Use social media to promote positive advocacies – AdSparks CEO
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Use social media platforms to promote advocacies, instead of just using these for gaming and entertainment.
This was the call of Onat Roldan, chief executive officer of AdSpark, a digital and mobile marketing solution company owned by Globe Telecom, when he discussed the topic “Achieving Social Impact” during a learning session entitled “Digital Transformations: Changes and Chances.”
The learning session, held on Friday, September 20, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dingman Hall of the University of San Carlos Downtown Campus, was organized by CDN Digital as part of the Cebu Press Freedom Week celebration.
Communication students from the University of San Carlos, Cebu Normal College, University of the Visayas, University of San Jose-Recoletos and CIT University attended the learning session.
According to Roldan, Filipinos spend more time, an average of an hour and a half on the internet when compare to the rest of the world.
“We spend on data. We go online on three platforms – gaming, Facebook and YouTube. Pinoys are about fun, friends and entertainment. That’s why we are a resilient society,” Roldan said.
However, he noted that some people have been trying to get out of social media because of the toxicity of the social space.
Instead of contributing to the toxicity, Roldan urged the students to put social space for better use.
“Let’s fill that space for something good, for something inspiring. It has to be transformation for the greater good,” he added.
Roldan cited as an example the campaign of Globe Telecom to create awareness of Hopeline 2919, a hotline for people who have mental health problems.
“But no one really talks about mental health. It’s like taboo but it is a very, very real problem,” he pointed out. “When someone talks I’m depressed, the usual answer is ‘kulang ka lang nang gimmick’ or kulang ka lang sa tulog. But it’s more than that.”
The 2011 WHO Global School-Based Health Survey has shown that in the Philippines, 16 percent of students between 13-15 years old have seriously considered attempting suicide while 13 percent have actually attempted suicide one or more times during the past year.
Another study (conducted by Maria Theresa Redaniel, May Antonnette Lebanan-Dalida and David Gunnel and published in 2011) also found that the incidence of suicide in males increased from 0.23 to 3.59 per 100,000 between 1984 and 2005 while rates rose from 0.12 to 1.09 per 100,000 in females.
Also, the Department of Health reported in 2003 that intentional self-harm was the 9th leading cause of death among the 20-24 years old. On the other hand, the World Bank reported that 4.5 million Filipinos suffer from depression.
However, Roldan noted that based on the World Health Organization statistics on suicide rate per year, the Philippines was ranked number 163 out of 183 countries, just similar to that of Saudi Arabia. Other Asian countries, such as Korea (number 4), Japan (number 14) and Thailand (number 32), ranked higher, he said.
According to Roldan, AdSpark used science and creativity to come up with a social media strategy to increase awareness for Hopeline 2919. As a result, the hotline registered a 41-percent increase in calls in a year’s time and since then, the Hopeline project has become strongly associated with suicide.
In fact, the Hopeline awareness campaign had won several awards and recognition.
Roldan then called on the students to come up with a positive use for social space.
“You have in your hands right now a tool that can do a lot of good. Please use it. Be a great brand for yourself, for your family, and for the community,” he said./elb
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