The news media came out with a pooled editorial where Blog Watch is also a signatory and wished “the incoming administration success in all its endeavors. As journalists and as citizens, we commit not only to do journalism right and better, but also to uphold and defend free speech, free press, free expression, and the people’s right to know.”
What about social media? Let’s start how social media engagement has been under the Aquino administration
Social media off to a good start under President Aquino
Six years ago , when Blog Watch to the President’s inauguration at the Luneta Grandstand and Malacanang Palace, I was quite hopeful with this development. Before this June 30 presidential inauguration, all past Philippine inaugurations were covered solely by traditional media. What now appeared to be a blogging first, if not globally, at least within the Philippine , is that Blog Watch’s accreditation marked the first time that a blogger group is actually allowed, , to cover a presidential inauguration from start to finish.
Six years ago , when Blog Watch got invited to the President’s inauguration at the Luneta Grandstand and Malacanang Palace, I was quite hopeful with this development. Before this June 30 presidential inauguration, all past Philippine inaugurations were covered solely by traditional media. What now appeared to be a blogging first, if not globally, at least within the Philippine blogosphere, is that Blog Watch’s accreditation marked the first time that a blogger group is actually allowed, officially, to cover a presidential inauguration from start to finish.
Jane Uymatiao added that it “signals a paradigm shift and acknowledges the growing role that bloggers can play in good governance and reportage. Second, it reinforces my own hope that the incoming administration is walking the talk about transparency and openness. After all, bloggers potentially would have diverse opinions on different issues and the Aquino administration has all the opportunity to listen to a group of citizens (young and wise in years) who will call it as they see it.”
Social media engagement after the Aquino Inaugural
Since the June 30 inaugural and our interview with then Presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino in February 2010, attempts to communicate and engage directly with the President was often met with silence. I got a reply once but I was told the President was busy. This came shortly after he was accused of “noynoying”. Proposals to initiate a twitter town hall meeting and a yearly coffee chat never got a reply.
We got invites to attend the some Palace events until 2013 and even got to meet Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma in August 2014 . There was a short meeting with Communications Secretary Manolo Quezon to discuss social media during disasters. All of these encounters were brief without follow-ups. In fairness to the Communications office, the @PCDSPO (Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office) on twitter occasionally replied to our queries and even coordinated with some of us during disasters. We are also a witness to the rise of government agencies engaging in social media such as the @MMDA, @OmbudsmanPH, @DPWHph and even the spokespersons like Manolo Quezon (@mlq3) and Abi Valte. But there was no clear communication lines.
Social media under President Duterte
On June 12, 2016, I received a message from Presidential Communication Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar, that he is “looking at opening the malacanang press office to credible bloggers” and if I could bring a few bloggers to exploratory talks. This is an interesting development. Aside from possible accreditation, I looked forward to his major plans and discussion of our ideas.
We will discuss more in the following weeks . Right now, plans are monthly discussion with the Communications secretary. There are many things to consider if bloggers and social media will play a more relevant role compared to the Aquino administration. As more Filipinos join social networks, the expectation has increased for government engagement across a variety of web-based, social platforms. It is now a question of HOW our government is using social media by keeping in touch with the trends of government communications applicable in the Philippine setting. The government has to build a two-way communication process through its social media accounts by:
- responding in a “human being” scale of time
- putting information where people are looking
- constantly seeking meaningful feedback
- delivering services when and how they are needed
- acting like it is operated by a human being .
Social Media Day adapts the theme #TayoPH
The power of social media lies in the virtual and real life connection. As the netizens celebrate Social Media day today, let me just remind our government to focus on how to be social, not on how to do social. The government can consider the trends for 2016 like improving the citizen experience .
“In light of the recent negativity that has flooded our newsfeeds these past months, Social Media Day adapts the theme #TayoPH, which stands as a virtual call to action and a celebration of how social media has become a potent tool that can bridge, give a voice and empower. It is a clarion call to stand together as a people. To rebuild, reconnect, reboot, refriend. It’s time to make the conversation positive and productive again. To celebrate social media’s triumphs and recall its potential — harnessing social media’s strengths in bringing people together, in crossing boundaries, and merging divides.”
Rising expectations and an increasingly mobile population make it challenging to reach and engage the Filipino netizens. That’s why a citizen-centric digital engagement strategy is vital to helping government organizations connect with its audience, provide critical information and services, and improve the lives of Filipino citizens. Social media will play a big role in the Duterte administration as we continue to remain vigilant.
Stock Photos from Blog Watch. Some rights reserved.