Friday, September 7, 2012

Social media - my opinion

Earlier this month, I made a contribution to an article by Rachel Shisei, a journalist in PNG, when she posted about the impact of social media in the country on Thadreina Abady's blog.

Firstly, I’d like to thank Rachel for writing her views about social media and its use in PNG. Thankyou Rachel! We need more journalists to write and bring this issue into the mainstream media and encourage more young people to digest and construct ideas from this.
I would like to add on to Rachel’s article here that one of the positive things to come out from the use of social media in this country is that it allows mainstream media organizations to get stories, data, tips and views off other people and organizations online on social networks – something that was almost impossible just a decade ago. Lately on the local television station, EMTV and in the local newspaper, Post Courier, I have seen Facebook posts used as news items. This sort of interaction is what the news media in PNG needs – people using a social website to post items that are news worthy. You never know, sooner or later, we may even have a Papua New Guinea version of Julian Assange doing a PNG version of Wiki Leaks! Another positive outcome for the use of the social media for many organisations is that it is a cost effective way to bring your message to the mass media and also the general population. Its way cheaper and can be visibly informative.
Other the other hand, social media use has some issues that need careful thought. I will not highlight all these issues but point out a few that I believe, are important. Firstly, there is currently, in my opinion, a lack of legislation and regulation to guide its use and protect people. For instance, if online bullying occurs, defamation, use of profane language, trolling, inciting hatred, etc happens online in social media, who regulates this bad behaviour? Do we just let it by? Can people be held accountable for their actions? Is there even a need to regulate use of social media? Others will say that any kind of regulation reduces the right to free speech as guaranteed in the PNG constitution! Sure, social media is a positive outlet for free speech but on the other hand, when it is used for actions that are irresponsible, who accounts for their actions? For example, if a group is formed on Facebook and users, using false names, write untrue and baseless information about somebody or an organisation, and this information is read widely, people form opinions and construct ideas based on that information. Who comes in and says “okay what you are saying here is not correct and illegal. You need to be responsible for your actions here”?
My second observation, and again this is my own opinion, that even though the older methods of news collection (fronting up at a office and doing face to face interviews or doing telephone interviews) are still prominent, I feel that there is a shift towards this new method of collecting news as I highlighted earlier (using Facebook posts as news items). Sometimes i worry about the ethical issues behind this method and get uncomfortable when i read news collection methods today that have gone overboard – if you can remember the News of the World phone hacking scandal in Britain last year. When news collection methods shift, does this mean that news values change?
For me, the most interesting thing about the use of social media in PNG is that its’ cost effectiveness, simplicity of use, connectivity combined with our personal yearning for social interaction online will drive its use further more into the future. A decade ago, we knew very little about social media. Today, a friend, wanting to communicate with you will ask: “Yu stap lo facebook tu?” ( Are you on Facebook?)!

Monday, September 3, 2012

If I can do it, you can do it too: Mr Lala

The Acting Assistant Secretary –European Union (EU) / United Nation (UN) Branch in the Department of National Planning and Monitoring Papua New Guinea, Mr. Floyd Lala,  encouraged Health Management students to fully take part in their learning and make the best use of their time in Divine Word University.
Mr. Lala, a former Health Management student, who now works in Port Moresby, has encouraged the current crop of Health Management students for 2012 to not only make good use of their time here but to excel in community activities as well.
He said: “Apart from you academic activities, there are community events and processes such as the DWU cultural show, provincial nights, Students Representative Council, ecumenical church activities and many others are places where you can develop yourself better in leadership, communication, ethics,  spiritual growth and the ‘Diwai Spirit’.
“Many of the things you learn here in your classes are relevant and worthwhile in the workplace and are often seen by your future employers as valuable skills’.
He further said: “Nearly six years on and I’m glad to say I’m a graduate of Health Management at DWU. The subjects I learnt, the facilities I used and the culture that I was groomed at DWU, enabled me to find my place in the PNG workforce. 
"Health Management is a unique course in PNG and DWU is the only tertiary institution that is providing a tailored course to those who want professional training in management of public and private health organizations in this country. It provides a mix of business management, accounting, healthy policy, project planning and design and administration of health facilities and projects - these are right ingredients that have helped me to be a better manager of health services, policy and even organizational behavior.
“Of course, I did what many of you are doing now, that is enjoying the freedom, being away from the parents and guardians. But at the back of my mind, I always knew what my PRIORITY was and that was to get the best education that DWU has to offer. I made it my business to fore go some things which irritated some of my best friends”.
He said that he had traveled the world from Europe to Asia and to America and pointed out to the students they too would follow what he had done and even go further more.
He said: “I believe in you and know that it is not impossible to achieve your aspirations. If I can do it, you too can do it”
Many of the Health Management students who were present welcomed his comments and expressed their desire to hear more from former students as these former students’ journey after DWU would inspire and motive the current students to do well in their academic studies.
Mr. Lala also provided nine boxes of pizza after his talk and shared it to all the students present.  
Mr. Lala talking to the HM students in one of the HM classrooms.
Mr. Lala with the HM students after the talk

Mr. Lala provides some advice about career opportunities to students after his talk
Yaaay! Its pizza time!
The HM students after the talk