Nowadays, anyone who writes an entry critical – or skeptical – of social media would be looked down upon with such contempt, especially if it is done within the context of social media. Well, here goes. In his latest commentary for The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell takes a critical view of social media: In other words, Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice. We are a long way from the lunch counters of Greensboro. Can the revolution be tweeted? Of course it can; participants of the revolution can tag each other in Twitter conversations, check in to the revolution venue in Foursquare, or have a pulse of the public through Facebook fan pages about the revolution. Surely the status quo can fall under the mighty brunt of blogger power. Yes, it will be tweeted, but will the revolutionaries be tweeting?
It’s fairly easy to put together compelling, impressive statements about stuff on the Web. There’s “capitalizing on social currency as a prime motivator for influencer engagement,” or “exploring new modes of amplifying brand messaging for viral effects,” and my favorite, “leveraging conversational assets through engaging content-driven creative initiatives.” Then there’s the tried-and-tested tactic for the impressionable (if not the gullible): defining a cachet by an entire mess of clichés, followed by a motivational “x is the new y” pronouncement, the “join in the conversation” mantra, and so on and so forth. It’s like the big Matroyshka doll: buzzwords moving into progressively bigger buzzwords, with nothing more than an empty hollow in the middle.
Mark your calendars. iBlog 6: The 6th Philippine Blogging Summit, is on April 16 and April 17, 2010, at the Malcolm Theater, UP College of Law, UP Diliman, Quezon City. It’s going to be a two-day affair: the first day is for business people and entrepreneurs who want to maximize blogging for promotions, and the second day is for blogging 101. Oh, and I’m also going to be one of two speakers on political blogging, online commentary, and social media. That’s on Day Two. So if you see a dorky guy in black with long hair and glasses, that’s probably me. Hope to see you there, ladies and gentlemen!
Yes, my friends: I, Marocharim, am asking for your permission, dear reader, to write in The Marocharim Experiment. It sounds ridiculous because it is: I pay for the dues of this blog, I maintain it, and I write for it. Still, because free speech is stifled so much in the Internet these days, I am asking for your permission – which you have implicitly given me – to write. In my view, if this blog applies comment moderation, I might as well ask for your permission to publish this entry, and since I’m in control of this blog anyway, I might as well publish this as soon as I’m done instead of waiting for the webmaster (in this case, me) to approve this blog entry anyway. My entry, as usual, will be full of immature and (mostly) scatological references for me to drive my point, but again, I am asking for your permission to write and to read. In the interest of the fair and responsible practice of free speech, please click that “Read More” link if you want to hear me out. (Chances are you probably won’t, because I’m not even that important anyway.)
The other day, I posted the color of my boxers in the attempt to raise awareness for testicular cancer. At least in my network, less than half a dozen people are more aware of testicular cancer advocacies. Maybe, definitely, I wouldn’t really know. I’m sure it wasn’t tittilating, either; but for a large group of women who did change their Facebook status messages to announce their bra colors to the world, it was a cause to raise awarness on breast cancer. Yet to some people – Mary Carmichael included – it is pointless and useless. What would announcing your bra color in public accomplish, other than pique the curiosity of men and, perhaps, get them aroused? On the one hand, it’s great that people actually talk about and share with the issue from something as simple as bra colors. On the other hand, one can dismiss this as a classic case of slacktivism. Generating controversy, or perhaps starting a bandwagon or meme, is perhaps secondary to the real goals of the breast cancer awareness campaign. One can look at it this way: you posted your bra color on your Facebook status message for all the world to see, what does that accomplish?
I do some tech work on my blog every now and then, and much of that revolves around toying around with how my blog looks. Some of you may have noticed that I like switching themes and visual elements on my blog every now and then. In the early days, I used to have a fully-loaded sidebar with all sorts of widgets and areas to play around with. The last theme I used had a more conservative, sparse sidebar, and then I realized I don’t really need it at all. I wanted to revert to white text on a black background, but then again I’ve grown a bit used to the usual black text on white background scheme that it works fine, especially considering the length of some of my entries. Sidebars and widgets can complicate things on my end, so I’m using a one-column, widget-free theme that has really nice typography: Manifest. Hope you like it as much as I do.
Almost every major name in the running probably already has a blog, a microblog, a social networking account, and a few people in charge of running his or her social media campaign. I had high hopes for the Internet being a great tool for positive and proactive campaigns for the national elections in 2010, but from what I have observed, social media is used along the same lines of the traditional campaign. The same things you’ll see in the paper trail are pretty much the same things you would see on the Internet today: negative campaigns, mudslinging, and the occasional snarky campaign manager/public relations specialist using analog methods for a digital medium. That’s great and all – I’m sure the race to 2010 has lucrative returns written all over it – but it kind of looks ridiculous. The Internet is supposed to help elevate political awareness and translate that to political action. Yet if people treat social media like they would pamphlets or comic books distributed at the polling precinct right before voting, it somehow renders the tool sorta-kinda ineffective. If a digital tool is used in an analog way, the impression fails. I’m not the be-all-end-all of anything except jologs lyrics translations, and I’m not an expert on the Internet, but here are some of my thoughts on how social media could be used to great effect on the road to 2010.