education in the Philippines

#Palaro2012: See you on Twitter, Facebook

David Yu Santos
Pangasinan forms Social Media Center, works with Rappler to bring Palaro closer to public.

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Close to 9,000 athletes, sports officials and spectators from all over the country have converged here for the Palaraong Pambansa 2012, but you don’t need to be physically in this city to enjoy the annual national games.

About 150 bloggers and active social media users have been tapped as volunteers to track the games online and manage the provincial government’s Social Media Command Center, the first-ever to be conceptualized for a Palaro.

The provincial government has converted a room on the second floor of the newly-renovated Pangasinan Employment Skill Development Center into a social media commander center, with its staffers providing Palarong Pambansa 2012 updates at least 12 hours day for the week-long duration of the games.

The games begin on Sunday, May 6, but the opening program will be held a day later, May 7, with President Benigno Aquino III confirming his attendance as guest speaker

This is the first time that a command center dedicated to social media was established to promote the Palaro events.

“We got the idea during the Super Bowl XLVI, where the host city organized a team to monitor exchanges via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Aside from providing news related to Palaro, the social media command center also aims to to connect with the public in responding to various concerns, from billeting facilities, to traffic or security concerns,” JR Padilla of the Social Media Command Center told Rappler.

Rappler, the official media partner of the Department of Education (DepEd) for the Pambansang Palaro 2012, held a training for the volunteers, mostly college students from Pangasian, on Thursday, May 3. Rappler’s Patricia Evangelista and Michael Josh Villanueva spoke to the volunteers about the importance of social media and the skills needed to use it for community engagement.

Rappler's Special Project Director Michael Josh Villanueva gives a lecture on the various types of social media available today.

Rappler's Pat Evangelista shares her expertise on story-telling using traditional and social media.

“Social media presents us with the great opportunity to promote Palarong Pambansa and give the event the attention it deserves,” said Villanueva, Rappler’s Special Projects Director. “It’s great to see that Pangasinan has decided to put together a social media command center for these games. Our challenge is not only to promote the event but also bring people together through social media.”

Along with Rappler and DepEd, the group is in charge of managing the @palaro2012 Twitter handle to promote various activities and events, reply to fans and visitors in Pangasinan for the Palarong Pambansa as well as retweet helpful information, news and updates. It also has a Facebook account which is jointly being administered with Rappler.

The Social Media Command Center has used social media feeds to promote news and updates generated by various sources, including Rappler, which has created a microsite as part of its special coverage of the event. (View the Rappler Palarong Pambansa 2012 site here.)

Padilla said the local government has allocated funds to buy video cameras, broadcast equipment and broadband infrastructure to facilitate the livestreaming of the sports various events. A local sponsor also donated TV monitors to the group.

As of May 3, close to 9,000 athletes and sports officials from the 17 participating regions have arrived in Pangasinan, according to the Palarong Pambansa 2012 secretariat. The participants are staying in different public schools all over the province, including Lingayen, where most of the sports activities will be held. –

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