Tag Archives: Internet

5 things I learned from doing this blog

Like what I’ve said in my first entry, I’m no first-time blogger. Naturally, I would already have the hang of this in no time. Boy was I wrong. This time, blogging felt like some forgotten talent, a skill that has gone unused for quite some time (much like solving algebraic equations). As an appropriate 15th blog post, I would like to share the difficulties that I have faced in keeping Comm de Garçon up and running.

  1. Picking a topic is about as easy as licking your own elbow. Knowing what to write about is obviously my biggest challenge. Given that I am not an expert in communication (at least not yet), analyzing trends and writing about their implications on how organizations should function is no walk in the park. A lot of big news happened over the course of my first entry to this one and yet I did not go beyond my comfort zone to write about them, which brings you to my second learning…
  2. When in doubt, stick to your guns. Like I’ve said, it’s hard talking about something that I have absolutely no knowledge about. This doesn’t mean that I’m uninformed about current events though. I just felt that I won’t be able to verbalize them to the best of my ability. It’s childish how I deal with my personal insecurities but then again I do not want to pretend that I know everything. I’d rather do a boring post about something that I am truly interested in (I’m pretty sure my peers are tired of seeing me write about fashion) rather than write a pretentious entry about a recent event just for the sake of doing timely social commentary.
  3. Typing the entry is only half the work. I’m pretty sure that a lot of people type their entries on some word processor and then copying and pasting it here on WordPress. That’s the easiest way of actually putting out a post. However, since part of opening your blog to the public means being able to engage them for more than five minutes or so (just enough to get them through an entry or two), putting supporting media is necessary. Formatting it to fit the post certainly feels like a chore that one would rather not do (like washing the dishes for instance). Adding content (photos, videos, etc.) that would grab their interest involves searching for that material, choosing the one with the best quality, and then uploading it to some external host website. This is precisely why each blog post would take me at least an hour to make. Thirty minutes if inspiration strikes.
  4. Proofread, proofread, proofread! I am a self-confessed grammar Nazi so you could just imagine my horror if I spot a grammatical error or a misspelled word in my entries. Sometimes things just sound better in my head or when I say them out loud. That being said, I tend to forget that translating something that is orally acceptable into a written piece of work requires much reviewing and rephrasing. My ideas don’t always come out as how I heard them in my thoughts which is why I’m apologizing right now for any “What the hell did he just say?” entries.
  5. Dig a little deeper and you just might find oil. Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically. I’ve learned that one must not take everything in its face value. There’s so many implications, so many subtexts behind every situation. With that, I really need to give more time in assessing all the events that happened during the duration of this semester. I know very well that I missed out on a lot of good potential entries but you know how writer’s block can be.

Many of my peers have said that blogging can be a total drag unless you put your mind to it and I admit that with this blog, I didn’t exactly use up all my critical thinking capacity for it. Regardless, it was fun having to put my OrCom hat on and act like I know a thing or two about stuff. I still have a lot to learn  and discover, and just because this is technically my last required entry doesn’t mean I’ll stop posting here. For now, I just need a little breather before I can write about anything again.

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Oh shit my dad says

It is undeniable that identity theft is a persistent problem that one could face these days if one uses the internet. Transactions made online almost always require some form of exchange of personal information. Granted that with the advent of technology, criminals, too, have evolved in terms of their modus operandi and have learned to use the internet to wreak havoc to innocent internet users’ lives. This makes one think: “Am I really safe anywhere?” Sadly, all signs seem to point to “No.” Crime is something that we have to painfully accept and live with. The constant dark shadow that it casts on society may be hard to avoid but the least that we can do now is know how not to get victimized. These low-lives may have gotten smarter, but we should be able to be a few steps ahead.

Better safe than sorry

Better safe than sorry

Recently my dad and I had this little chat regarding internet safety. It came as a surprise to me that he brought this up because I know that I’m very particular about my privacy, especially when it comes to cyberspace (read: my complex Facebook security settings). I’m aware of the risks involved when putting out personal information over the web for everyone to see, and that whenever the need to post arises, my moves are calculated so as any missteps can be avoided. My dad’s suggestions, albeit tinged with paranoia (you know how parents are) are actually quite helpful.

  1. Be a little fake. Many sign-up or registration forms on the internet ask people to supply information that is usually reserved for public (as in those registered in the government’s archives) documents. Knowing that the person on the receiving end of these info has the liberty of using these at his or her disposal, it is advisable not to divulge everything in excruciating detail. Perhaps one could provide a fake birthdate, address, or whathaveyou. Dad actually uses “Clark Kent” as his alias when he makes transactions. Now, I do not follow this tip myself but then again I can see where Dad is coming from. After all, he’s had several experiences where his identity was almost stolen… and none of thesemade use of the net. Just imagine if that happened. The possible consequences are endless.
  2. Hold off the vanity. Now, this is obviously a rule that I do not abide by. I think my 50+ photo albums on Facebook are a testament to this. I just don’t want to seem like a faceless creep. Dad uses this GIF photo of Sylvester the Cat with opening and closing eyelids as his display photo in social networking sites and forums. Since PR is my calling, I don’t think being secretive of your face would make people want to trust you. Anyway, if you insist on posting photos , make sure these are the kind that will haunt once they are unearthed several years from now. I’m pretty sure you had a blast chugging down a bottle of vodka and are proud of the supporting photos that you were tagged in to prove it, but in a few years time, it won’t be a laughing matter if someone tries to blackmail you with them.
  3. Use a dummy, dummy! Dad says it’s important to keep a couple or so email addresses for different uses. One should be used for official purposes while the rest can be for anything (i.e. online shopping, social networking, forums, porn, etc.). In Dad’s case, he has three: one for the office, one for personal correspondence, and one as a dummy account with “Clark Kent” as the registered owner of the account. I have at least ten emails but a majority of them I have lost their passwords to. Don’t tell my dad though.

Sure enough, Dad really knows his way around the internet as well as keeping his private information… well… private. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. I wish I could say the same for me. My life is such an open book that if it were an actual, tangible reading material, the spine would be nearly torn in half. But hey, I’m young, I’m smart, and I’m certainly not as dumb as my dad thinks… or maybe that’s my immortality complex talking. Whatever the case, if you wish to be safe, DO NOT FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE!


She’s everywhere

On September 4, 2010, my org, the Junior Marketing Association – University of the Philippines Manila (JMAUPM), held a seminar on various online marketing strategies. The guest speakers for the afternoon were Zack Bulatao of CreatiVoices, freelancer Tricia Gosingtian, Camille Co of Coexist, and Beam Mariano of Artwine. Each of them shared their experiences as well as tips on how to market one’s brand. Miss Gosingtian in particular elicited much excitement and anticipation from the audience as she is the most prominent figure among the four.

JMAUPM EBOG and BOG with Tricia Gosingtian (Photo by Tricia Gosintian)

JMAUPM EBOG and BOG with Tricia Gosingtian (Photo by Tricia Gosingtian)

Tricia, despite the fact that she is not involved with any particular company unlike the other speakers, is arguably better-known because of her internet popularity. Since she uses a plethora of platforms to promote “Tricia Gosingtian, Inc.”, it is really no surprise that most of the audience members know her or have at least heard about her. It is her knack for for projecting such an appealing public persona that made her a fixture in the Philippine social scene and blogosphere.

Surprisingly though, Tricia shared that her celebrity status came by accident and insisted that she did not expect this kind of attention from people. She said that her so-called success stemmed from her “hobby of being self-centered” and everything else snowballed from that. What began as her simple outlet for her creativity (she is a professional photographer after all) has catapulted her to internet fame, so much so that she has approximately 19,000 followers on Tumblr (it is is ranked second in Topblogs.com.ph in the Fashion and Beauty category), 13,000 likes on Facebook, 9,000 followers on Twitter, and and 5,000 fans on LOOKBOOK.nu. She’s also in YouTube, deviantART, Flickr, Chictopia, and has her own food blog. One might ask how does a typical 20-year-old girl achieve this kind of feat (in less than two years’ time, mind you)? Her secret is remarkably simple: by being everywhere.

Tricia’s meteoric rise to the cyber-stratosphere is a well-thought-of and carefully-orchestrated effort on her part. By capitalizing on her initial popularity on Tumblr, she was able to redirect her readers to other web platforms in which she is also using. It is a product of a domino effect of sorts. When people see different links, especially to social networking sites, on her blog, the tendency is for them to click on them and eventually follow, like, or become a fan of her account on that site.

Organizations and brands can learn a thing or two from Tricia’s marketing strategy, specifically in tapping online communities and promoting online. In order to achieve online visibility, one must learn how to catch the attention of one’s target audience or primary stakeholders and have them tuning in for more. In Tricia’s case, she gave people something nice to look at in the form of her well-taken photographs and her insights on fashion. Brands should be able to captivate their target market by providing content that is both relevant to their cause and in line with the interests of their audience. Some actually commit the very common mistake of relying solely on the existence of a Facebook fan page in the belief that the mere presence of such would already suffice for visibility effort. In order to establish oneself in the internet, consistency and more importantly, active participation (responsiveness) of the brand is necessary to effectively achieve their cause.

Certainly, successful online marketing does not stop at existence for existence’s sake. To be a front-runner on the realm of internet promotions means that one should grab every opportunity (seize whatever popular web platform at the time) for marketing oneself. Only through that could one reach popularity of Tricia Gosingtian levels.


Social media geography

We all know how much new social media has pretty much changed the way how we view the world. Before its advent, everyone seemed so far away, so disconnected. We were all limited to our relatively small networks. “Networking” seemed to be something a privilege that only the truly personable (or those who work in Public Relations) enjoy. Ever since social networking sites (SNS) took flight, everyone was given the chance to connect with people and the best part was that it’s free.

During the early years leading to the social media boom of today, there weren’t a lot of things to do: just plain blogging and social networking per se. Nowadays you have a plethora of choices ranging from video-blogging to micro-blogging, from SNS catering to professionals to SNS catering to consenting adults (you know what I mean by this). There’s really something for everyone. Given that, competition between like web services only made the reach of social media even more vast. In effect, there’s more than one site offering the same kind of service.

The 2010 Social Networking Map

The 2010 Social Networking Map

Just like how the world today churned out superpowers like the USA and the UK, the digital realm also has website equivalents who lead the pack. But unlike the global political landscape, the number of users of a particular social media site is directly proportional to the power that it wields on society as a whole. In fact, if we were to create an alternate map of the world according to the number of users of such websites, we’d find Facebook as the most populated with Habbo and Twitter coming in second and third respectively. It’s also interesting to note that there are some sites which have somehow lost their power in maintaining their netizens within their borders (yes, exoduses do happen and is best exemplified by the emigration from Friendster and MySpace over to Facebook). We can also see from the map some sites which are slowly gaining some foothold in the global social media environment. It won’t be long when they will eventually surpass existing SNS giants. Who knows how long the golden age of Facebook will last. We, the netizens, dictate what’s hot and what’s not, after all.

It’s amazing how many people are already wired but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Not everyone has access to the internet and thus what this represents is only a fraction of the entire human population. Just imagine how much bigger these redefined continents would be should everyone pick their social media ponies. An interesting paradox, however, is that no matter how big those continents could get, the power of the internet can make it feel just the opposite.


When plain old marketing just won’t cut it anymore…

It seems that relying solely on deep-seated customer loyalty will no longer guarantee the much-anticipated profit turnout. To survive in the cutthroat world of business, one must possess not only a thick leathery hide for criticism but also a very much good sense of the global economy. It is undeniable that the global financial crisis of 2007 has left a lot of casual casualties (in terms of businesses) in its wake and the ill effects of the initial downturn spiral of the world’s finances are still being felt today albeit some period of recovery. Even publicly listed industry juggernauts felt the pressure of cutting back spending and rethinking their already-laid-out strategies in keeping their target markets buying their wares. Such is the case of  certain luxury fashion houses.

Fashion used to be a bit of a technophobic industry. Kaiser Karl [Lagerfeld] himself admitted to being a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to using the internet, saying: “I don’t use a computer; I do research with my brain, And if I want or need to — I get people to do it for me.” Fashion (and celebrity blog) darling Marc Jacobs on the other hand has developed a rather steady relationship with the internet, being an avid commenter on blogs. Designers Nicolas Ghesquiere and Miuccia Prada, however, both are clueless in terms of using the internet.

Prada official website

Prada official website

Prada US online store

Prada US online store

Nowadays, more high-end brands are embracing the internet and if I’m not mistaken have made it into their new marketplace of sorts. Since the tangible markets (read: boutiques) are losing their potency in generating customer interest in brands, labels are now tapping the new democratic (if I do say so myself) medium which is social media. Of course, online shopping is not exactly a brand-spanking-new phenomenon, but it is only now that these fashion giants learn to utilize it (or rather milk it of its potential in raking in customers old and new). Of course, this will not replace the joy of actually going to a store and trying on clothes but it certainly helps in ensuring patrons of easy accessibility to their products. It must be effective since a lot of labels have already begun selling online or have plans to do so in the near future — Jimmy Choo, Hugo Boss, Lancôme, St. John, Theory, Donna Karan, La Perla, among others. Prada, most notably, launched their US online store last June 30th.

The implication here to corporate strategists is to be very receptive the changing needs and interests of the publics whom they serve. Rethinking a company’s marketing and communication strategies can certainly mean a lot especially with the volatile condition of the world’s economy. This goes very much hand-in-hand with one of our lectures in class wherein company websites are proving to be a very profitable venture that brands can rely on in promoting themselves. One simply cannot adhere to very rigid and traditional marketing styles. Like haute couture, one must try to customize their strategy according to the business environment. After all, the worst thing to happen if you’re in the fashion industry is to be out of style, both technologically and sartorially.