Sunday, June 29, 2014

EVENTS | Social Media Day 2014

By EPI FABONAN III. Filipino netizens and diverse online communities took center stage on Saturday, June 28, as the Philippines held its 3rd annual and grandest Social Media Day celebration at SM Aura Premier's Samsung Hall in Taguig City. 

A global initiative of US-based technology website Mashable, Social Media Day is celebrated across the world and, since 2012, in various cities in the Philippines, led by TweetUp Manila.

The best of online media in the Philippines   
The event’s theme for this year — #BoomPH or Best of Online Media in the Philippines  – highlights the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Philippines’ first Internet connection by showcasing the country’s web pioneers, thriving online communities, and successful social media ventures. The event also put into the spotlight some of the country’s emerging social media initiatives. The event is free and open to all, with tickets available online at http://tweetupmnl.com. 

Ros Juan, co-founder of TweetUp Manila said, “Communities play a vital role in the tremendous growth of social media in the Philippines. Social Media Day is our way of celebrating their countless contributions, for if not for them, the social media space across our islands would not be as relevant, dynamic and fun!” 

Delivering the keynote address is champion entrepreneur Jonathan Allan Yabut, Season 1 winner of the hit reality TV show, The Apprentice Asia, who called on all Filipinos to seize the opportunities opened by social media and the Internet to achieve and spread broad-based, grassroots-based prosperity. 

"If your only tool is a hammer, then you just look at everything in life as a nail. We need to have an organized, systematic, and concentrated effort whenever we make a stand via social media. We need to let go of online elitism!” Yabut said.

Other major speakers in the conference portion of Social Media Day like Rianna Trinidad of ThoughtBuzz, Lindt Dale Azcueta of Globe Telecom, Jhoey Hernandez of Tindog Tacloban, and Noemi Lardizabal-Dado of Blogwatch, tackled digital trends and what the Philippines can expect in social media, Internet and digital professions.

Emerging social media initiatives
Community representatives also made headway at the Social Media Day 2014 with their stories of activities, services, and advocacies. Their booths and products were featured at a mini-trade show and fair at the venue.

TradeSchool Manila (http://tradeschool.coop/manila/), one the featured exhibitors, is the local inception of a global initiative that started in New York.  

“It is an independent learning community that works on barter. We provide opportunities for passionate, driven volunteers to teach a small group of interested learners, and in exchange, we give the teachers products or services that they ask,” TradeSchool volunteer Clarissa Sirios said. 

Meanwhile, Hero of D Day (https://www.heroofdday.org) capitalizes on crowdsourcing to gather and deliver daily stories of Pinoy heroism online.

“It’s as simple as using your smartphone to capture everyday stories of heroism and contributing it to us. We are soliciting help from volunteer correspondents, editors, proofreaders, and artists to help gather and deliver these stories. Gusto namin na yung mga kwento ng kabayanihan ay hindi makalimutan at laging matandaan,” Tim Humangit, founder of HODD said. 

Google Education Group (GEG), meanwhile, took the opportunity to promote Google’s wide array of web tools like Drive, Hangouts, Google+, and YouTube, for use in teaching. Ma. Rowena Matti, GEG representative, points out that while the technology is already out there, teachers, students, and schools in the Philippines are still reluctant to use it for various reasons. 

“Even if the tools are available, even if teachers and students know how to use it, they don’t use it because it’s not supported by schools. Most of our school administration officials are quite old and don’t know how to use these tools. Most schools don’t even have WiFi. So the better way to do it is to let every one learn how to use it,” Matti explained. 

Google Education Group conducts seminars and trainings for teachers, school officials, even parents, on how to use Google web tools in the classroom for teaching, testing, and grading. With these tools useable even offline, schools without a WiFi Internet connection can still use it. 

Other Social Media Day 2014 participating communities include: IGers Manila, Tumblr Philippines, Mozilla Philippines, Windows Phone Users, PinoyExchange, Google Business Groups (GBG), Google Student Ambassadors (GSA), Google Developers Group (GDG), Hootsuite Ambassadors, Soundcloud Philippines, Istorya.net, iVolunteer.ph, Muni.com.ph, Philippine Web Designers Organization, Filipino Freethinkers, Change.org PH, Youth Act Now and labor advocacy group EILER Inc.
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