Friday, September 10, 2010

Good read: How Facebook redefined what we consider 'news'?

I've recently stumbled into a course syllabus on social media for journalists from the Columbia School of Journalism from Vadim Lavrusik's twitter feed.

From that long list, which I have yet to review, I recently read an article from Harvard's Nieman foundation on how Facebook had redefined what we consider as news. The article mentions:
Zuckerberg (Facebook's founder)... realized that Facebook wasn’t a tool for keeping track of news made somewhere else. It was a tool for making news right there, on Facebook.
And indeed it has been. All the status updates, relationship status, likes, dislikes, birthdays, events, which prior to Facebook's existence were treated as common information, has been later transformed into news available on your very limited network (aka your Facebook contacts).

Facebook had introduced us to news in a very local level, much like having your own media organisation, and through the system of subscriptions, likes and feeds, it redefined how we work on a social network - transforming it from a mere collection of  profile pages into an actual source of information.

Okay, I agree that facebook redefined what news now is - even someone putting as status message 'I'm eating a burger - in the era of facebook can be "news". But indeed, what makes something news doesn't necessary imply that it is newsworthy. And I think that has always been the role of media - to filter 'news' and come up with an outcome that will be deemed newsworthy.  And facebook's feed, despite the attempt to filter through the news-feed algorithm, has still a long way to go. And the filtering function is often limited - only allowing source filtering - (aka hiding your contacts) and I feel lacks filtering by topic (for example, I want to hide any updates with Justin Bieber).

But despite that, credit still goes to facebook - and indeed it revolutionised what we deem as news. But what we need now is a better news filtering system.

What do you think of Facebook? Did it really redefined what we consider as news? In which way? Comment!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

5 things to do in Manila shopping malls for travellers

This is a cross-post of my contributed article at

Metro Manila, Philippines in known to host three out of the 10 biggest shopping malls in the world. Shopping malls may not be an ideal destination for any travellers to the Philippines, but it doesn’t mean that you have to miss it out. Aside from shopping of course, here are 5 things that you can do to make your trip to the mall more interesting.

1. Go on a gastronomic trip

Philippine shopping malls hosts a number of restaurants – with lots of food variants. You can sample Filipino, Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese, British, Spanish, Ethiopian, Jamaican, Thai, Indonesian, French food (the list goes on…) from one shopping mall alone. Prices are quite cheap with food choice starting at 100 PHP (1,5€).

TIP: If you want to sample some cheaper Filipino snacks, head down to the supermarket and sample some cheap food that can go as low as 15PHP (0,25€). These stalls can be found usually on SM shopping malls.

2. Enjoy some local music

Head down to a mall’s activity centre or food court and there’s a good chance that you’ll catch a performance from a local (or sometimes foreign) music band. Watching the performances are free of charge.

TIP: Performances are usually done in the late afternoon from 4-6PM

3. Watch the famous Manila sunset

Head down to SM Mall of Asia (the largest mall in the Philippines spanning 4.2 million square feet) and get a table with the view of the coast. On a clear day, it’s one of the best place to catch the sunset and enjoy a good dinner as well.

4. Do your souvenir shopping

The malls’ department stores & some specialty shops offers great choices for souvenirs – from wardrobes, postcards, shirts, food & liquor. Admit the price can be a bit higher than a local seller but lower than airport sellers, but if you are ever on a rush – the malls are the most reliable place to get them (Malls open usually from 10h00 – 22h00 – Monday to Sundays)

5. People watching

I admit this is my favourite activity from the list. Going to malls is one of the favourite past-times of Filipinos (instead of going to parks for example). So, malls are a good place to people-watch as you can see good facets of the people’s everyday activities. Be mindful though that the malls gets very crowded in the afternoon to the night – especially during Fridays, the weekend, and on the 15th or 30th of the month.

How to do you find the activities? Do you have an activity that you would like to add? Feel free to comment and add them below.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Social Media Thursday: Future of music videos - Arcade Fire

I already posted this on my Facebook account, but for those who haven't seen the new interactive, HTML5 enabled Arcade Fire video for their new song 'The Wilderness Downtown'.

The 'video' or rather this new musical experience synchronizes it with Google Streetview technology which basically allows you to create a personalised video by placing the place where you grew up.Unfortunately, street view is not available in Quezon city, Philippines (where I grew up) nor in Brussels. So I placed an address in the US (which you can do, or put an address in Paris)

According to mashable, it is "more than just a one-off proof of concept, the end project (the video) shows just what is possible with HTML5 and emerging web standards,”. Indeed it is a good step and probably can challenge VEVO and Youtube. We'll see.

It works great in Chrome (and only Chrome). Check it out!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Travel: Lille day trip

I did update my travel blog doing a short entry on my day-trip to Lille, France. I haven't been in France since June 2009 so it was nice to see the red, white & blue French flag again. Though there's actually not much difference between Lille and Brussels - especially with the architecture & the food.

More stuff here -

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Amsterdam for the World Cup finals

I've written a short and very light entry on my trip to Amsterdam for the World Cup finals weekend. We ended up not seeing the finals in Amsterdam, though the weekend was still quite exciting. Read more on my travel blog - Jerick travels to. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Filipinos & the World Cup

Living in Europe, you can’t help but feel obliged excited to watch the World Cup. And as this and this article mention, Filipinos are mostly absent from this football craze. Though for me, it's a different situation, It’s almost halfway through the games & I’m happy to say that I’ve been brainwashed into this football watching/screaming/vuvuzela-ing (?) supporter.

FILIPINOS FOOTBALL? We can draw inspiration from Paulino Alcantara, Spanish-Filipino striker of FC Barcelona and is the highest scorer in FC Barcelona's history. (horrible background music btw)

And I’m actually getting into it well and enjoying the experience (I’m watching Brazil v. Cote d’Ivoire while writing this entry).  And I think more than the excitement of the actual games, the social aspect of watching one is what attracts me the most.  Like last night, I spared the usual going out to party for some cookies, curacao and the Denmark v. Cameroon game at my friends’ place. And when you do game fixtures then watch the games with loads of people in pubs or in someone’s flat, it gets better. Though recently, I've been enjoying  mocking the French team. J

Belgium is not playing, but expats in Brussels plus the Belgian francophones & néerlandophones cheering for France & Netherlands respectively have put the usual life into standstill. If you want to watch games in public places in Brussels, I would recommend to see it in Place Luxembourg or some pubs like The Old Oak or Hairy Canary in the Schuman area. Most are expat-filled places, though I'm interested to get the feel of  watching with Belgians, so do write them up if you know one.

I’m ecstatic and for sure will be following the games up to the finals. People usually ask who I’m cheering for, at the moment, I don’t have any. I hope that one day – I can watch the games and actually support the Philippines. When it will happen, I don’t know – and I know it takes more than just training good players but probably re-shaping our sporting culture.

A toute!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So how do you think Belgian music sounds like?

A concert in Botanique Nuit is a good way to enjoy Belgium’s and some of the world’s indie music scene. Staged on the beautiful glass building of Jardin Botanique, this 2 week event gathers indie bands (and some popular names) within Belgium & its neighbors.

I went last Saturday to see Absynthe Minded, a Belgian band that I recently just started listening. The concert was great. Absynthe Minded fused together classical instruments into pop-rock music. Bass Violin, violin, piano & trumpet are instruments that I have never seen since yesterday in a rock concert. However, I agree with a friend of mine who mentioned that their songs are somewhat a bit pop. Though, I don’t see anything wrong about it. Don’t know if this is how Belgian music generally sounds like.

It’s also nice to see a mainly Belgian crowd & actually watch my first only-Belgian band in concert. And what's ironic even is that the band somewhat reflected the current structure of Belgium – they’re a Ghent-based band (so they’re Flemish), who spoke to the audience in French & sang their songs in English. Only in Belgium, my friends.

See a video from the event (the video’s not mine)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Belgium: The second country I call home

Living in Belgium for more than a year & a half, I have grown to love & enjoy this small yet wonderful country. And I can't summarize how thankful I am that I got lucky that I managed to get matched in Belgium. It may not be as touristic as France, as lively as Spain nor as charming as Italy - but Belgium for me is one of the countries I can truly and won't regret to call as home. :)

Longer version:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Here comes the sun

In the immortal words of Paul, Ringo, John & George - 'Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter, little darling, it feels like years since it's been here".

And having survived 2 long winters, I became myself, like the dudes who made this song, a sun fan! I just love the sun. And this weekend was practically the sunniest weekend we had in months. The skies were so blue (partly due to the European airspace closure) that it would be a sin not to go out.

If the sun would have had a facebook fan page, everyone would have 'Liked' it, (I just checked - it actually does). And it would this weekend one of twitter's trending topic and would have kicked Justin Bieber's ass. However, as on everything, not everyone loves the sun.

I spent Saturday afternoon at the Woluwe Park, one of Brussels most beautiful park. And Sunday, I spent the entire afternoon on Brussels second most beautiful park, our garden. Everyone was outside, except my flatmate Simon, who spent his entire weekend at home. I already sent him an invite to the I hate the sun facebook fanpage.


And thanks to the sun, I manage to keep myself away from unproductive things like the internet. Aside from being with my friends, I was also with my new girlfriend - Lisbeth Salander. We spent so much time together. She kept me excited, and I can't deny that this weekend wouldn't be as fun without her.

The weekend like this should come more often. But as this is Belgium, I think it won't be the case. Ho-hum. And yes, tomorrow it's already going to be cloudy.

While we're at it. Make sure you read this article as well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

for the sake of updating

there comes a time in every blogger, despite having lots of ideas what to blog, he becomes just lazy to do it. And then he stupidly comes up with a meaningless entries like this - with no additional value whatsoever.

Today's the time.

Perhaps this will motivate me more to update the blog.Well, just look at my cool new layout, ain't it sweet?

Monday, February 15, 2010

ON JOURNALISM: A good read: End of the world as we know it

Following a journalist’s twitter account (@codybrown), I stumbled upon this commentary by Robert Thomson on what it is to be a ‘professional’ journalist in this digital age.

Quoting him – “Journalists have to be flexible, they have to understand that readers' lives have changed and that unless we are responsive to those changes, and tailor content for these new templates, journalists will have made themselves redundant.”

The advent of the so-called ‘citizen journalist’ and real time’ information sharing through online social networks like facebook, twitter challenges conventional journalists on speed of information sharing and on establishing a valuable (and real-time) dialogue to the audiences. So now that everyone can become the transmitter of news, and can be faster than how newspapers (even their online versions) publish their news, does this signal the end of the professional journalist?

It does not. – Robert Thomson says why and how we can make ourselves stand-out.

He explains that today’s journalists have the advantage, which is our knowledge of fundamentals: proper reporting & writing, copyediting, beat specialization & ethics. Though he emphasizes that practitioners should adapt to the digital age. And this is where, he mentions, journalists of today & tomorrow should invest. We need to be in a state of continuous learning – starting with the basics such as knowing how to do your own multimedia presentation, learning how to maximize tools such as facebook, twitter & linkedin, opening ourselves to new online trends and trying it out.

The technology is here (and ever growing) and it’s up to today’s journalist to maximize the use of these online tools.

Anyway, be sure to check out his article. A must read.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blogging About Rome

You might not know but I'm also keeping a blog solely for my travel notes. Here's a recent entry about my trip to Rome last June. Be sure to also check out my other entries particularly on my big trip to Morocco.

Fontana de Trevi