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Social Media Day 2016: StraightArrow Corporation Visits #TayoPH

Written by: Marti Rodriguez
July 14, 2016 • 8-minute read

Social Media Day 2016: StraightArrow Corporation Visits #TayoPH

Filipinos have developed a reputation of ardent internet and social media consumption, and with good reason. For this year alone, statistics showed that the average Filipino spends around 5.2 hours online on the desktop and tablet, and 3.2 hours online on mobile. A considerable fraction of these hours was spent on social media, which accounted for a whopping 47%.

This is hardly surprising; the sheer number of Facebook posts generated by the national elections would be enough for Mark Zuckerberg to personally thank the country. The Philippines also dominated another platform, Twitter, with a record-breaking 40,706,392 tweets with the hashtag “#ALDubEBTamangPanahon.” Even E-commerce companies love it here so much, because the Philippines is considered to be the fastest-growing app market in SE Asia.

StraightArrow’s Social Media Team decided to see for themselves exactly how much of a mark the Philippines has left on the social media front by attending #TayoPH, the Philippines’ annual Social Media Day gathering, which was held at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura, Bonifacio Global City on June 30, 2016.

According to TweetUpMNL, the organizers of #TayoPH, the purpose of social media appears to have been lost on Filipino netizens. Instead, social media in the Philippines has evolved - or perhaps devolved - into an arena of sorts, where comment-bashing is the norm, internet illiteracy is laughed at, and discrimination is at an all-time high.

For hosts Tonyo Cruz and Rosario Juan however, our social media ecosystem is still full of things to celebrate.

“Today is very special because we will try our best to change the [negative] conversation,” Tonyo said. He explained that the election season has brought out our deep-seated negativity.

“Ibalik natin ang dangal ng social media (Let's bring back integrity in social media)! It used to be a fun place,” Rosario added. “This year, our challenge is for us to stand together; tayo (stand up), tayo (everyone), PH!”

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StraightArrow’s SM Team eagerly awaiting for the event (and the raffle, of course)

Social Media as a Platform for Acceptance

YouTube sensation and activist Sebastian Castro shared how social media became his outlet and support system before coming out. For years, he denied his true sexuality because of his situation: a conservative home, few friends, and a small community. “Growing up, my world was very very small,” he shared. “I came out pretty late, and I did that through a crazy little music video called, ‘Bubble.’ “

“We can do pretty much anything, share anything, and also become content creators,” he said. He explained that by sharing our own thoughts and words, we add a little of our identity to the world, sharing experiences and eventually creating a meaningful community.

He also explained, however, that it is important to establish limits regarding what you share online, because the internet can be a vicious and unforgiving place. He shared his own barometer for deciding whether or not to share] something online. “If my 15-year-old self, whose world was very small, would appreciate that video, then I’ll always be okay with showing it.”

Social Media Personalities at #TayoPHA Connected Passion: Personalities forwarded the causes they care about and tied it up with Social Media

Social Media as an Enabler

Yang Obrero represented Project Deafinitely in the event. She greeted the perplexed audience with silence and sign language. “Hello, good evening! My name is Y-A-N-G,” she gestured.

She shared her story about Project Deafinitely’s vision and explained social media’s role in it. Social media has helped their organization connect with the PNP and other charities to sponsor their initiatives. Most importantly, the connections they make are permanent, and they get to share and communicate with the deaf community. Their end goal is a more inclusive community for deaf peopleone that fosters understanding and education about their culture.

She ended with a challenge to the whole social media community:

“This is an online platform which aims to deafy (defy) the mainstream society to help advance deaf rights,” she shared. “The deaf community is ready for us, but are we ready for them?”

Social Media as the Future of Communication

“[The] Philippines has become a very special market for Twitter,” Pratiksha Rao, Head of Media Partnerships, opened. She explained that the communal nature of Filipinos has made social connections more meaningful (and accessible) online. “Citizens are helping each other more [because of social media].” Even in disasters, Filipinos use social media to inform others of the potential hazards and blocked roads to help the government’s efforts.

She cited the national elections as another example. “During each presidential debate, there were over a million tweets generated each time,” she said. “It’s mind-boggling!” She was amused that the government uses Twitter as a check-and-balance tool, an example of which would be how COMELEC supports the use of social media sites to report fraudulent incidents.

Filipino social media personalities are also perceived as colorful and full of energy. “We see amazing content being generated by Filipinos (like Filipino Vines) which make fun of situations,” she said. “Twitter has become the place to tell what’s happening in the country to the whole world.”

She predicts that the future of communication lies in live video. “If you can consume their stories in video form, that would be even more informative,” she said.

Social Media for Maturity

Gang Badoy of RockEd Philippines shared her reflections about her social media work. Most of their projects are centered on education on socio-civic issues, and she noted that the best connections can be found online.

She recalled her many posts in the past, and laughed at them heartily. “Like many of you, I have tweeted stuff I deeply regret,” she opened. “I stopped believing in some of the things I did before. And it’s okay!” The audience shared her giggles.

She said that she loves the idea that social media helps us recall how we saw things in the past. In the digital world, people are hesitant to change, for fear of societal backlash. Gang, however, welcomes change. “My point today is: you can at least reread (your tweets) and you will see where you change and where you’ve grown,” she said.

Surprisingly, she also advised the audience to unplug every once in awhile. She explained that there are some experiences that are better felt in the first person than through digital lens. “What we throw out [via social media] is a mix of positive and negative,” she said. “But you have to get to know yourself throughout your own journey.”

Social Media for Political Change

Pompee La Viña, President Duterte’s Head of Social Media, explained that the greatest powers of social media lie in the hands of the people who supported their candidates in the recently concluded elections. “The last election was decided in social media,” he explained.

Besides being the voice for change in the government, Pompee also explained that the masses can use social media to right wrongs or thwart plans that may harm others. The transparency and rapid spread of social media posts can even stand in the way of a potential Martial Law. “Before, you only had to shut down a few radio and TV stations. Now, you have to shut down 40 million people [on social media].”

Social media is a new field, and the curve is changing rapidly. Pompee believes that if you’re in the field, you need to be fluid and ready to embrace change. “The language has changed,” he said. “No more blogs; it’s videos, pictures, and emotion,” he added.

In the end, StraightArrow’s Social Media Team brought home more than just the goodie bags and sponsorship items

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BAGS: No event would be complete without the seminar spoils!

They brought home lessons and insights from the best minds in the local social media scene, as well as a newfound inspiration to use social media as a tool to unite all Filipinos for the country’s future. As the hosts said, “Tayo tayo, Philippines!”

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Marti Rodriguez
Marti Rodriguez
is a Social Media Associate at StraightArrow Corporation. He likes video games and Les Miserables. He was told that he was named after a scholar-general of the Roman centurion army who ferociously defended his motherland against Persian invaders, and that he looks really good in sweaters. Then again, his mother tells him lots of things.



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