Social Media

“Twitter is over capacity”

As I write this, Twitter is acting up like a bunch of birds in a frenzied chirrup. Yes, it’s the title that you read, as well as the image in here that you see. Too many tweets, the complaint reads. It sure is a bandwidth problem. But I can’t imagine myself unable to tweet a thought that I’m raring to share with my friends. Or a tweet that I want to be timestamped to the “now” of an event that took place in my life.

Twitter is my documentation (history recording, if you may) tool just as it is my means of sharing ideas, joys and angst with my twitter friends. It’s also my tool to learn from them. So, please, God, don’t let Twitter to act up during my important moments. Bless the Twitter dev guyspeeps always.

Digg’s two cool features on commenting

Digg’s comment service rocks. I haven’t tried to comment on a dugg article for a long time. Today when I dugg a great article about FreeBSD 7.0, I observed two cool things about the commenting stuff:

  1. A spellchecker for one’s comment. Firefox already has spellcheck feature, which I don’t see in Flock, unfortunately. I’m not even sure if IE has that feature. In any case, Digg comes in for such valuable tool.
  2. A chance to edit one’s comment in two minutes. So even if you already submitted your comment with relative confidence, Digg assumes that second thoughts may come about.

Digg takes things professionally. And I admire it for that.

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Nuisance Strangers in Gaim

Everytime I open Pidgin (formerly Gaim, a powerful chat app for Linux), at least five IMs are opened coming from people I totally don’t know. I was a victim already of this kind of spam. Last year, I received an IM from my supposedly former office mate and pointed me to a site that allegedly contained her photos. I followed the link and redirected me to a different site (which I already forgot). I began to suspect. Perhaps I was hacked, I mean, my Yahoo account was. Friends I consulted said my Yahoo account would be hacked if I would not act immediately changing my Yahoo password. So I did change my password in the nick of time.

You see, that experience has taught me a lesson not to be too gullible in the virtual space or pay a dear price in real life.

Going back to the Pidgin thing. Today I received eight IMs with almost similar messages:

  1. Hey dungkal, remember me? i know its been awhile LOL, Hey i found this great dating site the other day check it out,[link to site].
  2. Hi,dungkal [garbled text]
  3. Hi, dungkal is this what you asked about the other day? [garbled text]
  4. Hi, dungkal Check out this site [garbled text]

I wonder if the garbled text is Pidgin’s way of parsing a suspicious link into an opaque version so that one wouldn’t be tempted to click it. Cool, then. Except that the first IM managed to escape that security check by Pidgin, if ever that check really exists.

So if you receive this kind of messages in your chat program, don’t be trusting enough to follow.

Superpoke, lotto, TV trivia: Getting by endless Facebook requests

If you’re on Facebook, the image you’re seeing must be familiar to you. I mean, if you’re hooked to Facebook like you’re using it to have fun with your friends, then, the image must look common to you.

That image is a snapshot of the requests I’ve gotten so far from several of my Facebook friends, most of which I dunno how to respond to, honestly. I’ve signed up with Facebook because I believe in its power to maintain contact with my friends through updates in our personal and professional lives. But to join lotto, answer TV show trivia, or accept a growing gift is beyond me at this point.

Is it my age (I’m 40 now), just my priorities, or the tedious process of accepting invites and then inviting others to an application or cause? I’m not closing doors, though. I’m taking it as a challenge. I guess Facebook will grow on me gradually. Perhaps, I should accept the “define-me” request so that I could know from my friends their views of me. Wet blanket? Old dog? Wallflower?

But I thought that FB is a simple networking site. It’s getting complicated with lots of notifications and requests from the growing number of my friends. I’m sure some of them (who also receive “unsolicited” requests from me, actually) feel the same way.

Nevertheless, I still consider FB as a great apps and content aggregating tool, a venue showcasing programmers’ talents, and a medium that facilitates exchange of pleasantries among friends, whether in groups or networks.

In the meantime, I think I’ll accept the “gift poke” invitation. It sounds interesting. And that “superpoke” thing sounds deadly, doesn’t it?

WikiPilipinas founder wants knowledge digitized for posterity’s sake

Geez, I almost forgot to make a report about my attendance in Wikipilipinas’ meet with Pinoy bloggers last August 31 at Marina Seafood Restaurant, Pasay City.

I need to blog about it before my learnings and thoughts from that event are brought into oblivion. I wish that I had a digital/mp3 recorder so that I could catch fine details of the wisdom of persons I am listening to. One such person was Gus Vibal, publisher of and founder of WikiPilipinas.

Before the meeting (or was it a merely a forum?) started at approximately 8pm, bloggers were first asked to indulge in the buffet-style dinner courtesy of WikiPilipinas. I’m no food epicurean (although I was a bit hungry when I arrived at the restaurant around 7pm), so I didn’t feel any thrill in the food as what other bloggers must have had. I was more interested to know more about the guy who received rants and raves for two bold undertakings, an online Filipiniana and a community-based online Philippine encyclopedia called WikiPilipinas. And I was fortunate to have been seated near him. He shook hands with me and upon learning about my blog (this blog), he said matter-of-factly that he read me write something about him. (Huh? I swear that I didn’t mention his name in my first post about Wikipilipinas. I should feel guilty about it, then.)

Inside the dim 20-sq. m. room enclosed by glass walls stood Vibal who started off with a great deal of information about himself. Unfortunately, I could only remember a few but important bits of it. He had studied, lived, and worked in New York. Perhaps inspired by the expertise of his father, Vibal was exposed to the world of publishing, not the traditional but the digital one. He narrated that once he was employed by a digital publishing firm that tasked him to produce CDROM-based computer books at 2,000 CDs per year. If I’m not mistaken, that triggered his propensity for collecting and digitizing published or unpublished works, particularly those of the remote past, which are likely to become extinct and totally forgotten come the next generations. His is a combination of the passion of archeologists and historiographers.

Instead of pursuing his real estate business, Vibal chose to come back to the Philippines and found in September last year and then, barely a year later today, He said that even his father and his colleagues at Vibal Publishing House did not make out what he was talking about. They wondered what business model the young Vibal was following. Then was the time when he told them that one can actually earn much for things he/she gives out for free. Talking about Google.

Vibal became more popular for the latter project than the former. Credit that to the press, who tried to relate his undertakings to the controversy that embroiled the Vibals to the errors-ridden public textbooks, as well as bloggers and Wikipedians who made public their divergent views about the effort.

Perhaps in his 40s (sorry Gus, if I’m mistaken), the man honestly sounded like a know-it-all to me at first. But as soon as I listened to him until the end of his talk, I thought that his cogency and wisdom were enough to convince me of his noble intention with his endeavors. He was talking about things that only ICT enthusiasts and activists would know: open content, the long tail, free software, collaboration, etc. But more than that, Vibal was able to infuse publishing matters into the digital world, or the other way around. He found a “spiritual brother” in me, to use his term.

I think that he was able to inspire the bloggers that night. “Publish or perish. One who writes controls the point of view,” he said in his presentation. And that explains why he has put up Wikipilipinas. He wants an online knowledge-base that Filipinos use and contribute to at the same time. He doesn’t want it to look and sound like an academic encyclopedia; he wants it “hip and free.”

Like I already said, I began to realize the importance of his efforts at Wikipilipinas. His capable team seems to enjoy the work. And they should be much more inspired because more and more people rave about it, come to the site, and contribute.

However, I still think that Wikipilipinas, although trying to be a different fruit (apple or orange?), has just created a competition with Wikipedia and other collaborative projects there are. And I wonder how both entities have agreed on unnecessary duplication, much less confusing currency, of information that both publish.

In the meantime, count me in, as being one of those who wish the hip-and-free encyclopedia the success it deserves. To support both “wikips”, I’ll treat them differently. If the information I want is related to the Philippines, I’ll go to WikiPilipinas (chances are, the information are culled from Wikipedia). If I’m not satisfied with the information, I’ll try to consult Wikipedia and see how I can help “synchronize” the two. Otherwise, Wikipedia is my friend for most stuff I’d like to know more about.

I’ll register with Wikipilipinas and try to help develop content in my own capacity. And, oh, who is that lady Mindy who blogs for Wikipilipinas? Is there a real person behind the beauteous avatar? I’d like to know.

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Can you live without Twitter? I can’t

I’ve committed to myself that I’ll twit (a task that means posting an update about what you’re doing or thing as of the moment) at least once a day.

Twitter, that online tool for “presence updates”, has changed the meaning of social networking in terms of providing a handy way for your friends to get to “follow” you. Is there a difficult task that drives you crazy? Post it and your co-twitters’ unsolicited advice might help. Do you have a loved one that is being hospitalized, under a critical stage? Twit about it and your friends will offer their prayers at the very least.

But let me go back to what I said earlier. Twitter has been my indispensable diary tool since I started using it in the middle of the year. But you wonder, how do I do that? I maintain a blog site called Dungkal Daily that runs under the WordPress platform. I installed a plug-in called “Twitter Tools“, which is developed by Alex King. With the app, daily posts containing my twits for a day are automatically created and published on the blog. So, there. With the blog containing a daily collection of my twits, I can look in it for important stuff that happened to me.

Just tonight, I tried to visit my site only to know that it is being upgraded. My stock reaction was “Common, I need to twit at this moment.” But taking a closer look at the “maintenance” page, I thought that is up to some things big. I just wish that the upgrade takes the following into consideration:

  • URLs are not made part of the 140-character limit.
  • One can assign tags to each update.
  • One can create channels like what Jaiku fans can do.
  • One can select people who can read his/her particular twit.
  • One can make brewed coffee out of Twitter 😀

Twitter has become an important tool in my life’s journey that I can’t live without it. So “some catz” really have to do their maintenance job really well.

Promoting Wikipilipinas: First the press, then the bloggers

I got an invite yesterday from Press Inc. to an event called Wikipilipinas Pinoy Bloggers Dinner, to be held on 31 August at Marina Seafood Restaurant in Pasay City. Quite far from home. That was my initial reaction to the invite. Honestly, I vacillated whether to come or not. It was not only the distance from my place, but also the purpose of the event that is beyond my current priorities. I’m a blogger but I’d like to keep a low-key profile when it comes to showing myself in public. (I’m not a shy type, though.)

The invite says:

Join the celebration and get a chance to:

Win a special-edition red iPod NANO and other special commemorative freebies and Hip ‘N Free User’s Manual to WikiPilipinas

Get a special behind-the-scenes look inside the Philippine Knowledge Revolution! Get a one-on-one with Gus Vibal and his WikiPinoy team on the secrets behind the fastest-growing Internet portal in Philippine history.

* Know more about Project WikiPilipinas
* Learn about the long tail and how it helps propel your blog
* Understand copyleft and its implication in a knowledge company
* Bone up on Internet buzz word
* Get an exclusive interview with Gus and the WikiPinoy team

Learn why Bloggers and WikiPilipinas go together–understand the special synergy of open-source collaborative projects of your blog.

Help propel WikiPilipinas and we’ll help propel your blog!

I understand that the dinner is a marketing effort by Wikipilipinas. Fresh from its success in coming out to the press, its next stop: Pinoy bloggers. Speaking of the SEO.

For out of curiosity as to what will happen at the dinner, I accepted the invite. It is also cool to meet with fellow bloggers and the WikiPinoy team. It might finally convince me that Wikipilipinas is a relevant undertaking where online, collaborative knowledge creation and access to knowledge are concerned.

Who knows, I might win that cool red iPod.

Wikipilipinas: From a Wikipedia subset to one-stop hub on RP

When I first heard of Wikipilipinas as a Philippines-specific Wikipedia, my stock reaction was: Why the need? Why the fork? And I don’t know whether that approximates that of my techie friend: “He he he.” Perhaps he found the name either cute or corny.

I was further disappointed when I tried to compare Wikipilipinas’ entry from that of Wikipedia on the subjects of the “Philippines”, “Philippine Presidents”, and “Hello Garci Scandal”. They’re almost the same. Plain copy-and-paste tech, I would describe it. Isn’t it a waste of time copying exactly from other sources, no matter how noble the intention is? And isn’t it a waste of time for researchers/visitors as well trying to make out the differences or nuances between the apparently similar texts? Wikipedian and blogger Eugene Villar simply dismissed it as counter-productive.

I gave Wikipilipinas a benefit of the doubt by visiting its site, particularly its policies and overall “table of contents.” The policy side is not yet well-polished. For example, when I clicked on the link “Wikipilipinas differs from Wikipedia in some very important ways”, I was pointed to a text entitled “Editorial and Content Policies” which seemed to claim that two of its policies are unique to it, suggesting that Wikipedia does not have those policies at all.

So what differs Wikipilipinas from Wikipedia, despite their common software platform and content licensing scheme?

  1. Wikipilipinas claims that there is no “neutral” point of view. It “encourages balanced presentation, but not a neutral point of view.” Wikipedia believes that neutrality is achieved when writers and editors “explain disputes” not engage in them. (Does this mean that Wikipilipinas will entertain disputes so long as they are “properly” handled?)
  2. Wikipilipinas welcomes content based on original research, so long as it is supported by facts.
  3. Wikipilipinas is not an academic encyclopedia. It also incorporates other types of references like “Who’s Who” and Philippine almanac.

Content-wise, Wikipilipinas’s main page for Philippine topics appears to be tidier than that of Wikipedia’s category page. Likewise, there may be topics either not yet discussed or underdeveloped in Wikipedia that Wikipilipinas more comprehensively or contextually tackles. Compare Wikipedia’s List of Filipino Traditional Games to Wikipilipinas’ “Filipino Traditional Games.”

One unstated principle of Wikipilipinas would be the view that Filipinos and Filipinas (or the Filipinized ones?) know better. And since the primary intended audience are Filipinos and ethno-cultural groups in the Philippines, Filipinos and Filipinas would have the appropriate tact in gathering information and delivering them to the readers using localized language.

Wikipilipinas is a welcome idea. But I can’t say whether its time has come. I can’t even guess if at least some Pinoy wikipedians problematize whether they would stop writing or ‘developing content’ for Wikipedia and devote their energies on Wikipilipinas instead. And I learned from news that the site would soon monetize the hits by placing ads on the site’s pages.

And there you go. When that “monetization” of Wikipilipinas happens, that will be the fourth “important way” to distinguish it from the online encyclopedia that knowledge workers have loved since six years ago. And the question remains: Will Wikipilipinas catch up or achieve the long tail that it aims?

Danger of social networking: Friends lots but identity lost

Anti-virus firm Sophos has advised social networking buffs against entrusting their personal information to ‘strangers’. It arrived at this advisory after its testing Facebook. Using a test Facebook account, which was used to invite 200 Facebook members to be its friends,  the responses revealed that “41 percent of users — more than two in five — will divulge personal information, such as email address, date of birth and phone number, to a complete stranger, thus greatly increasing their susceptibility to identity theft.”

I was surprised by this research report. I thought that social networkers have become mature enough to choose their friends, given the threat of identity theft. It would be more interesting had the report provided a profile analysis of those who revealed their personal details: Were they largely young or old? Were they women or men? Were they from the rich countries or not?

I guess that the unnecessary openness of some social networkers was due to the mindset that having a lot of online friends indicates a high level of likability or sociability. Somehow, social networking sites, being the number one example, have established the implicit race wherein one who has the highest number of online friends wins.

Perhaps, from the point of view of cause advocates, the implicit race applies but with a more noble, much less political, intention–gaining more allies to a cause.

But whatever one’s purpose on social networking is, the point is for him or her to be extra careful against identity theft. For instead of gaining friends or allies, s/he will lose more of him/herself. Unless s/he wants a friend she’s willing to lose her/his identity to. But that’s another story.

Use of social media in advocacy work

For what use are social media as far as the non-profit community is concerned?

  • Blogs and networking with (fellow) bloggers virally market one’s advocacy issues. The same with social bookmarks such as and
  • Social networking sites are potential means to propagate one’s issues and galvanize actions from there. One maximizes his/her community of friends, work colleagues and loved ones as propagators of his/her issues.
  • Artists with a cause have their own chances to get heard through media sharing sites such as YouTube,, and Podcasting is one sure way for artists to showcase their advocacy products.
  • Advocacy work also requires links with the target communities which make social media a perfect tool. The more user-friendly the web sites are, the higher chance for the online advocacy to become successful.

In what ways social media may be maximized for one’s advocacies?

  • Network with (fellow) bloggers by commenting to their blog posts, providing trackbacks, and subscribing to their blog through rss (web content feed).
  • Sign up with social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook and create a group or two about your cause.
  • Maximize your current social networks by creating a group or so and invite your friends/contacts to that group.
  • Create and utilize other types of media like videos, mp3s and photos in your advocacy work.
  • Raise chats to the higher level. Use them as a way to nurture relationships with your present and potential allies.
  • In designing your site:
    • choose a platform that provides rss service.
    • make effective use of tags.
    • use cause-related keywords in your meta and header tags.
  • Use a signature that provides links to your advocacy sites.

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