It is Public Property

Queen Elizabeth II opened a facebook account and soon it was flooded with abusive comments (Source). A similar thing happened more than once on the online properties (facebook and twitter) of Philippine President Benigno Aquino and his government.

Not surprising. Any person who has been involved with the on-line world would expect that. Anything you post or upload is fair game. It could be posted or published on a blog, a forum, a thread, on facebook, on twitter and any web page. It can be a word, sentence, number, photo, video, sound file or a fraction. It is fair game. Whether you like it or not you just published your thoughts or someone has published it for you.

A person, company, or government engaging the online world should realize this. As George Gordon Byron wrote, “An Author’s Word is Public Property”.

He further goes on to say that, “He who purchases may judge and publish his opinion if he pleases and the authors I have endeared to commemorate may do by me as I have done to them…”

Lord Byron wrote a book that lambasted several literary figures at that time. He published the book, wrote those words and promptly left for the holidays. One of those lovely holidays ended up with a challenge between himself and his friends Percy Shelly, Mary Shelly and Dr. Polidori to write a horror story. Mary Shelly of course ended up writing the Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus.

And speaking of Frankenstein’s Monster

It would seem every month … nay every week one sees a boo boo or faux pah omitted by popular personalities, companies and government when it comes to engaging the on-line world. Of course such mistakes do not happen to the big three alone but also to normal Internet Citizen or Netizens. it is just that NoyNoy Aquino or the latest PR nightmare of the Department of Tourism’s Pilipinas Kay Ganda Branding is more interesting than my friend’s branding of his pimple as a beauty mark- it is headline material. It is interesting and it sells the paper or in Internet terms it generates the hits.

Such things probably stem from any of the following: One, a naivete about the on-line and human nature work. Two, Pride in assuming knowing abour the on-line and human nature work. Three a problem in the organization where bureaucracies and groups-within-groups seem to be acting out rationale actions but in the scheme of things are not.


One, would be mistaking crowd sourcing and public relations of an idea or brand. Going back to the DOT and the Ganda Branding. It would have benefited if they consulted or widen the consultation regarding their re-branding. Getting input and testing the balloon at the same time before launching the brand and saying afterward that it is a work in progress is at best a face saving gesture and damage control. Another benefit of engaging and actually getting concerned shareholders of this industry would be getting support and advocate if the idea sells … if the idea sells.

Before you engaged in marketing or pr-crowd sourcing make sure that the brand or the product is good. One would expect this considering the expenses (public expense) involved in the launching of such brands that would be termed a work in progress.

Two, Like in the real world any company or even public persona it pays to have a spokesperson. One advantage is you get the message you want out. One strategy employed is to build an army. This is well and good but there should always be the spokesperson. Otherwise you would not be ablt to predict what a supporter mught say or do.

Three, Officials and representatives of person, companies and government should always bear in ming that even in the on-line world they represent the company, government and even person they are working for. Any action on-line goes back to your Master or Boss.

Four, Being to onion-skinned. In the Tagalog vernacular there is a saying “Ang Pikon Talo” or as the Chinese put it in a conversation the one who strikes first is the one who loses the argument. Officials and representatives who lose their cool without purpose poorly represents their company, organization or government … and themselves.

This does not mean of course kow-towing to each netizen or issue that comes along of course. Any representative should be able to judge the right balance or end up like the Greek Man with two wives, one wanted only his black hair because it made him look young and plucked it out and the other wanted only his white hair because it made him look dignified and plucked it out. The Greek Man with two wives ended up bald.

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