50, bold.) And it was followed by “Um”, and “ahhh”, and “hmmm”. And then I fell asleep. Haha.

Okay, that was a lousy introduction to something that is so close to my heart (obviously! It’s in the title for crying out loud). Pardon me for the side comments. I can’t help it.

Serious mode.

What language does your heart speak?

This question was prompted by the “discussion” that we had yesterday in our cell group. We asked each other about our ways of expressing our love to the people that we care about. The language of love. Some said it is through service–doing a favor, helping, serving. Others shared that they express love through words, time, or gifts.

Apparently, people have different ways of showing love and affection to others. And these differences also lead to different expectations, to different standards. I express my love by spending time with the people dear to me and because of that, I would only assume that I am special to them if they can give their time to me and talk with me. That is why I totally agree with Rick Warren when he said that love is spelled as t-i-m-e.

Now here comes the “problem”. My paradigm may be different from my loved ones’. Perhaps they show love through words (as in spoken), which I honestly don’t give much credit to, unless it is written (as in handwritten!). Therefore, even if they really love me, I wouldn’t feel it. And I would feel bitter and emo and unloved etcetera. Likewise, they wouldn’t see that I love them because they never hear sweet words from me (coz it’s too mushy for me). I am also not the touchy type of person (but Keren insists I am). And then they would feel bitter and emo and unloved etcetera.

What a perfect example of communication breakdown!

Because our hearts speak a specific language, we sometimes fail to understand others’ messages of love, especially when we don’t know the language that their hearts speak. One thing that I realized from here is that just because other people do not speak your heart’s language doesn’t mean they love you less.

What we need to do is to analyze them (audience analysis ba). Observe them. Ask them. And more important, tell them about our language of love. There, we can level the expectations of each other and save our hearts from being broken (huh?haha whatever). And we would not feel bitter and emo and unloved etcetera anymore. Happy happy!

Maybe, it would be better if we also try to learn the language that their hearts speak. And it would be perfect if they would also learn ours. It’s not easy but if you know that it’s worth it, there’s nothing that should hold you back from trying.

This post is quite unrelated to my previous posts. But since February is almost here, I decided to post this.
Have a meaningful “hearts” month. ❤

The Next Post

It’s almost five months since I started this blog, my first blog EVER. And it’s been quite a while since I last posted a blog entry. Actually, I haven’t opened this blog for more than two months. But because of nostalgia, I decided to read my previous posts.

This entry struck me:

I actually don’t know what to write. This is my FIRST post for my FIRST blog (seriously). I love to write but I don’t want others to read my works. And since every thing that I will post here could be read by others, I am so anxious.I am indeed a very introvert person. This is ironic, I know, because I am an organizational communication student.

This blog is a sacrifice challenge. It requires me to come out of my shell and tell the world what I am thinking (and feeling, perhaps). I hope that through this blog, I would learn to be brave enough to share what I have. And may I be able to keep this blog even if OrCom 152 is over. :)

After reading this, I realized how much I’ve changed. And I am so grateful that our professor required us to have this communication blog. Leaving the comfort zone is indeed worth it. Sharing your thoughts with others brings satisfaction and fulfillment. Now that OrCom 152 is over, I have yet to prove myself that I can keep this blog because I want to, not because I need to.

There’s so much to share. Not only about the new social media and communication but also about personal experiences and learnings.

It’s my last semester in the University. I hope to make the best of it. And may I be able to keep this blog kahit nasa corporate world na ako. 🙂

Ideas Positive

We have gotten over the political campaigns promising change in our society. Perhaps, most of us has gotten tired of motherhood statements such as “I am an agent of change,” “We can change the world,” “Let’s change before it’s too late.” These statements are usually left hanging because no actions follow. But not with Ideas Positive, the Unilab’s Youth Camp for Change.

Ideas Positive was launched this year and I believe that this kind of activity is not only an avenue where students can show their intelligence and skills but it is also an opportunity for us to help our country in general.

During the competition, I really learned a lot, especially during the question and answer portion! The board of judges were great. I wish I could attend some of their seminars or talks someday, especially Mr Ed Morato. He is a genius! The event inspired me a lot because our school activities and requirements are similar to what the contestants did. I got some ideas for our comm plan, by the way. 🙂

Sir Barry spearheaded the Ideas Positive Youth Camp that’s why our batch was given the opportunity to attend the event. We also got an incentive for going there.:)

Anyway, I made a social media release for Unilab’s Ideas Positive, as what you can see below 🙂

Last summer, one of my tasks as an intern is to write messages for other people. Yes, I was a ghostwriter and I couldn’t say that I really enjoyed it. It was not easy to write in different styles and from the point of view of different businessmen. Aside from the fact that I am a girl (haha), I also didn’t have enough background on business stuff like economics, stocks, and statistics. Moreover, it was pretty difficult to internalize the personalities of those people because I didn’t really know them. (Thanks to Google! I was able to get some ideas about them.) Because of that ghostwriting experience, I told myself that I won’t accept jobs that will require me to write on behalf of other people. I don’t want to be a ghostwriter.

ever tried ghostwriting? how about ghosttweeting?

Then yesterday, I came across a blog tackling about a job closely related to ghostwriting and that is no other than (tararan!:)) ghosttweeting! Yes, you’ve read it right. Ghosttweeting. And just like ghostwriting, ghosttweeting is creating and posting messages (using Twitter) on behalf of other people or an organization. Furthermore, a ghosttweeter may also be an outsider. It’s either the organization doesn’t have any idea how to utilize the new social media or it doesn’t have time that’s why it hires outsiders. Nowadays, some agencies are offering this kind of service to organizations, which is starting to become popular, especially in the US.

Outsourcing your Tweets: What are the risks?

Creating a Twitter account is not difficult at all. Just like me, you may be wondering why organizations would need to outsource their social media accounts. Nevertheless, here are some of the things that organizations must consider before hiring a ghosttweeter or other outsiders holding social media accounts:

1. Resources—Considering that these outsiders know little about your organization, you need to invest resources such as time and money to educate them about and eventually get them acculturated to your organization. In addition, you have to compensate them for their services, right?

2. Representation—Your social media accounts, like Twitter, represent your company as a whole. Every tweet or status message that you post must be consistent with the image that you are portraying to the public. Now, if you are going to let those outsiders manage your social media accounts, you might be putting your organization at risk. There is no assurance that they can communicate appropriately what you want your audience to know. Always bear in mind that the Internet never forgets. Even if you delete a post or tweet that misrepresented your organization, there are people who will spread it via any other means possible.

3. Response to inquiries—Since outsiders do not know all the information about your company, there is a possibility that they will not be able to respond to customers’ inquiries the way your very own employees will. The goal of your social media accounts is to engage your customers and encourage them to give feedback. However, if the people behind those accounts are not that knowledgeable about your organization, that does not only hinder you from reaching your goal, it may also lose the confidence of your customers in you.

4. Relationships—One of the major benefits of having social media accounts is forming relationships with your target audiences. And by outsourcing, we leave our chance to form meaningful relationships with our target audiences in the hands of those outsiders. What if these outsiders no longer want to handle our social media accounts? What if your relationship with these outsiders go bad? You can’t be sure that they will not do something that may ruin the relationship that you have established with your target audiences.

Pessimistic as it may sound, but I believe that organizations must be careful when outsourcing their social media accounts.

Scandals here, scandals there, scandals everywhere. Some people avoid them, many look forward to witnessing one. But wait, let me clarify first the type of scandal that I am going to talk about in this post. For the innocent readers, there is no need to navigate away from this page. For the green-minded, it’s time that you explore another type of scandal, one that will feed your brains with some lessons about businesses and the new social media.

As the title suggests, this post will be a discussion of  corporate scandals that rocked the virtual world and how the organizations involved resolved them. 🙂 However, I will only be discussing two cases.

1. Cebu Pacific: It’s time every Juan fliesNot everyone can fly.

I am sure you are all familiar with this scandal which happened last December 23, 2009. The son of Mrs Mylene Alcantara, who has a global developmental delay (GDD), was not allowed to board the plane because it’s the airline’s policy not to accept mentally-ill passengers. This created buzz in the online world and a number of hate pages were created on different social networking sites. The night after the issue was made public, status messages, tweets, and online forums all talk about the “discrimination” against the child. This incident also became one of the hottest topics in blogs, threaded discussions, and even on television. The issue spread with the speed of lightning and it was pretty difficult for the PR department of Cebu Pacific to redeem the reputation of the company.

sharing scandals has never been this quick and convenient!

2. Pfizer: Working together for a healthier world Working with trapos for a healthier profit

The world gave the corruption throne to the Philippines without hesitation or second thoughts. Businesses are in a dilemma. Is it advantageous or not? In the case of Pfizer, its detractors say it is. And it manifested in the bribery issue last year. According to the news, Pfizer offered 5 million discount cards to the government while they were lobbying for the postponement of a price control law. The bribery issue became one of the most talked about topic on the internet and on television (local and foreign) that the company needed to publish an open letter addressed to the Filipino people. Below are screenshots of some news/posts tackling the Pfizer bribery scandal.

But of course, Pfizer did not keep silent regarding the issue. Here is the link to an open letter of Pfizer addressed to the Filipino people.

Scandals–>Reputation–>Bottom Line

As we can see from these two cases, the first thing that scandals attack is of course, the reputation. Scandals easily catch the attention and curiosity of the public (is it because people, by nature, are always looking for flaws?). And because people love sharing something that interests them with their friends, they will surely post the scandals that your company is involved in via different social media platforms known to them. It is so easy to promote scandals via NSM. You just have to put links on your post and it will be spread all over the virtual world. In addition, your competitors will surely take advantage of your scandals.

Scandals do not only tarnish the image that your company has. They also steal the opportunities that your company may have. For example, in the case of Pfizer, the discount cards could have made their image better but because of the bribery issue, they lost some of their customers.

What happens then if you have a bad reputation and if you lose good opportunities? The bottom line suffers. It’s not only about the decrease in sales or customers. It’s also about the amount of money that you need to spend on redeeming yourself.

How to kill Scandals

Prevention is better than cure. However, there are still some instances where we become lax or maybe complacent and we find ourselves in the middle of the worst controversy. So what can we do?

Just like what the two companies that I mentioned above did, perhaps we can release counter-arguments, smooth things over by providing a clear explanation of the issue and why we should not be deemed bad. Communicating with the other party is also good because you will be able to settle down misunderstandings, conflicts, or other things that resulted in the issue. Another way (the one shared by our professor in our Comm Trends and Styles class) is to use the same title of the scandal but the content is based from the point of view of the company. (You can also do it to solve your own personal scandals :))

I was having a sweet dream when I was awaken by the noises that wiki enthusiasts are making over their wiki site. They kept on praising wiki because of the “good things” that it could bring to organizations. Furthermore, they compared the wiki with other online tools so that they could emphasize how great it is. Their conversations irritated me so much and I could not contain them anymore. My blood boils whenever they mention the good things that organizations will experience once they use wikis. At the same time, I also feel anxious. I am afraid for the changes that may take place when wikis enter organizations. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you my arguments that will support my stand, i.e. organizations should not use wikis.

Wikis, by definition, are real-time editable website. They allow users to add, remove, edit, or change available online content. So what are the problems with this type of online tool?

First of all, it keeps things organized and easy to monitor. Organizations have been accustomed to the traditional ways of communicating. Employees are already immune to the sight of papers, memos, and letters that pile up on their desks. The entrance of wikis in the picture will only change the things that people are used to. How is this so? Let me quote another enemy of mine, Ms Adriana Beal. She said that

“In a well-structured wiki, project stakeholders simply have to go to the main page to easily find the information they are looking for. As the requirements are being developed, the BA can create links between different articles – for example, from a page reproducing interviews with stakeholders to functional and non-functional requirements contained in separate wiki pages. Through the links between the different wiki pages, traceability is established automatically. Non-existing pages are highlighted by the wiki, allowing BAs to keep track of which artifacts still have to be created. Attributes can be added to enable (semantic) search to generate different views of the requirements documentation via the retrieval of these attributes.”

When I heard her talking about that, I couldn’t help but shake my head and I thought, “Man, this is so, so bad.”

Second, it facilitates collaboration. Wikis make it easy for organizations to share, co-create, and cooperate with each other even if they are separated by distance. Because of that, communication, especially for multinational organizations, becomes efficient and effective. Teamwork is developed. Relationships among employees get better and eventually benefit the bottom lineCollaboration also makes organizational processes easier and less-toxicating.Everytime a work is accomplished, my dreams are shattered. Collaboration is killing me little by little.

Third, it makes the world of information flat. My dear friends, information must always be top-down. It’s a manifestation of power. But the wiki wants to democratize the world of information by allowing people to participate, voice out their opinions, and to even modify or change what the managers or supervisors say. Using wiki will givepower to the people at the bottom of the organizational hierarchy. Because of that, they will be more motivated and inspired to communicate.

Fourth and last, it allows for efficiency. Instead of spending too much time and other resources on disseminating information and doing other things via the traditional ways, (e.g. meetings, memos, letters, conferences) organizations can save much by using wikis. Also, it is hassle-free and cost-effective. I remember how IBM took pride in the success of their first international meeting via wiki. All offices of IBM, from South Pole to North Pole, participated in the said meeting and they were all praises for wiki. That was the worst nightmare I’ve ever had over the centuries that I have existed.

As you can see, the wiki is a very bad thing. If organizations will adopt it, then it will result in the death of mybarkadasmess, centralization of information, delays, budget deficit, and unmotivated employees. The deaths of my barkadas will lead to mine. The wiki is a criminal. It wants to kill us, the ones who have been faithful to organizations all our lives.

Have mercy on me, my dear friends. Don’t let this happen. Don’t use wikis. Defend the status quo.

I am counting on you.

*This is a speech delivered by Mr Organizational Inefficiency y Fall. He is very loyal to organizations. He has been with them for centuries and does not have any plans of retiring. He believes that he must be immortalized.

Now, should he be saved from demise or not? 🙂

“I am famous and popular in the whole wide world.”

That is what my seven-year old tutee always tells me whenever we play together. I just laugh at her and I tell her that it is only possible in her dreams. Then she always says, “You can’t be famous and popular.” I thought that, well, yes I can’t be (and I don’t want to be), but if I were the new social media, that is so, so possible.

aren't they famous and popular? 🙂

If I were the new social media, I could be famous and popular in the whole wide world and the world wide web.
Perhaps, it feels good to be the NSM. People know I exist. A lot of people would be amazed by my presence. They would always talk about me. But aside from the attention and popularity, there is also a sense of fulfillment because people know I may have significance in their lives—personal or professional. I know that in some ways, I am able to help these people meet their objectives or gratify their needs. For example, if I were a blog like WordPress, I would become an avenue for individuals wanting to express their thoughts in a scholarly way or if I were a social networking site, I could help people find and connect with their long lost friends.

However, being the new social media is a strenuous task. I have to work 24/7 with people coming from different cultures and belonging to different age brackets or social classes (oh! That requires excellent interpersonal communication skills). I would be working with presidents from different countries, with business tycoons, with ordinary people, and with criminals as well. Because of that, I have to be objective and fair (no favoritism allowed). Moreover, I have to set aside my own biases and allow myself to be used by people the way they want to (though I can impose terms of service, I know that some just don’t care). If my clients are so accustomed to using bad language, then I have to have a tough heart so that I’ll never be offended or feel harassed. If my clients are the narcissistic types who always update their friends with every little thing they do, then I have to be patient and deliver the message even if I know it is nonsense. Otherwise, I will be annihilated from the world wide web. That is a very sad ending for someone who is noble, isn’t it? (It’s people’s loss, though :)).

sure, i don't want to join the bee club 🙂

Choose your pick

Being the new social media is indeed a tough role. And it is not my dream to be almost everything to everyone. I am contented with being one of those new social media that people can use to meet their specific needs.

Having said that, I’ll choose to become a social networking site like Facebook. Why is this so?

If I were Facebook, people would always think of me whenever they want to share something. It can be some updates about their work, their happiness and success, or their frustrations. It makes me feel good whenever someone cares to share what’s happening in his or her life. It gives me the impression that I matter to this person and to some extent, he or she wants me to be part of his or her life.

If I were Facebook, I could bridge the gap that distance and time have put between people. Through my features such as chat, personal message, and wall posting, I could connect these people with very little effort. All they need is internet connection (and the courage to say what they want to say, perhaps). Moreover, I could be an online record or to an extent a journal, that users can refer to if they want to reminisce the talks or conversations that they had with their friends before.

And if I were Facebook, I could be a liaison for organizations and their target publics. As we all know, a lot of organizations created Facebook pages so that they can connect with people that matter to their businesses. This allows conversations that eventually leads to meaningful relationships between them. However, if I were Facebook, I would not allow organizations to pretend that they are listening to their target publics. I would make sure that inquiries are being responded accordingly. If they don’t comply with this rule, then I would rather cease to exist than to be an avenue for these organizations to create an illusion that they care about what the people have to say.

Of course, there are other social networking sites found in the world wide web. However, it is Facebook that I am most familiar with. Now, if you were a new social medium, what would you be? Choose your pick :).

I wasn’t able to post blog entries for three consecutive weeks. I had this writer’s block bug and it frustrated me so much. I couldn’t write even a single sentence. However, my excuses would not change the fact that I have been negligent so I’d better proceed to my topic for this late post. 🙂

Today, we had the “Bonggang Bonggang Blog Blog” Workshop in our Communication Trends and Styles class. As the title suggests, the workshop is about blogging, or to be more specific, corporate blogging. I really had fun during the workshop, because our group won! Just kidding. I enjoyed it because of the activities that we had.

If you’re curious about what I have learned from that workshop, then I suggest that you continue reading this entry. 🙂

Microblogging 101

The rootwords of the term microblogging are micro and blog. My Encarta says micro means small and blog means a frequently updated online journal (does this disqualify my blog from being a blog?:)). But then, I think it doesn’t make sense if I define microblogging as a small online journal (you agree?) so I googled it and here’s the more appropriate definition:

Microblogging refers to the posting of very short updates about oneself. It is in contrast to long-form blogging, where there are usually at least a few hundred words. Microblog posts usually involve a few hundred characters or less. It also allows users to send and read other users’ updates through text-based posts. But now this has been changed and it can be any sort of input like text, video, audio etc.

So in plain English, microblogging is the generic name of Twitter.

While microblogging may sound similar with blogging (and rhyming as well :)), there are things that microblogging does better than the latter. Likewise, blogging can also do other things better than microblogging. But for this entry, I will just focus on the beauty of microblogging.

Why go micro?

You’ve experienced it on Twitter, Tumblr, and other microblogging platforms. Sharing your thoughts has never been that convenient, right? The same is true with listening or keeping updated with the thoughts of others. Indeed, microblogging has made online communication more convenient and in some cases more personal than other social media tools that we have. Why is this so?

First, microblogging saves time. Unlike blogs where you have to spend couples of hours writing and editing a blog entry, microblogs allow users to publish their messages in a matter of seconds. In addition, the exchange of messages is faster and real-time which makes it more interactive and engaging.

Second, it reaches more people faster. Compared with other online tools such as email, blogs, and SNS, messages posted via microblogs are published on the pages of people with whom you have connections. And since those messages are short, the possibility that they will be read is high, even if they don’t really make any sense at all.

Third, microblogs like Twitter give us access to celebrities! Just a spoiler, with the help of Twitter, we negotiated with our celebrity interviewee for our Podcast project via Twitter. And it’s a success! We’re going to interview her on the 27th of September.

What’s in it for organizations?

Nowadays, conversation plays an important role in winning and maintaining customers. If organizations want to develop a more intimate relationship with their stakeholders, then microblogging may be an option. For example, newspapers are now becoming active in microblogging to keep their followers updated with the current events. Other companies like Cebu Pacific keep their customers informed about their services or products via Facebook and Twitter. They also use these microblogging platforms to listen and respond to their stakeholders.

Moreover, microblogging helps organizations expand their networks. And what’s amazing is that companies are able to get to know more their customers, unlike before where the latter used to be the “faceless and the nameless” (as what one of my classmates described them) consumers waiting at the receiving end.

While microblogging promises a lot of opportunities for organizations to really engage their customers in conversations and maintain good relationships with them, it just isn’t going to work for everyone. For example, if the target audiences are nowhere to be found in microblogging sites, why would companies use microblog?

As we can see, at the end of the day, it is still about reaching your target audience in the communication channel they prefer that matters.

*”If inspiration doesn’t come, I go halfway to meet it”–Sigmund Freud. This blog post is the result of me going halfway. 🙂

As the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. I remember how the funny hirits of my friends lightened the pain that I was carrying inside my heart. Corny jokes help me get through a stressful day. Indeed, laughing has a positive effect to our emotional and mental health.

But can laughter be preempted by jokes and funny hirits only? Of course, NO! There are other things that can tickle our funny bones and cause our hearts to burst in laughter. One of these is the Laughter from the Heart Happyshop developed by Values Media, Inc (VMI).

Laughter from the Heart (LftH) is a workshop consisting of fun-learning sessions created to help people, especially professionals, to 1) know themselves better, 2) live stress free and happier lives, 3) achieve a measure of peace and harmony in their homes and workplace, 4) be more creative and productive at work, 5) generate positive attitudes and 6) be more appreciative of their blessings. Unlike the typical workshops that we attend, LtfH happyshop is fun, interactive, and has various activities like role-playing, sing and dance portion, and games. Another feature of this one-of-a-kind program is that clowns perform during the workshop. See? It is like being in a children’s party while learning a lot of things about life, work, and being happy. Actually, LtfH is called a happyshop instead of a workshop because it ensures that the participants enjoy the activities and encourages them to be happy whatever the situation is.

With Caloy Atayde as the keynote speaker, participants will not regret attending the happyshops offered by VMI. Originally targeted to school personnel, Mr Atayde decided to open the happyshops to different organizations. As of present time, various happyshops are designed to cater to call center employees.

Here is a sample social media release that I made for happyshops for call center employees:
social media release