Sunday, 24 Feb 2019
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LET’S TALK #SOCIAL | A social mom

Originally posted at The Manila Times.

Noemi-Lardizabal-Dado

Welcome to my introductory post at “Let’s Talk #Social” where you will get to read commentaries, reviews, trends, how-to’s, and feature stories about technology and social media that are relevant in our daily lives. I thought it best to introduce myself, a bit of my history in technology, social media, and the internet, just so you know where I am coming from.

Remarks like “You are so techie for your age” amuse me. I have always been an enthusiast when it comes to technology. I am a graduate of BS Food Technology—technically a foodie and techie rolled into one. Though I didn’t pursue a career in Food Technology, I chose a homemaker role for many years before I went into blogging.

Not many know that my food blog is my largest community followed by four other blogs. I believe my curiosity to try anything new and adapting to emerging media and technology brought me to where I am today.

Technology, through the years

Technology fascinated me ever since I got my first calculator when I was 15 years old in the early seventies. I still remember the heavy chunky box with green dotted numbers on the screen. Having the calculator then felt like having your own laptop today. Then Pong arrived in our TV room in 1975. Just like the game consoles of today’s generation, the Pong was attached to the TV. Oh, the novelty of a video game right there at the living room! Parties at home were never a dull moment.

My next encounter with home technology was the TRS—80 microcomputer in 1979. I remember how user data was stored on a cassette tape. The tapes were often so fragile that I’d splice and tape them back together. The first computer language I dabbled with my siblings was BASIC, which we learned through a manual. How delighted we were when we got the computer to say “hello”. I didn’t own the TRS 80 since dad bought it for our home business. He scolded us for using it to play games. He insisted that “the computer is for business.”
“But dad, we need to play first to see how this computer works” we protested.

True, indeed, my brother then developed his own software (I forgot the name) for our bakeshop. He became one of the first teachers on computer programming in Cebu. See, we need to allow our kids a fair amount of play time and sooner or later they can transform play into productive use.

The lone IBM Clone PC XT arrived at my office in 1983. It was quite disappointing to see it often used to play Pac-man, the same Pac-Man running around a maze, eating pac-dots. Being a workaholic during those days, I wanted to work on my dbase, a software which I needed for a project’s survey results. I had a PC XT at home where I introduced simple games to my toddlers. The computer was also useful in teaching my father who suffered from aphasia to recognize words and its pronunciation, through a game.

Blogging and social media

I discovered the internet in 1995 and my first web project was handling the Internet Safety concerns for World Kids Network (WKN), a children’s fun website where I drafted the 10 Golden Rules on Internet Safety. I was called Robotica by kids around the world and helped moderate the kids’ javascript enabled chat rooms and the mIRC. I made sure my pre-teen daughters were properly guided in the use of the internet. It’s amazing how my children taught me a lot about being a mother in this technology-driven world.

I learned HTML and blogging together with my then 10 year old daughter, who is known as the first Filipino Blogger in the Philippines. They called it “journaling” back then. Incidentally, the word “blog” from weblog was not coined until 1999. The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger in December 1997. The shorter version, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, who, in April or May of 1999, broke the word weblog into the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar of his weblog.

My stint with WKN lasted only until 1999. By that time, I had learned enough about basic HTML, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and how the world wide web worked. Before I went into blogging, I was creating websites for friends and organizations.

Blogging became a popular medium before the rise of social media . I used it as a platform in 2006 to share my story on how I lost my beloved son and moved on to my new normal. The platform served me well because I offered hope to my readers with similar losses. Twitter came but I used it mainly for broadcasting my daily grind . Then Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social networks soon sprouted. It is not just mom bloggers anymore. Blogging is now a part of the bigger umbrella term of social media.

The social mom

Using the monicker “momblogger” was a matter of convenience. I wanted to be called by my first name. There is always a title before one’s name like Ma’am, Miss or Ate. Years later, how would I have known that personal branding would define my online reputation and the focus of my advocacy?

Together with other bloggers, Blog Watch was born in 2009 in answer to a clamor from my mommy community that they wanted to know more about electoral issues. It has since evolved into a nonpartisan group of citizen advocates who engage government and the private sector, online and offline, for social good. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever want to pursue the political scene. Just like any social media experiment, you never know what clicks or not in the internet.

The rise of social media moms or the social moms got recognized by a Nielsen study in 2011. A social mom can be both a blogger and/or active social media user but not everyone will blog in the long form content. According to the 2013 report on the Social Mom in the USA , these “moms in general tend to be heavy users of all the major social networks: YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. They also tend to have larger networks of friends and followers than the general population. The social mom makes purchasing decisions for herself and the entire household. Her lifestyle is mobile, allowing for engagement at any time or anywhere.” Social moms in the Philippines are passionate about sharing their discoveries with other moms, giving advice, creating conversations and building relationships online with their readers and followers.

With that definition, I consider myself a social mom.

Let’s talk #Social

According to the 2018 Global Digital Report, more than 67 million Filipinos spent almost four hours on social media every day in 2017 until January 2018. Filipinos spend an average of 9 hours and 29 minutes on their devices to go online.

While some may get addicted to their social media networks, most of us use it to get information and be connected to our loved ones. Finding a balance between being digitally connected and making time for relationships and community is the key.

Let’s talk #social is sharing discoveries and creating conversations on the latest trends, reviews, and features on social media and technology from a perspective of a social mom . Topics will be categorized under Media literacy; Useful apps ; How To’s; Review of gadgets and household appliances; Digital Security & Privacy; Digital parenting and lastly, Digital health and wellness. It is my hope to introduce more Filipinos to new web and social media centered applications, software tools, and technologies that can bring about positive changes, big or small, in the lives of Filipinos.

There are many wonderful things in the Internet and social media that are useful in improving the ways Filipinos communicate, express thoughts and emotions, obtain and share information, get educated, work, do business, and form relationships.

I am open to suggestions so please send me feedback at momblogger@protonmail.com.

Originally posted at The Manila Times.

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