Yay! First 120,000 Visits!

Facebook Pages Logos in front of Jojo's Facebook Profile Snapshot in blur.

Cheers!!!! My blog has reached its first 120,000 visitors since I started blogging actively in April 2008! πŸ™‚

Actually my blog already reached the 120,000th mark a week ago. I wasn’t paying much attention to it since I am too much pre-occupied with the main culprit, Facebook! I visit my Facebook profile every time I’m connected to the Internet. The last time I posted something here was nearly three weeks ago, while my Facebook wall post is updated almost daily! tsk tsk tsk

Blogging and posting on Facebook wall are entirely different bananas. You need to spend a longer time composing a blog, while thinking a wall post will only consume around two minutes or so. Blogging entails a more detailed and insightful research on the topic. Since my blog is about deafness, deaf and their culture; I cannot deviate much from it. Inasmuch as I want to include issues from my other loves like web designing, Christian living and music, I am compelled not to post something about them simply because I will be “out of topic”.

Talking about Facebook stats; I already have 513 friends. Nearly a third of that are from my Social City buddies. The rest are my MCCID deaf students, alumni and friends. I’m also surprised that my V. Mapa High School classmates were able to track me down! I already have 20 friends from way back the time of Xanadu’s “Magic”, Air Supply’s “All Out of Love”, Irene Cara’s “Fame” and John Lennon’s “Just like Starting Over”. Yah! John Lennon was still alive when I finished high school! πŸ™‚

I already created four Fan Pages in Facebook. The first one was for our college for the deaf, the second one was for Liliane Foundation Philippines, while the third one was for the first Filipino Sign Language Font which can be downloaded and installed for FREE. The latest is for our Philippine Web Accessibility Group.

Among the four pages, our college for the deaf topped with 855 likes with 319 active users. It is in this Page where I posted some very important announcements concerning the school. This is followed by Filipino Sign Language Font which has 606 likes and 92 active users. Incidentally, the FSL Font has already been downloaded more than 1500 times as of today, thanks to Facebook. Liliane Foundation Philippines has 54 likes with 30 monthly active users. Philippine Web Accessibility Group now has 50 likes with 48 active users.

One great feature of WordPress is its ability to track down the number of visits from your other WordPress designed sites using the same built in API keys. You can also use this for their equally neat Akismet spam blocking plugin. Based on this I was able to know the number of visitors from the following WordPress sites of:

My blog now has 222 posts with 583 comments and 512 tags. My top referrer is still Deafread.com now followed closely by Facebook. Thank you very much my dear readers, whether you are hearing or deaf! Now, on to my first 140,000th visitors! πŸ™‚

Yay! First 100,000 Visits!

My blog has already reached its first 100,000 visits! Hooray for me!

Happy 100000th Visits
Actually it reached the 100,000th mark last April 4, roughly three weeks ago. But I wasn’t able to make a blog post. Not because I am busy. Heck I have been busier before but still I was able to post something. The culprit? FACEBOOK! πŸ™‚

I spent more time playing Social City than visiting my real vicinity. I bathe my Fluffy pet in Pet Society many times than taking my real pet dog Fluffy on a cold shower. In other words, I was able to make more words in Scrabble than posting sensible words in my blog. 😦

I already created three Fan Pages in Facebook. The first one was for our college for the deaf, the second one was for Liliane Foundation Philippines, while the third one was for the first Filipino Sign Language Font which can be downloaded and installed for FREE!

My WordPress dashboard says that I already posted 211 blogs with 543 approved comments and 486 tags. My top landing page after this main page is my blog about Gov. Padaca of Isabela which was seconded by the Deaf Icons Heather and Marlee. My retrospect on Philippine deaf education remains at third. I am again humbled by some of my readers who are using my blog posts as a credible reference.

Deafread.com remains my top referrer followed by our school’s site. However, it’s interesting to note that in the past weeks, my top referrer is now, you guessed it right, Facebook!

My blog is now ranked 11th worldwide among deaf related topics according to Postrank.com, up from 13 last week. My top searched word is still my favorite deaf icon, Ms. Marlee Matlin followed by the movie β€œDinig Sana Kitaβ€œ. I changed my WordPress theme to Dark Wood but I’m not sure if it improved my blog’s popularity.

Thank you very much my dear readers, whether you are hearing or deaf! After this, I will be celebrating every 20,000th visits! On to my first 120,000th visitors!

Facebook and the Deaf’s Changing Social Life

MCCID Facebook Screenshot

I started out with Facebook when it was introduced to us during our Web Based Networking Seminar in Thailand September of last year. One of the organizers encouraged us to open a Facebook account so that we can still get in touch even when we go back to our respective countries.

At first, I was hesitant to open a Facebook account. I’m not a fan of social networking sites. They are too teen-ager-ish and their primary purpose is simply to get as many friends as you want. The more friends you have, the more popular you are, so it may seem. Look at Friendster. 90% of its traffic comes from Asia with the Philippines on top with nearly 13 million unique users monthly as of 2008. My country is currently number one based on the average worldwide Google traffic of friendster in all years. That means Filipinos search Friendster the most.

As I have mentioned earlier, Friendster mostly caters to the younger generation. Facebook which appeals to both the young and the young at heart, basically everybody. That includes me. So when I started using Facebook, Whoa! I got hooked! Its interface is easier to use. There are no flashy, trendy but oftentimes eyesore backgrounds, heart pounding sounds, and freakish themes like Friendster. It’s a straightforward, friends-sharing-things-about-friends style. You connect with everybody whom you know. It’s not a popularity contest. It’s getting closer with the ones you love and connecting to your old friends.

Aside from that and of course, hours upon hours of Pet Society, Restaurant City and Scrabble (teeheehee), what appealed to me most is Fan Page. You can join any organization, celebrity, activity, causes, TV programs that you believe in. You can also create one. That’s just what I did.

I created a Fan Page for our school only last December 14, 2009. I figured out that since our school cannot reach all of our alumni and update them about their school’s latest activities, I might as well create one that could solve it. I have no way of encouraging them to visit our official site. I heard from the grapevine that many IT literate deaf are now switching to Facebook. So I guess opening up a fan page would at least keep some of them informed.

During the first few weeks, I posted some news articles I copied from the MCCID official site into the Facebook Fan wall. Then, I occasionally invited my friends, now numbering 334, to become a fan. You can say that majority of MCCID fans are my friends. That is a perfect observation since most of my circle of friends are deaf students and alumni of the school.

I decided to test how “sociable” Facebook is by inviting our Deaf alumni to attend the school’s Sports Fest 2010 Opening Ceremony on February 6, Saturday. We usually don’t generate much interest from our alumni to participate in this yearly activity. Since we started this sporting event a decade ago, we sometimes see ten or more alumni who joined.

In January 29, a week before the event, I made a Facebook Event Entry inviting the deaf alumni. Then, on the day before the event, I made this entry on the Fan Page Wall without expecting any impact on the “fans”:

Sports Fest 2010 Opening Ceremony tomorrow at Lutheran Church Grounds, Sta. Mesa, Manila. Eight students from MCCID Quezon Branch will join us. πŸ™‚

Well, surprise, surprise!!! Aside from the 100 regular students, nearly 50 alumni showed up! Some of them were the schools graduates from our second and third batches (1996-97).

Sports Fest 2010 Banner

Some of the Alumni who attended

After the ceremony, I greeted the alumni and thanked them for attending. I also made an informal survey as to how they were able to know the event. Almost all of them said, they were informed thru, you guessed it right, FACEBOOK!

As of today (March 20), there are 617 Fans of MCCID College of Technology. Although this is too insignificant compared to the total number of Facebook users in the Philippines (yeah, we are now the tenth largest Facebook users worldwide), we are on the right track. We can now disseminate information to many of our alumni and students faster than ever before. We can now say that we are taking advantage of the available technology.

Last week, I again created a new Fan Page. This time, I made one for Liliane Foundation Philippines, one of our generous funding organizations. You can view their official website here.

I appeal to my WordPress blog readers to subscribe to our fan page. If you have Facebook account, kindly add us among one your favorite pages. We need to reach 1,000 fans in order to shorten the URL or web address from the one that we currently use. πŸ™‚

“Facebook is not a contest as to how many friends you have but as to how long you keep the friends you have.” πŸ™‚

My List of Deaf Related Groups in Facebook

Facebook Login Page

Facebook is now the most popular social networking site. To date they already have more than 350 million users. And with that many people, privacy will definitely be compromised. So when they recently placed a banner heading every time you login, informing us that they will soon be removing regional networks – or grouping of people based on where they live – , I got a bit scared.

I rarely tweet, never plurked, blog once in a while and despise Friendster because of its convoluted interface (I heard they already made a revamped Facebooky style). But with Facebook, I got hooked!

Now, when you’re in someone’s network, let’s say you belonged to the same school or company, you essentially “friend” everyone on that network, allowing others to see the entirety of your Facebook page (this can be changed in your privacy settings). With these latest developments, would other groupings be controlled next?

With that fear constantly entering my paranoid mind, I might as well share with you a list of my favorite deaf related groups and pages before it’s too late. πŸ™‚

  • DEAF NATION (Language, Culture and Pride) – It has extensive deaf related features including Matt Hammil, the famous deaf wrestler.
  • DEAF CULTURE AND SIGN LANGUAGE – Their latest wall post says,

    hi everyone, we use ASL (American Sign Language) in USA and we use CSL (Chinese Sign Language) in China, right? how about you? would you please tell us what your sign language is? thank you.

  • THE CAPTION HUNT PROJECT – This is an on-going entertainment research project by 2GuysTaking providing entertaining yet detailed closed captioning reports for a continually-growing list of television programs, DVDs, feature films and more.
  • DEAF FILIPINO AMERICAN – This is a social networking group where you can meet new friends, keeping in touch with the old ones, Filipino culture events and of course, Deaf Filipino news.

I also have a list of favorite Fan Pages of schools for the deaf in the Philippines. These are:

These are only my initial lists. It will definitely increase so long as my enamor with Facebook is still there. Oh by the way, I would also like to share with you my current wall post:

Facebook is not a contest as to how many friends you have but as to how long you keep the friends you have.

Happy FACEBOOK! πŸ™‚

How disaster prepared are our government websites?

As my beloved Philippines is again buckling down from an impending “super typhoon” after we were hit very hard by the previous one a week ago, we must try to assess the situation in order to prepare for it in the future.

Dean Andy Bautista’s column in Philippine Star enumerated how we can better deal with these situations when it happens again. He said that we must device a new system to assess weather disturbance, purchase modern equipment, acquire right equipment, think environment and review changing landscapes.

Call Emergency
I like to suggest another one. Coordinate a single quick response hotline so that it would be easier and faster for people who are in need of help to get in touch with the proper government agencies. Similar to “911”, the government must assign a common number for all concerned departments and local units so that they can be reached quicker and the response time would be shorter. But alas, we have none! 😦

As I was watching the news programs and telethons from two competing local TV networks, I can’t help but frown on the many numbers posted as marquees on their screens. How can I call those numbers if I can’t even memorize any one of it? Too many to memorize!

Let’s say I need medical assistance. What number should I dial? Should I call the National Disaster Coordinating Center (How the hell did I know that agency?) or my nearest hospital, or my own local government unit, or the local police, or the Philippine National Red Cross? Two days after the typhoon, most of the telephone lines are already operational. Cell phones are already working and electricity is restored. So calling for help won’t be a problem anymore. Unless, you don’t know what number to dial.

Website Help
Now, let’s say I want to donate my few hard earned money, where would I send it to, in a Kapuso or a Kapamilya station? An issue was raised in Twitter about a Hollywood celebrity who was very eager to donate some cash to Philippine National Red Cross. But he was so disappointed because their website (at that time) is not equipped to accept donations.

This brings me to my other suggestion. The government’s online presence should be accessible and equipped to disseminate and receive information from people worldwide. The vital government websites should have the complete information on where to get assistance, how to interact with the agency and immediately report any emergencies. The government must strengthen their management information system in order to fully deal with these situations.

Now how do we carry out these information if these government sites are inaccessible? Also, a sizable number of local government units still don’t have websites. The governors and mayors should give emphasis on these inadequacies so that they can better serve their constituents.

As of this hour, the Department of Public Works and Highways site is inaccessible. The Department of Education site does not have a list of government schools that are being used as evacuation centers. They have a list of damaged schools. But not the ones where people can go for temporary shelter. The Department of Transportation and Communication site has nothing to offer that even Pres. GMA flared up with it’s secretary during an emergency meeting, for not doing anything.

The Internet is now turning into a very potent medium where information can easily be attained by almost everyone in the planet. In my Facebook wall, I read users post important hotlines on whom to contact. I also find up-to-the-minute accounts of disasters and tragedy waiting to happen within the community. I also read some advisories on what roads are impassable and warnings on the impending calamity. That’s technology used at its finest. The government must tap into these tools in order to fast track their services.

On the sad note, government employees displaced by the typhoon who sought the help from Government Service Insurance System to avail of their emergency funds were not as lucky. GSIS’s computerized database bogged down in the first two hours of business as queues spilled over outside the building. Some workers were fuming mad when they cannot apply for calamity loans. Let’s hope that their system would be restored and people would get their much needed cash.

I pray that the government would get its act together, create a unified hotline for quicker response and strengthen their online presence in order for people to immediately access their services. πŸ™‚

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