From Ideas Positive to Actions Postive

UNILAB Ideas Positive Youth Camp for Change awards Team Biggkas as grand prize winners for their plan “Buklod-bukid: Sowing Nutrition, Reaping Hope.”

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Lil Demon is Crazy

(Wow, I never thought I’d get myself to write another entry since my would-be 15th blog post!)

I wouldn’t have had an interest in dancing if not for Indayog*. And I really do owe much of what I learned in the past few years from them. But allow me to also say that in as far as practicing some dancing and self-studying at home is concerned, I would have to thank YouTube as well. :) Just like my brother Joshua who has learned much over watching Youtube videos, my other brother James and I have a lot we owe to YouTube. Haha. For one, some of the things I used in my audition piece for Indayog about 4 years ago, I also got from YouTube. And I think a number of other people share the same stories as my brothers and myself. That’s why I believe that the way people learn and get interested in new things will continue to be influenced by the way sharing experiences is now made easier because of the Internet.

Anyway, I only really wanted to write another post to share yet another YouTube video. Now, I no longer breakdance that much but I’ve been watching breakdancing videos for years now and have learned from them myself; this one you just gotta see! The kid you’re going to see in the video below is a Filipino. He’s only 8 years old but has gained some following over the Internet since his parents posted videos of him breakdancing a number of years ago. Below is a recent video of him battling it out with another bboy for an exhibition match. You can go ahead and search his early videos on YouTube; just look for “Lil Demon”–what a name, right?! Haha. Anyway, enjoy!

*Recently, Indayog bagged the championship title for Lactacyd’s first ever dance competition Confidance. Wohoo! Anyway, you can catch Indayog on Studio 23, every Saturday, at 6:30 PM. :)

The Classroom Like The Internet

Before I cap the night off with this entry, allow me to say what a joy it actually was to come up with all these entries. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll be stopping here—or at least I’d like to convince myself that. But regardless of, I must say this exercise really allowed me to catch that fire again for blogging. As I had mentioned before, this isn’t something new to me. However, the learnings definitely were. And I must say that 15 posts after the first one, I’d say this was a worthwhile experience.

Looking back at the OC 152 experience, allow me to draw a picture of why this class is a picture of good online practices:

1. Sharing is encouraged.

In the class, we often started by talking about personal experiences. These experiences, when shared, allow the class to take an even bigger interest in the way the lesson relates to them. In the same way, when we are online and encourage sharing—whether of skills, information, or through collaboration—we foster a climate online that allows for great learning.

2. Good practice makes perfect

It isn’t enough to just practice and practice. It’s important to know what you did right, and what you did wrong in order for you to reinforce the good, and get rid of the wrong. I think that’s why it was so important to evaluate our works together as a class. Doing so allowed us to recognize certain blind spots and do what was needed about them.

Likewise, we must recognize the good and the bad practices online. When we are able to make the distinction between the two, it is easier for us to perfect the practice and be better at our craft.

3. Have an open mind.

Some of the things we learned in OC 152 were things I would not have heard about or might have put an interest on had I not taken the class. But opening myself up to ideas such as microblogging and podcasting now makes me think about why it is necessary for me now to open my own Twitter account. Haha. Again, with the inception of new technology, unless I allow myself to explore areas I on the onset would not have an interest in, I would never really appreciate the benefits of such technology. And as mentioned in my previous post, it is only but essential to be relevant now in the field of communication by familiarizing oneself with the digital world.

That’s it for HQ. For now, allow me to take a break from the writing. I’ll see you again soon agents. :)

Nearing the End

Before I reach my supposed minimum of 15 entries, allow me to say that I really did learn a lot from this class. It feels weird knowing that this semester is now about to end; so is this particular class in OC 152. For this reason, just before we reach the “last” blog entry, I’ll be sharing two of the most valued lessons I picked up from this class:

1. There is an OrCom way.

This year marks what should be my last year in The University. Because of which, I think it’s only safe to say that by now there should be a great sense of what it means to be an OrCom major. However, I must say that this particular class allowed me to really evaluate whether that was such is already true for me. A definite eye opener was during an evaluation of one of our early requirements when we were told “what you did can be done by high school students.” That statement really got me to think of what it means to do things the OrCom way—a way that puts a premium in communication.

I believe that is translated to putting importance in knowing who you’re communicating with, how best to do it, and knowing how best to achieve the end goal. And such a lesson will stick with me not just in the area of social media, but in everything else as well.

2. The world is changing fast; you have to keep up.

There is no doubt that the technology today will eventually be obsolete tomorrow. The same may very well be true for communication practitioners. That is why there’s great reason to start getting yourself ready for the future by familiarizing yourself with what’s going on now. And given the way the field of communication will continue to be influenced by the new social media, the Internet, and every other technology in between, it is not enough for individuals to be skillful. Individuals must also be relevant. That to me, means not just knowing how to speak or write well, but knowing how such is only as important as knowing the skills needed for the message to work online.

I’m proud to say that even though things are now about to end here, I can look forward to the start of other things. And as I look at the future ahead of me, and the field I hope to be a great part of in the few years to come, I find that these two lessons may very well be enough to get me there where I want to be.  :)

The Buhay Makulay Children’s Project

Allow me to plug in a few details about an organization that’s really close to my heart–the Buhay Makulay Children’s Project. The Buhay Makulay Children’s Project is an NGO with the mission “to engage in, design and/or execute activities, programs and events that bring hope to Filipino youth and children at risk; and in doing so nurture, enhance, and improve their emotional stability, self-development and potential for a promising future.” (From www.buhaymakulay.org)

There are a number of reasons why this NGO is close to my heart. First, the NGO was founded by my best friend Tanya who 5 years ago decided that instead of having a debut for her 18th birthday, decided to have a small children’s fair for the children of San Lazaro Hospital. It was then when Buhay Makulay was born. Second, the children of Buhay Makulay hold a special place in my heart. There’s this amazing feeling you get from seeing how the children grow every year I am able to join them in one of our annual fairs. Third, being a member of the UP Manila Indayog Dance Varsity, I speak for the org as one of Buhay Makulay’s benefactors. In the last two years, we’ve been giving part of our earnings from our annual Sayaw Manila concert to projects of Buhay Makulay. On top of that, Indayog members also get to be volunteers in Buhay Makulay’s children fairs. Below is a video of some of the things we do in Buhay Makulay:

The final reason is a greater appreciation for how Buhay Makulay continues to explore the ways in which the Internet can be of great benefit to the organization. I posted a link above for the website. But one other thing about the Buhay Makulay Children’s Project is that they have a blog of their own, written by Tanya herself. I find this now of more importance after having a greater appreciation for how blogs can be incorporated by organizations in order to advance their own cause. Locally, the idea of corporate blogging is something that still needs to be explored. This much I at least took home from our previous meeting in my OC 152 class. Seeing as how an NGO can make use of the idea in order to make the advocacy even more personal to volunteers and to groups such as Indayog makes me think of the great potential behind corporate blogging.

And in the end, in an NGO such as Buhay Makulay, those who really benefit from the blog are the children. Because for the children who struggle to voice out their cause in public, even a small thing such as a corporate blog can increase their chances of being heard.

The Bro Code

So we talked about How I Met Your Mother in one post. After rereading that, I felt it necessary to write about one other thing related to, and actually very important in the TV series–Barney’s blog. Much about the philosophy of Barney can be found in his blog. In fact, he makes references to it from one episode to another. But what’s even more interesting than his philosophy he says he writes about in his blog, is the fact that his blog is actually real.

Ok, so forgive me for just finding that out now. Before, I’d think his blog was just one other item in the show. But the imagine how I responded when I found out that there really was a www.barneysblog.com.

Now I think such a thing was just genius. Now provided perhaps it really isn’t Neil Patrick Harris (the actor who plays Barney) who writes the blog, it still makes me think about how “real” the character of Barney is. Imagine, right now I get to actually know what’s in his blog. I’M TALKING TO BARNEY STINSON AND I’M ACTUALLY READING EXCERPTS FROM THE BRO CODE!

Another show that employ this kind of strategy is iCarly on Nickelodeon. The show is basically about three teens who make a weekly webcast on their site www.iCarly.com. At the end of every episode, viewers are encouraged to get on their computer and actually visit the site AND upload their own content. Now that’s innovative.

What separates shows such as iCarly and How I Met Your Mother from other shows is that the website is actually a part of the story–a part of the show. Whereas for other shows you just find websites about the show. What I’m sure about is that for a show such as How I Met Your Mother, a real blog  that fans can really read and comment on must have a huge impact on the show’s following. The same is true for iCarly. What amazes me is how even TV shows now don’t just talk about the Internet, but that TV shows are actually able to make use of the Internet to their advantage. And again, it all boils down to providing your audience an experience they wouldn’t have had otherwise without the Internet. It’s all about a richer experience, and one that makes the show real for fans.

How can organizations learn from this? Well, organizations must find a way to make themselves real to their publics. The Internet can provide that opportunity. But we’re not just talking about setting up your website. What we’re talking about is an experience that organizations can and must provide in order to make themselves relevant to their public.

Found Your Place Yet?

Can you play the yoyo like this?

That was a video of my brother Joshua. He’s only 9 years old. Playing the yoyo has been of specific interest to him in the past few months. Before that, he used to devote his time training to become a good pen spinner. Below is another video of him doing just that.

Whenever my brother gets to showcase his talent in public, there is one question we always get asked:

“Where’d he learn to do that?”

I’m sure you’re asking the same question. Well, it’s funny to say this, but really, my brother learned to do all those things while watching training videos—on YouTube.

There are two reasons why my brother was able to do all that just by watching videos online. The first one is good genes *wink*. Haha. The second one is the huge bulk of videos one can find on YouTube for just about anything. Truth is my brother wouldn’t have taken a liking for playing the yoyo and pen spinning if not for watching videos online. Some of the other things he’s also taken an interest for are finger skating and dancing. Just the other day, he told me about exploring contact juggling. O_o

Today, one can find online videos for almost anything in general. My brother for example has watched yoyo tutorials, yoyo reviews, and videos of other yoyo players online. On the other hand, we also find ourselves part of the producing public when it comes to multimedia such as videos online. The videos above are videos I took after Joshua expressed interest to post his own videos online.

With this present situation, it looks like private firms producing videos must step up their game. For one, monopoly over TV airtime is being leveled by sites that allow the general public to produce their own. Second, a great number of these videos produced by the public are actually more interesting to watch than boring ones produced commercially. In fact, in 2006, Time’s person of the year was you. Time put the individual on the spotlight–the individual who produces content online, collaborates with other users, and continues to blur the divides of communication. (You can read more about it in the online article here.)

Provided opportunities online such as that provided by YouTube, I find that organizations and groups must now find ways in which the production of videos online can best suit their needs. One good example that some companies now do is the use of online videos as a means for doing PR work–particularly in competitions. For NGOs, online videos provide a good opportunity to promote their advocacy without having to spend as much as they would in airing a TV commercial.

This is only the beginning. And in much the same way individuals are finding their “place” online with sites such as YouTube, so will organizations and groups have to find theirsonly this time, they can’t afford to simply sit comfortably in their corporate websites. This time they have to be involved, and be out there where everybody else is.