Life-Changing Buzz: How I Found UP Manila OrCom

Here’s a detail I might have forgotten to tell: OrCom was a big cross-over for me. As I’ve mentioned, I wasn’t originally an OrCom major—I got into UP Manila as a Computer Science major (how I got a decent Math score in that UPCAT, I will never know). After a year and a half, I decided that I was in the wrong station, so to speak. I realized that Computer Science wasn’t going to take me where I really wanted to go, so after literally tearful dinners spent persuading my parents to let me shift, I finally had their blessing.

I knew right away where I wanted to go. In true OrCom style, I had planned for weeks before pitching the whole idea of shifting to my parents. Here’s the story of how buzz (as discussed in Emmanuel Rosen’s The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited) changed my life by introducing me to UP Manila OrCom.

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The Social Support Network

We’re all familiar with how Facebook plays such a big part in our social and work life nowadays. Just last night, I was participating in three different meetings via Facebook groups—talk about a social media explosion. Important announcements, queries, and entire reports can be planned using FB groups when time doesn’t allow a face to face meeting.
But social networks aren’t all about stress for me. This particular sem, I personally experienced how Facebook can keep a senior student sane despite all the sleepless nights and deadlines.

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Check Yourself Out: On Online Reputations

My grade school carpool mates and I used to make fun of vain people who checked themselves out on tinted car windows. Often they wouldn’t notice that there were people inside the van and they’d stand preening in front of the windows. Sometimes, as a prank, we’d knock on the window to startle them. Their expressions were priceless. So here’s a protip for you fellow commuters: Avoid the urge to do your grooming in front of the tinted windows of parked cars. You never know what crazy kids—or hidden cameras—they hold.

If there’s one place you should check yourself out on all the time though, it has got to be the internet. Quick, do a Google search of your name. What did you find?

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From Socially Awkward to Social Alpha

Recently, I blogged about Nikon’s socially awkward moment. Today, I make a confession: I myself am socially awkward. I’ve been very introverted for the most part of my life, but in my constant quest for self-improvement, I realized that I needed to become better at relating with people. So for the last 5 years, I’ve been working on my social skills—and trust me, it is not easy work. On some days, after the exhaustion of keeping conversations going long after my introversion kicks in, I start to feel like it’s a lost cause. “This is hopeless,” I say to myself. “You just can’t change who you are.”

But wait—you apparently can, to some extent. Remember how my previous blog introduced Brad Geiser’s concept of organizations moving from the commercial to the social sphere? Well last Saturday, we had the honor of having Ms. Janette Toral (digital entrepreneur, experienced consultant, researcher, and speaker extraordinaire) of Digital Filipino talk to our class about the fundamentals of e-commerce. It was one of the most informative and inspiring talks I’ve heard in a while, and among many other useful things, she talked about Brad’s concept of the social alpha—people who naturally excel at forming communities of people around themselves.

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Nakakaoffend! On Nikon’s Socially Awkward Moment

We bit our lips; she looked out the window

Rolling tiny balls of napkin paper

I played a quick game of chess with the salt and pepper shaker

And I could see clearly, an indelible line was drawn

Between what was good, what just slipped out and what went wrong

The phenomenon that John Mayer so eloquently describes can be summed up in three words by this internet generation: that awkward moment. Sometimes we crack that inappropriate joke, mistake someone for pregnant when in fact she just gained a few extra pounds, or let out a secret to a person who wasn’t supposed to be in on it. I myself made a similar mistake a day or two ago (but that’s not for this blog). Tao lang (we’re only human), we always say. But what if it’s a brand, and not a human who does it?

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Why Social Media Papogi Is Hard: On the DPWH Photoshop Disaster

Everybody wants to look good, and some people go to great—and even imaginary—lengths for it. But telling a tall tale to acquaintances over a few drinks is an extremely different deal from spinning stories on social media networks. The tangled web of lies multiplies exponentially when you try to pull it off online, because there are tens of thousands of people bored enough, good enough at stalking, or obsessed enough to call your bluff.

Sadly, this lesson was lost on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). A week ago, a picture of Undersecretary Romeo Momo, Director Rey Tagudando and District Engineer Mikunug Macud apparently inspecting the damage along Roxas Boulevard after typhoon Pedring hit appeared on their Facebook page. The problem was that the photo was obviously fake, with the three officials edited in.

Note how the officials seem to be tiptoeing on rubble. Tough work indeed.

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Word on the street (or on our readings at least) that there is a new, revolutionary way of doing work. It’s called hyperspecialization—and while the term might sound a wee bit fancy, the idea is actually very simple. Nowadays, companies, groups, or even individuals can post job requests on third party sites, such as TopCoder and InnoCentive, and any individual may register on these sites and compete for the project. This allows the work to be completed in cost-effiecient way, and with the help of individuals who are specialists on the task. The pros and cons of hyperspecialization have been discussed in the article. Below is a summary. Read more of this post

Online Around the Archipelago: On the Philippine Blog Awards

“Blogger” is one of those cool titles you can attach to yourself without being as arrogant as, say, calling yourself a writer. It definitely takes less work than traditional writing—in blogging, getting published is just a button click away. But being an award-winning blogger sure is something else. And if you think you’re up for it, don’t settle for just any award. National level is the way to go.

Since 2007, the Philippine Blog Awards (PBA) has been giving recognition to bloggers all over the country—with separate awards for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Bloggers are awarded in different categories such as personal, technology, fashion, and others. Special awards for individual posts, podcasts, and blog designs are awarded as well.

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Mythbusted: 5 Things You Thought You Knew About UP Manila OrCom

We all know how it is. There’s a party / dinner / reunion of some sort and some family friend / relative you don’t even know ends up in the same table / spot / boring predicament as you and decides to strike up a conversation.

RP: So are you working?

Me: No, I’m still in college. One more year to go.

RP: Oh, great. What school?

Me: UP Manila.

[RP either knows about UPM and is impressed, or doesn’t know and we start a conversation about how UP Manila is not the newest “branch” of UP Diliman.]

RP: What are you taking up?

Me: Organizational Communication.

RP: What’s that?

There goes the million dollar question. I’ve had these conversations not just with family friends and relatives, but also with course-hunting high school students, HR personnel, my neighbors, my hair cutter, and one or two jeepney drivers–who, for some reason, feel the right be involved in the personal decisions I make.

Usually I size the person up (I’m judgmental like that) and adjust my definition based on how I think of them. It’s not that I look down on certain people–it’s just that I want to inform them based on what they’re interested in.

What I often do is to cater to the FAQs of my degree program. After more or less 2 years of these interviews, here are some myths–and the corresponding shocking facts–about OrCom:

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First Stop

This blog  promises to talk about organizational communication and social media. Such big words. So where do I begin?

Organizational communication, which happens to be my major, is quite hard to explain. Simply put, it deals with the processes of communication in all kinds of organizations–corporations, NGOs, non-profit organizations, etc. In reality though, it’s not simple at all.

Communication goes beyond public speaking, presentations, and group discussions. I particularly prefer viewing organizational communication (from now on referred to as OrCom) as a field in the social sciences. To understand how an organization communicates, we need to understand how the people in it think, act, and interact with each other.

Social media isn’t as hard to explain. Anyone who’s reading this is probably aware of–if not ever so slightly addicted to–social media. But this blog aims to explore what lies beyond the usual, all-too-personal realm of blogs and social networks. For the next five months (and a lifetime, perhaps) I will be sharing what I’ll learn about how organizations are adapting to one of the most revolutionary communication trends we’ve come across.

The Social Media Landscape

I won’t claim to be an expert. As my professor says, no one–not even digital marketing/PR companies–can claim to be an expert in something that has only been around for so many years.

The way I see it, social media is this unmapped metropolis which we’re all just learning to navigate. Organizations, just like individuals, are just learning where the right stops are; when to cross and when to stay put–and often they come by these lessons the hard way.

Personally, that’s how I learn best too. So join me in my commute, as I jaywalk from one story/insight/lesson to the next.