You’d think Malacanang’s mighty “Communications Group” would spill forth and slug it out with little bloggers like us for logical and memetic supremacy over this Carmen “Mai” Mislang “wine sucks” circus and tilt perceptions over that and earlier gaffes in Malacanang’s favour with the swing of a Facebook or Twitter broadsword. Stalwarts like MLQ3, Carandang, and other characters who supposedly cut their teeth in the blogosphere and in Mainstream Media are now under the Malacanang payroll and in control of awesome budgets relative to the mere sweat and brains non-Establishment media practitioners like us bring to bear in this exercise.
But what are they doing now? Instead of coming out to meet our challenges and heckles with guns blazing and war hammers swinging, they have now withdrawn back behind Malacanang’s gates, clammed up and (in the case of Mislang), dropped their proverbial weapons (e.g. Mislang has since been divested of her Twitter and Facebook accounts) while tucking their tails between their legs.
Ang hina naman pala ng Social Media army ng Malacanang.
Seriously, this “Communications Group” have missed the whole point of “social media”.
The “Social Media” landscape is a battlefield. And the prize of this battle being fought on said field is the hearts and minds of those who inhabit this virtual social network.
The trouble is, the stodgy leaders of the Establishment to which oversight of “social media” was entrusted by Malacanang do not see their domain as a battlefield nor their mission as a battle.
Perhaps, to be fair, there are other things that have been “achieved” or more serious issues highlighted as Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III went about his presidenteering over the last several months of his administration. But there is an irony in all this sad cowering behind a smokescreen of “Other News” being put up by Big Media that escapes our “Communications Group”. If we recall, it was these same people who, during Noynoy’s campaign early this year, went out and used these same technology tools to steamroller over relevant and pertinent national issues that were begging to be addressed in said campaign.
So effective was the Yellow Army’s appeal to emo politics and their boss’s pedigree platform campaign that Noynoy now sits in Malacanang on a “mandate” described as the biggest in Philippine history. All that was achieved without the slightest hint of a vision for the Philippines of 2016, nor a plan to get us there.
So hats off to the men and women who would go on to form what is now known as Malacanang’s bloated “Communications Group”. You guys pulled off an impressive feat of mass persuasion in this year’s presidential campaign that will be the subject of study by an entire generation of aspiring conmen.
Given that monumental achievement on the back of the power of “Social Media”, one wonders now where that mojo has gone? Where is the challenge? One of their leutenants’ heads had just been shot off by a sniper who picked up what was supposed to be an innocent Tweet on her opinion of the finer qualities of Vietnamese vintages. Where is the return fire?
Funny now how the relevant issues that the Noynoy campaign buried are now being used in quaint desperation to bury what, in the outset, could have been a trivial gaffe on Mislang’s part. But can we blame the public sentiment? An administration marked by gaffes has all but primed the public to be on the alert for precisely such gaffes. That’s a difficult beast of momentum to tame. It seems now that Noynoy’s spin squad had been too successful during the campaign at diverting the public’s attention from the relevant issues, the right arguments, and the important things, that the effect of this success is now coming back to plow through them as a back-swing-with-a-vengeance.
You need an army of real social media warriors to arrest that momentum and re-calibrate the public consciousness. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the heads of this “Communications Group” are ready to lock-and-load and return fire on those of us who are making an amusing hobby of taking potshots at them.