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Social Media for Social Good? What is it really all about?

September 28, 2012

Last September 24, key cities around the world celebrated the use of social media and technology for the common good – the social good. Dubbed as the Social Good Summit, these simultaneous worldwide events across countries and across languages was spearheaded by the United Nations Development Programme, Mashable, Ericsson, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

I personally wanted to facilitate a Social Good Summit in Quezon City once again to continue what we have done last Manila Social Media Day 2012, perhaps somewhere nearby where I live in Commonwealth Avenue, the supposed “arguably former” killer highway in the Metro where a lot of our country’s government institutions are located and where, in my honest opinion, a good number of the masses reside (well logically speaking it might be factual with respect to land area and population.)

Anyhoo, what I was trying to say is, rather than coming up with a symposium of the use of the powers and wonders of social media and technology to the effect of the people who were already using and enjoying it daily, I would have wanted to address the strongest suggestion I received last time coming from Manila Social Media Day 2012: “why not do something like this at the grassroots level” instead?

After all, my belief is, we might have a good number of Filipinos on-line (x), but only a small percentage of those who are on-line use it responsibly (x’). Now, divide it with the almost (or is it ‘over?’) 100 million Filipinos (y) and even without the benefits of proper scientific methodology, the significance of x/y much more x’/y is hardly felt by the masses. Sure, sure, the emo kids might have Facebook accounts or the fact that some support the #JuliElmoHashtagForAllPerpetuity but does that make the lives of most Filipinos easier where it really, really counts?

I seriously don’t think so. Maybe this is why UN is still saying even with the noise we Filipinos generate on-line, Internet accessibility in our country remains low. I’m just somewhat happy that at this time, Globe Telecommunications and Smart Communications are once again upping up their marketing warfare ammunition as the former tries to “improve their infrastructure” and the latter “defending their position as the market leader.” Hopefully, rather than throwing mud at each other, they will actually make the best choices for the benefit of you and me and, most of all, the y-x number of Filipinos who are still not on-line.

If we want to be dubbed “social media capital” it has to be because of “quality of use” not with “magnitude of noise.” If that’s not the case, heck, the title may as well be just within the realms of ABS-CBN and GMA Network.

Sorry, TV5.

Anyway, back to the topic. Since I am currently in Tokyo to take up my MBA, I decided to participate in the Social Good Summit in this part of the world instead. After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? This is why before much of the event actually got conceptualized, I was eager to know what Hiroyasu Ichikawa was up to and suggested that the Tokyo event be held at night so I would be able to drop by after class. Thankfully, it seemed to be the popular opinion, and soon enough, the event took shape at the Nippon Foundation, just 1 station away from my business school, but with around 20 minutes of walking.

It was quite funny that on my way to the Social Good Summit, I saw a group of Japanese protesters expressing themselves in Nihonggo and Kanji (read as “I do not understand what they were protesting about.” All I know that even with the presence of such ideals and the police, everything was still in order. Everything was in  place. This is Japan. This is how they protest. We are not in Kansas anymore. This is not how we express our dismay in the Philippines. We are more, say, vibrant, and I know that for a fact since I do live just a few blocks away from Batasan where the annual State of the Nation Address takes place: the House of Representatives.

The manner a certain society utilizes social media is a mirror of its culture, its people, & its future. Perhaps this is why as I was trying my best to see the differences on how Filipinos and Japanese use social media for “social good,” one of the most prevailing aspects is that aside for the #JejeHashTags, the x’ of us Pinoys on-line seem to focus on politics and governance.

I personally feel this is how we all feel is the best way to make use of a technology that can flatten the divide and to bring out “the most reliable information and exchange, thereof” that no amount of traditional media ever could. But in Japan during the Social Good Summit in Tokyo, when they discussed how social media is being used for social good during the Social Good Summit, the topics are more, say, humanitarian. More pro-active. More forward-looking.

Don’t take me the wrong way. I am aware, we Filipinos unite in times of disaster. I can still vividly recall the horrors of Ondoy and that non-typhoon habagat that happened last August and how we collectively assisted those who are in need through social media and technology. I am also aware of other initiatives being done by several groups to be more proactive with the use of social media and technology for the benefit of the Filipinos. But let’s face it, social media is more of a political tool in our country than anything else these days.

All I’m saying is if chance and fate allows, perhaps soon enough, social media events I will be joining, or, organizing, will be for those who are still not living their lives as digital as the rest of us. This is how I see social media and technology should be used for the common good, for the social good.

The Social Good Summit threw the following questions for all of us to answer:

How can new media and technology create solutions in my community?

What can the world learn from your community?

Maybe it is only fate that I started my MBA journey with the Social Good Summit in mind. After all, unbeknownst to most people, my personal mission in life still revolves around the use of technology for the benefit of all.  I don’t want to bore you with the details, but I have spent 6 years of my life familiarizing myself with an industry and a business culture that needs to be changed for the benefit of everyone.

I won’t be a hypocrite and say I am not doing it for the money, because I still am. But on top of the basic human need to be rewarded and recognized, my journey with my University, GLOBIS, has taken me to a better path and purpose in life. I personally don’t want to mention that the school made me go higher in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs because that might be too much of a cliche. But the university does strive to create “visionary leaders who create and innovate societies” and I don’t feel like failing them with their expectations anytime soon.

Coming from yesterday’s orientation where I personally expressed my personal mission in life all the way to the formulation of our Full Time MBA 2012 Class Way, I feel enlightened with a renewed sense of purpose in life.

Dream & act in unity for the power of change…. The GLOBIS FT-MBA 2012 way….

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