A friend sent me a text message on the afternoon of October 4, the day when the second Million People March was supposed to have happened.
“Hir na mi, wr na u?” (Translation, “I’m already here, where are you?”)
I read the message while I was being kneaded and pummeled on a massage chair at the UBMA (blind massage clinic) over on Sta. Lucia East in Cainta. I thought of replying but decided no to, so it would be plausible to later claim that I didn’t receive his text message and forgot all about going to the second Million People March.
Yes, I am like that.
I’d trade a social media movement for a good massage any day of the week and the fact that the second Million People March was in Ayala, Makati on a FRIDAY had me thinking, “NO! Just. Hell. No. Because…”
But does that necessarily make me any less indignant about the Pork Barrel Scam? Perhaps, yes.
I am probably not as indignant as the people who’ve made “indignation” a career of sorts. Then again, I am not totally unaffected by the Pork Barrel Scam or the illegality/unconstitutionality of the DAP or President BS Aquino’s misguided leadership.
I choose to act in my typical fashion which is to write and talk. All of my talking and writing about Aquino as well as his pork barrel foibles has convinced about two dozen of my readers to… well… gee… Come to think of it, none of them really committed to doing anything, but they did agree with me that Aquino is an ass-backwards President.
And after reading BenignO’s latest sure-hit post on Get Real on social media activism, I am now pretty sure that I am part of the statistical mean referred to in this article on the “second screen”:
“It seems, statistics gleaned from the frequency something is mentioned in social media does not correlate strongly with more broad-based measures of popularity and viewership…
“In Philippine politics where public relations consulting and buzz creation is big business, the equivalent of this observation had already been confirmed by the results of the 2013 mid-term elections where candidates vilified by “netizens” and social media “experts” actually emerged at the top of the winners’ heap in terms of number of actual votes attracted.”
Ideally, people on social media should be like Cyrano De Bergerac, in the sense that we should all be able to move people with words and fight for our causes in real battlegrounds.
That social media” movers” (in the Philippines, at least) doesn’t at all match up with the “Cyrano De Bergerac” ideal is no revelation at all and I knew this as far back as when I was in a political “club” highschool.
In high school, when we campaigned for student causes, our campaigns were met with a lot of polite agreement but little action — save for the ones where we called on our fellow students not to go to class and rally outside the school’s gates. Most of my fellow students didn’t go to class all right, but only a handful actually rallied.
And in the few times that a large number of students were assembled, it was like that scene in “300” where Leonidas met with the Acadians.
In that scene, Leonidas asked “Spartans! What is your profession?” And the 299 behind him shouted, “Awooo! Awooo!” After the shouting died down, Leonidas says “See, I brought more soldiers than you.”
The point is on any issue, there will always be a smaller number of people committed to one side and a proportionate number of people committed to the other side of an issue. And, in between those two extremes, we have people with varying degrees of commitment and people who are completely uncommitted.
What it will look like, graphically, is a curve where those strongly committed on either side of an issue will be at the bottom points on either end and those who are not committed are on the apex of the curve.
The battle, really, is for those who have are not aware of the issue and have not made up their minds about it.
The apex of the curve is NOT static and will move nearer to either end over time depending on the number of people who are informed about the issue and the number of people who make up their minds.
I think, that as far as PR or Perception Management is concerned, the simplified and classical illustration of managing perception would be to:
One, convince decision makers to support your side of the issue. This assumes that they have not yet been informed of the issue and haven’t made up their minds.
Two, make it appear to these decision makers (as well as to a broader audience) that there is a growing base of support for your side of the issue with lower tier decision makers whose aggregate decisions will weigh a lot.
The way I see it, social media fills the second requirement and the whole underlying mechanics of “how” as well as “why” is something people in the know can figure out.
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