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!