Thoughts on the Social Media Blogger Accreditation of the PCOO

Prior to my life now in the corporate telco world, I was an active blogger covering the local and international technology and gaming beat for around 10 years. In the course of my hardcore blogger days I was able to travel the world covering events like the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain to various product launches in the US, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

See Also: Google I/O 2016 Coverage in California, US

Given this background, I’d like to share some thoughts and learnings about online media and blogger accreditation with the hope of improving the current one put on the floor by the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO).

Accreditation Process is Open to All

Organizers don’t make a distinction if you’re traditional or digital media. Everyone goes through the same online accreditation process. You submit what is basically called your “credentials”. This includes your publication, reach, and proof of quality reporting (links to body of work). After submitting your application, the waiting game begins.

Accreditation is Strict and Thorough

Not everyone who applies gets the golden “media pass”. There’s usually a team that does the screening of applicants. They have a system of doing it. They validate what you submitted using a plethora if tools like LinkedIn and SimilarWeb. They then inform you if you passed or not.

I remember being denied accreditation for MWC a few years ago because they saw in my LinkedIn account that I was connected already with a digital advertising agency.

80% of Accredited are Online Media Outlets

With fellow Filipino media bloggers and online/print publications at the Mobile World Congress Samsung Unpacked Event

A big majority of media in international technology events are dominantly online press and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are your “traditional online publications” which are news websites of traditional media outfits. There’s the blogger-turned-media. There are also YouTube Vloggers, people who don’t actually own websites but have massive reach on social media with their content.

The common denominator, I would hope to think, is that most of the media who cover are trusted authorities for the audiences that they serve.

Progressive Naman Pala! So What’s the Issue?

With those mind, you would think that Malacanang’s move to accredit social media practitioners and bloggers is progressive. So what’s the deal and why is there an “uproar”? Three things come to mind.

First is the timing was not ideal. They released it a few days after the ASEAN where the “DDS Blogger Accreditation” was a sore issue.

Second is the highly political and volatile landscape punctuated with Assistant Secretary Uson being tasked to lead accreditation. As a well known and vocal Duterte supporter and harsh critic of everyone against the President, the entire accreditation program becomes colored. Personally I would like to give Assistant Secretary Uson the benefit of the doubt and hopefully we see her office being fair to everyone who applies regardless of color.

Last, but not the least, is the lack of qualifications needed for the accreditation process. The 5,000 follower count coupled with the 18 y/o requirement was taken by a lot of traditional media as a slap in the face.

At it’s core this is a progressive move forward. But the framers of this policy need to work better so that the public and traditional media outlets see it that way. We applaud the PCOO for being decisive but we also caution them with their current framework and how they’re communicating it to the public.

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Carlo Ople

Author Carlo Ople

Founder and writer of Unlocked.ph and for full disclosure I'm also the Vice-President for Digital Marketing Strategy of PLDT/Smart, the largest telco in the Philippines. Prior to this I co-founded a digital advertising agency (DM9 Digit) which we sold to Dentsu, the largest single branded agency in the world. I also co-founded one of the biggest tech websites in the country, Unbox (unbox.ph). Views do not represent PLDT/Smart and are purely my own.

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