Yesterday, June 6, 2009, I attended the 1st Facebook Eyeball vs. Con-Ass organized by The Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute.
A fruitful meeting in my opinion, and it showed how Filipinos are using the Internet today, particularly new media and new social media, to speak and share their opinions. Or should I say, how online activism is going to influence our Nation from hereon.
I was the first to arrived yesterday at around 10:20 in the morning. It was raining hard, and the MRT3 service was only from Taft Ave. to Shaw Blvd. () When the train arrived at Shaw Station, service resumed to normal and so I started my trek from Ortigas station to the venue of the eyeball - The Podium.
I signed-up as usual with my full name as registered: JC John Sese Cuneta and waited. I met Ms. Susan “Toots” Ople, daughter of late Senator Blas F. Ople, and she called me by this name “John Sese". I was surprised because she’s the first person I’ve met who referred to me by my middle name (and I’m used to my first-first name being mistaken as a nickname). There’s a reason behind it, but there are things better left within the circle.
I also met Parañaque 2nd District Representative and Deputy Minority Leader Congressman Roilo Golez, who himself is active in using new media and new social media. These are the points made by Cong. Roilo Golez about House Resolution 1109:
- 1109 will get nowhere, because
- It will require a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court
- It will require a plebiscite to be done by the COMELEC, and for this to materialize,
- the budget needed for such a plebiscite will require Senate approval
- And, according to him (and a lot of Filipinos actually), the Senate and the Lower House should always vote separately.
The open forum, in my view, concentrated on the other ways that we can increase awareness about ConAss and on how we can influence and change the mindset of the Filipinos to be vigilant - now to the May 2010 elections, and beyond. Being a Facebook eyeball, it was agreed and emphasized repeatedly by Cong. Roilo Golez that we should use new media and new social media.
He added, to make it even more powerful we should focus on one link or resource. For example, instead of using different YouTube videos about the 1109 night, we should use one video resource, in this case Cong. Roilo’s upload which you can find here, or watch it below.
This will increase the value of a particular resource in the eyes of people who only see “numbers” and the word “majority". This will also help prevent comment fragmentation which is a major problem today. He said that if views/hit count and comments are concentrated, the numbers-people will see value instead of simply dismissing it as ineffective or online noise.
This is true, our friends from the mainstream media asked as to what new media and new social media can do. Dean Jorge Bocobo and Carlo Ople explained it well in that people are moving to the Internet, even traditional media are embracing new media and new social media. That there is empowerment of the ordinary people who for the most part are not heard by the Nation if traditional channels are used. This give more faces behind the “statements” and “sentiments” as well as giving us an idea of what really is the opinion of a/the Filipino citizen.
So what now? These are the suggestions that were agreed by the attendees.
- Organize a similar, if not the same, open forum Nationwide (maybe Filipino Netizens against Con-Ass)
- Provide simple bulleted list of things Filipinos can do offline and online, examples are:
- Listing of related videos for this campaign
- How to post bulletins via Friendster, Multiply, and Facebook
- The facts that we should share and ask to open a conversation about this campaign.
- Make extensive use of new media and new social media to get the information out!
As Noli Benavent said, it is time that the Filipino people vote for the right politicians instead of voting for the lesser evil, which may later turn out to be the “biggest evil” of them all. I agree, who do YOU really want? It is time that YOU decide and vote for yourself. Make it your own.
As an ending, we all left our marks in the freedom wall. See you all next eyeball, and we all hope many will join us next time. You can check out the photos by Cong. Roilo here, or his video coverage just below (which I put into a playlist).
Watch the Video Coverage
If you want to re-post the above playlist, just copy and paste the following (XHTML compliant) code: