Aftershock and Fall-out in the Pinoy Social Media World

The Tragic and Bloody End of the hostage crisis as the Elpidio Quirino Grandstand has left a fall-out that has blackened the reputation of the Philippine Government, the Manila Police, The manila Government and Media. It has and will probably be the topic of talk for some time. How about in the the Social Media ecosystem how has it panned out?


During the crisis Social Network Sites have been as aggressive as media in promoting the news and talk. Wave after wave of messages can be seen in Twitter, Face Book and Plurk ( the other sibling of Twitter. It was a mix of reportage and comments often as a result of things seen on tv or seen live – although this time it would seem more on what was heard and seen on radio and tv was being tweeted and re-tweeted. In a sense you did not need to watch TV to know what was happening a read of twitter updated you on what was happening.

Truly, a more tech savvy hostage talker could have been as well updated if he had a smart phone since what was seen and heard on TV and radio was being relayed again blow by blow. Something netizens would think about when a crisis like this happens. I mean it is quite useful during natural disasters or tragedy but during a hostage taking or war … well it is something to think about.

Topic of Conversation: Would You?

As my friend and I talked about it yesterday – assuming there was a failure of control by the government if you were the media organization there would you cover and air libe the sensitive information? Specially if there were hostages? And what if they were your family? If it were your daughter or son inside would you do it?

One need not have to contribute to the wave upon wave of comments and statements. It was all there the news, the reactions and the rumors. One could sense the frustration and anger of those watching the events unfold. Hostages to this hostage drama. Hostage to the coverage. Reacting to every bit of news that comes in.

I observed mostly Twitter and the Plurk community. And things were heating up like a soup that had gone past boiling point. Plurk was of course more emotional since the posts there were potential threads and conversation can be easily achieved.

Then it happened, the tragedy and one could feel the anger, apprehension and depression the tragic ending caused. This was soon followed by angry questions and comments – like where was the President and why did certain media groups decided to air a sensitive video that was one of the factors that led to the hostage going amok – this was later verified by the bus driver.

The President and media organizations who established presence in social network sites began to feel the collective pinch of social media citizens. The President’s facebook page was filled with negative comments. So far the Presdient through his online team has decided to bear it out and answer if only warranted and through statements and press conferences.

On the other hand…

Media personalities were asked and their answers commented on by an angry and frustrated members of the Social Network Sites.

And the issue of media and the crisis began to become a national issue. Brought about by the statement of President Aquino regarding the crisis and media’s role; the increasing analysis from abroad about how things went wrong; and the increasing negative reaction from the social network sites.

Two interesting reactions came from media. One (I) was seen in the coverage and news program featuring independent experts giving there opinion about how media dealt with the crisis and the other (II) was involving in the discussion – which often times can get spirited and may lead to several paths and conclusions – not usually putting the object of criticism in a positive light.

This has been made possible because a lot of the members of media have become citizens of social media sites. And this puts them in a quandry in a social network do you represent yourself or do you also represent the company you are working for. And if you represent the company you are working for are you equip and authorized to speak for your company? Do you weaken or strengthen your case? Does your answer only provoke more negative reaction? Are you a help or a bane?

Welcome to the social media jungle. And one can be trapped in a never ending debate over what action should one take in a crisis or who was the best James Bond. Or you can simply mute, un-follow, hide a post or a person or just click the log off button.

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