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Rappler: Crowdsourcing in the Philippines

Registered attendees for the Crowdsourcing Week Global ’14 in Singapore (7-11 April 2014) already represent over 20 countries across 5 continents. To give you a little taste of what to expect at the conference, we would like to introduce you to Maria Ressa and share more about her work and how crowdsourcing has transformed the media landscape.

Maria Ressa is an accomplished journalist with nearly 30 years experience and since 2012, founder and CEO of Rappler, a social news network “where stories inspire community engagement and digitally fuelled actions for social change,” she says. Rappler comes from the root words “rap” (to discuss) + “ripple” (to make waves).

Maria Ressa _ Rappler

“Harnessing the power of the crowd has tremendous implications for every industry and governance,” Maria says. “In the Philippines, we’ve been able to use it for greater transparency in our democracy, to help evolve discussions on critical issues as well as real-time reporting and responses during states of emergency.  It’s a revolutionary tool that gives a new paradigm for solving age-old problems.” Although crowdsourcing is in its infancy in Asia, “but it promises to strengthen governance and help bring real power to real people”, she further adds.

Maria named “journalism” and “civic engagement” through big data as the most exciting areas in crowdsourcing. “It’s a brave new world of endless possibilities – all of which give new power to citizens, who – armed with information – can work collaboratively with other stakeholders to solve age-old problems and strengthen democratic processes, “ she says, and further adds, “The growth of social media has trounced the powerful gate-keeping power of traditional media and democratized information. Now we no longer need expensive equipment and corporate structures to ripple a message through society”.

When asking Maria how crowdsourcing is transforming her business and more largely, her industry, she says “technology gives journalists new power. Instead of complaining about the dramatic shifts in our industry, we celebrate it because it provides new ways of solving age-old problems that allow journalists to go far beyond storytelling.”

And she concludes, “in a country like the Philippines, where institutions are weak and corruption is endemic, we can capture the zeitgeist of a frustrated society, push action and help build institutions bottom-up. Using a patented user-engagement model, we link the main components into a cycle driving action. Content creation is amplified by social media, which allows engagement that leads to crowdsourcing. The most immediate easy action is to click how you feel – a mood meter with every story, and every mood vote is aggregated into a mood navigator that displays the top 10 stories (with the most number of votes) and the crowdsourced mood of the day. Pulling all that data together, you can see trends in months and years – only one of the strands of big data we monitor, giving more insight to the public we serve.”

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About Crowdsourcing Week Global

In its second year, Crowdsourcing Week Global looks to empower leaders with crowd-focused approaches & tools that organizations need to thrive in today’s hyper-connected world. With the overarching theme “Crowd Impact: Empowering Transformation,” the conference will explore the diverse ways crowdsourcing is impacting organizations and catalyzing a transformative shift across finance, business, marketing, government, and more.

The Crowdsourcing Week Global is taking place 7-11 April 2014 in Singapore.

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Asia Research is media partner of the “Crowdsourcing Week Global” since 2013.