Category Archives: Social Media

Innovative Spaces

Back in the day, I used to write constantly on this website. It’s still quite popular (with more than 1k subscribers), but I am delving into social media as a complement to Miss Tolentino dot com.

With the goal of refining my visual communication techniques, I have opted to create the Miss Tolentino Facebook page where I can instantaneously post my projects, my art (both visual and literary pieces), photography, humor and other relevant interests that go with being a creative.

May you find this space inspiring, challenging and thought-provoking. Also, I highly value collaboration, brain-storming and ideas. If you have comments or strong sentiments on the subjects I post, please feel free to let me know as long as they are constructive and respectful in manner/tone.

Thank you for following my page. I look forward to building a creative community that thrives in spaces where independent and innovative thinking is encouraged.

Maria Paula Tolentino
MPT/Miss Tolentino

Mining Pro Murdered: Social Media’s Role

With what happened to the recent murder of a colleague in the industry, this story in particular, hit too close to home. Similar to those who are actively engaged in social media, I am tempted to share such news on my various social media accounts. However, there were a couple of things that stopped me.

Ethics. Sensitivity. Respect.

I am deeply saddened by his death, and condemn the murderers who are responsible. However, if I share such sentiments, what good will it bring? Will it bring back his life? Will it give the man and his family peace?

Ethics.

As a media professional, news like this are DELICIOUS. And as human beings, we are wired to share, share, share. If you’ve had the privilege to work with, or were close to the victim, more so the appeal of sharing it on your Facebook walls. It takes a lot of self control, discretion and strength to NOT SHARE. It may get attention, but give it a few months, his case will be shelved.

The question to ask oneself: What is your purpose of sharing such information? What good will sharing such an information bring your audience/readers? It all boils down to intent.

Sensitivity.

The horrors of terrorism which include rape, extortion and murder are far, far too real, especially in this industry we all call home. Such horrors shouldn’t be taken lightly, nor carelessly shared on social media. By sharing news of his beheading and posting pictures of such a violent crime, will only encourage more acts of terrorism. You may actually be making another insurgent/terrorist happy by sharing his “masterpiece”. Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm.

Respect.

Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information. The man murdered was a private individual. He no longer has the power to say no. Respect that.

With his decapitation, the images are next to useless, creating a culture of indifference. The “viral” sharing risks a sense of emptiness, creating a “numbing” effect, to shock without informing, to feed a form of slacktivism (a kind of “armchair” activism, which does not require great effort or commitment and involvement).

“I published a post, shared a photo, etc. I am at peace with my conscience, I received my amount of likes, and now we can go on with the photos of the vacation or the comments on the football match.” It is good to know that in a context such as this someone has decided to become the custodian of the awakening of consciences (again, this is the most popular explanation among those who choose to share). Or is it subtly to glorify oneself?

But the question to be asked here: will there be any concrete positive effects?

One thing is certain: if one really needs a gallery of dead bodies to become aware of the human suffering that exists around us, then we have a big problem. It can be risky in the long run to convince ourselves of the need to use death for a purpose (no matter if it sensitizes, informs, sells, etc.). There is a risk of addiction. Think of the hundreds of newspapers with photos of decapitated people? It’s entertainment.

We cannot ignore the banality of the horror included in the “save image” and “share” command. Don’t you think we’ve had enough of the panic, fear and intimidation these terrorists have sown in our senses? The buck should stop with us. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.

I long for common decency, respect and humanity. Rest in peace John. May you be the last in this industry.

For more information about this post, please see my references:
Journalist’s Code of Ethics
Ethics of Sharing in Social Media 
Social Media Curbs or Promotes Terrorism and Violence 
To share or not to share

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Freedom of Information: A Privilege and Responsibility

Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) co-founder and current Dean of Academic Affairs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Shiela Coronel told her audience: “twenty-five years ago, the term ‘investigative reporting’ was little-known in Asia. Today, journalists throughout Asia are using freedom-of-information laws, data analysis, social media, collaborative tools and the latest in digital technology. They are writing about corruption, human slavery, dirty money and environmental problems.”3

Throughout this time, we’ve been told that Asians value consensus over exposure. They’re wrong: Speaking truth to power is an Asian value”.3

It helps if the investigative reporter is a damned good writer and storyteller – suspenseful but not sensationalistic, and with a colorful style especially with a blockbuster whodunit. Coronel said that once journalists and citizens have had a taste of independence and freedom, it is hard to go back to the dark ages. She pointed out the immense changes in Asia in the past 20 years, among them toppled dictatorships and opening markets.3

In the aftermath of Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), Facebook became an important alternative form of communication and future emergency preparedness plans should include it. Posting a status update on Facebook was the quickest way to communicate.1

Faced with limited access, Facebook proved useful to many residents to update their relatives about their plight as we all as to ask for help. What happened during Yolanda demonstrated how media users quickly learn to adopt technologies to suit their peculiar needs during a communication network paralysis. Educating residents about the value of social media channels will make social media use during disasters more efficient.1

News exchange in Facebook is a classic example of democratization of information. Reports said that Facebook has changed the way users consume news such that searching has become highly personal and has cleared away third-party editorial judgment.2

As a social media, it makes us both the source and reciever of information. Lastly, it is the speed by which information is brought to our knowledge that gives social media an edge over other news media.2

It is the politics of ‘liking’ a particular Facebook post that somehow develops a culture of conformity, which is reinforced by cyberbullying. A lot of people have been shamed without being given the proper forum to explain themselves.2 I realized that the internet can be both a gold mine and a minefield”, says Coronel 3

Thus, the manner by which we express our disagreements over an issue paints a picture of our civility, and most importantly of how we accord respect to our neighbor. In a society with high-level of political tolerance, people do not impose their beliefs on others but seek to raise the quality of dialogue and peaceably live amid their differences. Hence, it is high-time to check not just our Facebook status but also out degree of respect toward each other.2

For decades, but especially since the EDSA ‘People Power Revolution’ restored the press freedom in the country. The Philippines has prided itself in having one of the freest, if not THE freest press in the region.4

Not everyone, ofcourse, welcomed the wild and wooly media environment that emerged with the Marcoses’ departure. As former president Fidel Ramos once declared, whenever he read the day’s papers, “some make me want to commit suicide, while others make me want to commit homicide”.4 And as he mentioned in his latest State of the Nation Address, P-Noy felt aggrieved by the almost daily slings and arrows of criticisms, leading him to wonder why he ever chose the path of public service. 4

The answer should be clear to him – and to us as well. P-Noy chose the difficult path of public service and leadership not just because of his own personal history but because he believes in democracy, as he declares again and again.4

For us Filipinos, the stalled Freedom-of-Information bill is still deterrent to good investigative reporting.3 And democracy relies in large part on freedom of the press, in freedom not just of journalists but also of the people to access all the information they deserve, the better to make the right decisions and choices when they need to.4

Teach the journalists in question some manners. Chide them for their boorishness.4 But passing the freedom-of-information bill is not only fundamental to what we proudly call a ‘free’ press but to a democratic nation as well.

References:

1 The Philippine Daily Inquirer, ‘Disaster Preparedness Plan Must Include Social Media’. November 10, 2014. Edson Tandoc.
2 The Philippine Daily Inquirer, ‘Social Media Users Challenged: Be Respectful’. November 10, 2014. Esmeralda Abarabar.
3 The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Human Face. ‘Uncovering Asia Through Investigative Journalism’. Ma. Ceres P. Doyo.
4 The Philippine Daily Inquirer, At Large. ‘Journalists Behaving Badly’. Rina Jimenez-David.