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I had the privilege of having my internship last summer at ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation‘s Corporate Communications Division. As part of the PR Account Group that handles accounts on Acquisitions (Koreanovelas) and News and Current Affairs Division (I Survived, Kalye, etc.), I had been partially involved in media monitoring among others the network’s campaign for the 2010 National Elections entitled ‘Boto Mo: I-Patrol Mo Ako Ang Simula.’

ABS-CBN’s use of the mobile and the internet is so extensive that they have a whole division, ABS-CBN Interactive, for that alone. That, aside from the fact that almost all of their shows either have a Multiply account or a Facebook page depending on their audience. Naturally, new social media also played a huge part in the Ako Ang Simula campaign. Here’s a short video we made (featuring my beautiful voice :P) on how exactly:

What we’ve learned from this case:

  • Even huge tri-media corporations use new social media
  • This is a good example of an interaction between the use of traditional media and new social media.

Room for Improvement

However, it also wouldn’t hurt to reply to some deserving entries and posts (such as invitations to requests and campaigns) in their sites. As of this point, the new social media system is still on BROADCAST mode (see my post on the BIS model) due to information overload and it is not interacting with the audience very much – it just became an avenue for the people to interact, but not for them to interact with the people.

Search Engine Optimization – the process of making a site and its content highly relevant for both the search engines and searchers.

Many are knowledgeable on search engine optimization – in fact, the skill is one of the top requirements to make money online as a freelance writer. However, in the many  instances that I am in need of some software for schoolwork, I see a lot of examples of websites that are only optimized for the search engines, but not for the searchers as there is nothing of value on the following site at all. All it does is lead you in circles.

Photoshop SEO

It can be very easy to just fall to this temptation and list down organizational communication for at least 40 times in one of my posts. However, the repetition of keywords is just a part of search engine optimization. Content is still important when it comes to optimizing the site for searchers – with the proper positioning of keywords and the readability of the post and its network of links.

I’m not an expert on search engine optimization to tell people  how do it properly. But at least I know what it’s not.

August is the Competition Season for UP Organizational Communication Seniors and the rest of the students in the very broad fields of business and/or communication. Several organizations have opened their doors to welcome fresh ideas that would spearhead change for our nation – very timely for the May 2010 Elections.

  • MarkProfMarkProf Foundation, IncEvery year, the Markprof Foundation searches for the twenty-five most promising graduating college-level students who want to pursue careers in the fields of Marketing and Sales. The screening process includes business simulations, interviews, and case studies to choose the lucky few who would then proceed to a two-month long Marketing Bootcamp to learn from CEOs and Presidents of top companies across industries.

We Organizational Communication Seniors had compromised our part-time jobs, health and other academic responsibilities in order to pursue that elusive ‘First Place’ crown for us and our institution. Mind you, that was BY CHOICE and not BY FORCE. Imagine the frustration of everyone with the results of the competitions. And by the way, YES, I am being purposely vague.😛

However, I have not gone home empty-handed. I had taken with me lessons learned, nuggets of wisdom,  realizations and just plain reminders. Here are SOME of them:

  • Starting early on and not cramming does not guarantee success. I had always been a crammer (I’m still working my way out of that ‘title’) and when I fail, I always thought that if I had worked on something earlier, I would have gotten better results. This is one of the few instances that I started early. However, this doesn’t mean that we should always cram instead. Still NO TO CRAMMING.😛
  • We definitely knew that it’s not manner over matter. However, it’s not matter over manner, either. It’s matter AND manner. ‘Nuff said.
  • The Background/Need/Rationale is just as important as the Strategies and Tactics. Extreme caution is necessary.
  • Rehearsals and run-throughs are not just preferable, but NECESSARY.
  • Extra-curricular activities are called EXTRA for a reason. Some things are just not worth the effort and the sacrifice.

In my post, The Making of a Relevant Blog Entry, I included some tips on how we can make blog entries that contribute to each of our own communities. That way, we can all use blogging as a business tool  instead of just plain diary-like entries and ranting. At the very end of that entry, I posed a question that allows us to take on another perspective:

How do corporations make sense of the millions of blogs that are available in the internet?

Of the billions of people in the world, and even the huge chunk of it that are internet users, very few people really realize the complexity of world wide web. Not that we should view it as complex, but many (even business people) are ignorant of many of the different smaller worlds existing in it. It has been downplayed to a plain source of recreation–which is still true of course. But as business people, we should look at it beyond the communities we leisurely participate in and start to look into other communities which can be relevant to our businesses. And speaking of these communities, I never realized how many they are and how wide the world wide web is until this was shown to us:

The Conversation Prism

The Conversation Prism

After getting over the initial shock of being presented with so many communities in which conversations take place, I got on to looking at those I’m personally part of. I have attempted to list down all my personal internet accounts and have found that I have just a little over ten accounts (not including forums I subscribed to just to be able to download an elusive product for ONE time).

Belle's Internet Accounts

If I limit myself to MY community for the product or services of the company I’m working for, I may be completely ignoring the communities of MY STAKEHOLDERS. But there may be just too much of these communities. Therefore, ONLY THE RELEVANT communities should be identified and targeted, not just the most popular ones.  The most important thing is to understand stakeholder behavior and in which communities they converse. The Conversation Prism is a tool to map those communities. That would narrow down the list, but it would still be long. At that point, the next thing to do is to PRIORITIZE them.

Listening In

After identifying the relevant communities and prioritizing them, what then? The answer is to listen to the conversations of its participants (thus, the name ‘Conversation Prism’, because conversations take place in these internet communities). People talk of different things all the time and at one point, they may have posted their opinion or inquiry about a brand you’re handling. I personally have had 2 posts on all the energy drinks I’ve tried; identifying the good points and bad points  I found and eventually giving a rating. The information found in that post may give a detailed opinion on a brand in comparison to its competition.

There are several ways in which that potentially useful post may be found and listened into by a person who could be handling one of the brands I’ve mentioned:

  • Technorati. This may be used to search for various media by tag or keyword. Since I’ve tagged that post with all the brand names of the energy drinks, a simple search in this site may list that post and several other related posts from many communities.
  • Technorati
  • Google Alerts. Google can send email updates of the search results of any topic or term. Since we can trust Google to dig the depths of the internet for all kinds of stuff, it’s really convenient to have all that information accessible through your email – which you check very often, of course.
  • Google Alerts
  • RSSRSS Feeds. Let’s say you’ve found great conversations to listen to and you want to stay in touch. This is a great way to do so. RSS Feeds are updates on the activity on a certain web page which can be accessed through your browser’s built in RSS mechanism or an RSS Feed Reader. If you’ve subscribed to a page, every time there is a new comment or an update, it will be seen in the reader.
  • Dashboards. As visiting every single site I’ve mentioned above would take a long time and desktop space, there is a tool that would make that easier. Dashboards help you see a lot of information from different sites and applications all at once in one very user-friendly and customizable interface. I personally prefer the dashboard format to that of RSS feeds but that’s a matter of opinion. A great example for this is Netvibes which has been tried and tested by my professor and classmates.

netvibes

As we continue to advance in technology and in the use of the internet there may be better and more convenient tools that can be used. At this point, we can give each one a chance and go with what works best for us.🙂

‘Physical laws, rules of behavior, contracts, schedules, deadlines, professionalism, org charts, and management practices are all types of connections. They all are attempts to control not only the object of the connection but also the nature of the connection itself. Why? Because they promise control over the two things we fear most: the vicissitudes of our world and the passion of our selves. As a manager armed with a theory and the latest business book, I not only know what to do, I know who to be.’

– David Weinberger, The Cluetrain Manifesto Chapter 5 – The Hyperlinked Organization

A Manager

The fifth chapter of The Cluetrain Manifesto entitled The Hyperlinked Organization is certainly revolutionary. Reading it has made me realize how very traditional I still am – well, compared to what the author suggests. After being bombarded everywhere by new social media for the past few years, I thought that by now, I have accepted everything it has to offer and entails. However, the author of this chapter, David Weinberger, presents us with some ideas which I find quite difficult to accept as they deal with some of the things that have been drilled into my system – and I suppose many others, too – ever since we could remember.

VS Deadlines

‘If not living by deadlines is unrealistic, it’s just as unrealistic to think that a motivated group of people, working hard, will get things done by a particular moment just because you set that moment as the endpoint.’

Deadlines

Well, we have lived with all kinds of deadlines all our lives. Our parents set the time when we should be home. Our teachers and professors give us deadlines for the submission of our requirements. We have set deadlines for ourselves regarding the stuff that we do. And during my very brief stint with the corporate world – also known as my internship – the one common dialogue among almost everyone (well, aside from those at the bottom, which would be us interns) is ‘I need that by _____.’

Given that, I imagine that it would be very long before people in general – even managers – would be able to embrace Weinberger’s ideal although I must say that I see some truth in thinking that the setting of a deadline is a weapon used by managers to feel powerful. I can’t deny that deadlines are ways to measure productivity and I really can’t imagine (especially as a business person involved in communication) businesses – even individuals – living without them.

Still, life would certainly be less stressful without them. And I kinda have a lot of stress inside me. But hey, a girl can hope.

VS Professionalism

‘The decentralization of time creates other ripples. When you allow people to control their own schedules, they don’t always cut their day into clean work and nonwork time periods. Their personal lives begin to invade Fort Business. They know that even if they leave for an hour for the Good News Assembly at their child’s elementary school, they still can get done what needs doing, even if it means working at home over the weekend.’

Professionalism

Allow me to recall my internship – in which there were days when there was nothing to do at all during the early afternoons, but I had to stay for the sake of the hours and wait for the huge bulk of work to arrive by 5 pm. Those times were the hardest – as I have to pretend every time someone important passes by my desk that I was doing something. It was unavoidable to check my personal e-mail and some other personal stuff during such times although I do tend to avoid looking at friends’ pictures as it is very obvious from a mile away. One of the employees said it was AIDS – Acting as If Doing Something. And like having the disease, it was very difficult to have this kind of AIDS as well.

I consider myself professional – well, I strive to be so at least. And when I’m not acting as such, I feel very guilty. Well, after reading what Weinberger has to say, I feel quite justified. We can’t all be perfect and we’re not a bunch of robots managers can program to their liking to create the feel of the perfect workplace where everyone’s working when they really aren’t doing anything.

VS Hierarchy

‘Org charts are pyramids. The ancient pharaohs built their pyramids out of the fear of human mortality. Today’s business pharaohs build their pyramidal organizations out of fear of human fallibility; they’re afraid of being exposed as frightened little boys, fallible and uncertain. To be human is to be imperfect. We die. We make mistakes.’

Organizational Chart

Well, I remember quite clearly how I looked at the top of almost every organizational chart and hoped to be there someday. Weinberger has certainly made me think of the vulnerable side of every executive or manager. But among the these things I’ve listed, I suppose this would be the most difficult paradigm to shift. Every organization has a list of officers, or at least there were a group of people who started bringing people together to form the organization – and these are the people at the top. The ones who have the say, the bigger bucks and offices. And to ask these people to remove the hierarchy will be quite a challenge.

The Hyperlinked Organization

‘You see, the hyperlinks that replace the org chart as the primary structure of the organization are in fact conversations. They are the paths talk takes. And a business is, more than anything else, the set of conversations going on.’

Hyperlinked Organizations

The image above is how a hyperlinked organization would look like. People having conversations. And conversations can only be made among equals and without the fear of being wrong. Which is impossible in an organization with hierarchy.

Deadlines, rules and the hierarchy has emerged from a manager’s mindset that employees are lazy and need to be pushed to perform well. Such a thought is quite a disillusionment to me. Because if so, why all the efforts to motivate and engage employees to make them satisfied and productive if at the end, they would still be subjected to all these ‘weapons’ as Weinberger calls them?

To become a hyperlinked organization based on conversations, a manager has to think of his / her employees as an equal – not exactly in terms of skills and abilities – but that they both want the best for the organization and would work hard for it without being threatened to do so.

The V-log Compilation

Many think that history is such a boring subject. Well, it may be – with all the dates, facts and names that have to be remembered. Not to mention that humans have existed for quite some time – thus, history just goes on and on. But there are certainly ways to make it quite interesting and easier to absorb or digest. Video Blogs.

I now present to you, our video blog on the history of communication. This is a collaborative effort by the following people: JP Cosio, Sam de Asis, Klarisse Gatmaitan, myself – Belle Natividad, Eunice Sacdalan and Vianne Villanueva.

Well, as we were making the video, we looked around YouTube to see different videos that have already been made on the history of communication. This one, by Paperworq Productions, runs for just around 3 minutes and is very professional, elegant and of course, informative.

Video-blogging was certainly a new experience for me but I liked it. Of course, it may require more skills than just typing or may be problematic for some people, but it is certainly worth it. I might use it for one of my posts in the future.🙂

‘For individuals and small businesses this is an exciting new era – an era where they can participate in production and add value to large-scale economic systems in ways that were previously impossible.’

‘Today, the blogging phenomenon points the way to the most profound changes the new Web will wreak on the economy.’

Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, Wikinomics, 2006

My very first personal blog entry was written back in 2006 and was entitled , ‘Mass Movements… hay.’ It features me – then in first year – reacting to my first experience of being encouraged by a professor to attend a mass movement during PGMA’s State of the Nation Address. Several blog entries and mass movement invitations later, I only long to delete that entry.

Me? A Contributor?

Back then, I viewed blogging as writing in a diary – only public. But now I’ve found that blogging can be so much more to me – especially as a business person involved in communication, as we organizational communication students strive to be. Considering that there were absolutely no comments for my first blog entry, and for most of the entries after it, I found myself asking if anybody really cared about my day – which was what I usually blogged about. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you guys to read my personal blog and comment on all my entries.  Reading Wikinomics has got me thinking: how can I – as the authors have said – participate in production and add value in ways that were previously impossible through my blog? If anybody comes by my blog, what would they get out of it? Will it make any sense to them? It might if I were a very famous person.

But I’m not. I read somewhere that blogging is personal branding. If my name were to be googled, what would be seen? Would people like what they see? And would the people I like like what they see? Friends? Relatives? Stalkers? Possible Employers?!

Contribute What? How?

Thus, my entries must contribute to at least one community. And how is this possible? By blogging about stuff that I know about. I may not completely be an expert in science, current events or any other field, but even I must know something, right? Our personal experiences can contribute and can make sense to others. After spending some time in the blogosphere, I’ve seen a few ways in which we can make our experiences relevant:

  • Tips. We all have our own way of doing things. It may be your regimen at night, or your study habits. Why not help other people by blogging it?
  • Metaphors and Comparisons. Tom Hanks said in the movie Forrest Gump back in 1995: Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you pick. If you’ve had such a revelation, whether about life, your workplace or anything else, you can share it through blogging.
  • Reviews and Recommendations.  As humans, we consume. And sometimes we encounter a product or service that is not to our taste. Other times, it’s the other way around. Your blog can warn or recommend these products and services to other people.
  • Reflections. You may have read a book or an article that has made you think. It may even be just one poster on the streets or something that someone said. Why not blog about it?

Of course, I’m really no expert in blogging, either. Come on, how many posts does this blog have? But we all have to start somewhere. One of my favorite websites and references for this semester, DailyBlogTips.com, contains several helpful articles about blogging.

A Reversal of Roles

So far, I’ve written about individuals as contributors through blogs. But what about those who are at the receiving end of these contributions? Knowing that blogging is so much more than ranting – that it’s a business tool, how do corporations make sense of the millions of blogs that are available in the internet? But before this blog lengthens further, it might be better to just leave that for another blog entry.😛