Category - Media

Hello Pal: Going Beyond Borders

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Have you ever felt that unexplainable need and craving to learn new languages, to immerse yourself fully in the culture of countries not your own and to interact with locals of these different countries in their own native language?

I have. Countless times. I will admit, however, that the countries closest to my heart are Japan and Korea, because they have been important parts of my life as I was growing up.

My love for Japanese anime as a child spurred on my interest in the Japanese language and culture, and My half-Japanese seat mate in sixth grade further fueled my desire to learn Japanese whenever she would share tidbits about Japan and some useful words or phrases.

However, my learning and improvement in the language was quite limited because I had no proper resources to rely on — this was 2005, after all, where books were the go-to resource and e-books were not as widely circulated as they are today — and I had no one else except my half-Japanese seat mate to practice the language with. It was only when I entered university in 2010 that I was able to practice my Japanese and improve tremendously as I joined a Japanese culture studies organization where I was able to interact with Japanese nationals and practice conversing with them in Japanese.

It was through this experience that I realized that no matter how many vocabulary lists you master, or how many grammar concepts you understand, nothing will ever integrate a new language into your mind as constant usage and practice of the language ever will. This is why language schools today are very particular with making conversation classes or practice time a must  — it is only through putting the language into good use will the speaker’s learnings be reinforced and their knowledge in the language retained.

This is why I am very thankful that I have come across Hello Pal just as I started taking interest in learning Korean seriously. It is by far the most innovative way to learn new languages and have fun meeting new, interesting friends at the same time, too! It has certainly helped people break beyond language barriers and changed the game for people who love learning languages (like me!) and for those who travel often and thus need an easy, quick way to learn the local language of wherever they’re headed.

But what is Hello Pal?

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Hello Pal is a FREE social language learning app where phrase books, vocabulary lists, translation tools and an integrated social network and chatting platform are all seamlessly blended into one very light (only 20MB for Android!) language learning tool. It stays true to the principle of believing that the best way to learn a language is where speaking comes first, learning comes second and encourages its users to “learn and speak on the go.”

There is no need for you to know a single word of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, or any language that you wish to learn. Simply install the app on your device, sign up for an account, and you’ll be on your merry way towards exchanging your first 안녕하세요 (Hello in Korean) with a new friend! Here’s a screen shot of the Sign In/Register screen that you’ll see as soon as you install the app.

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Let’s explore Hello Pal!

As soon as you have registered or logged into your Hello Pal app for the first time, you need to set up your profile and set up a few preferences, including your native language, the language that you want to learn, and other languages that you can also speak. This is for their database of users that will help in filtering and matching you with people who best suit your interests when it comes to learning languages. Here are the settings I’ve chosen for mine.

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Once your profile’s ready and all set, finding new pals and initiating a chat with them is as easy as pie! Make the most out of your Hello Pal experience by filtering the suggested users according to  spoken language, learning language, nationality, current location and age group. This way, Hello Pal helps you connect with the pals you can truly have a language exchange with. It’s like having a social network of pen pals (like in the old days where people fancied snail mail) but with the added convenience of getting swift, immediate replies!

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But wait, that’s not all. Hello Pal also contains a translation app built into the system so you can translate from your native language to your learning language as you go and as you chat with your new-found pal. Pretty convenient. Say hello to efficiently communicating with people all over the world from day one! Hello Pal truly helps users transcend borders and connect despite the language barrier.

In the short time that I’ve been on Hello Pal, I’ve had the privilege to meet several interesting personalities who were very enthusiastic to learn English. And yes, you guessed right — they’re from South Korea, which also gives me an opportunity to practice my Korean when I chat with them! Here’s a sample chat with one very interesting fellow though — he’s Korean but has lived elsewhere for a while and also speaks Japanese! How cool is that? 🙂

hello pal chat

The one single thing that sealed the deal for me with Hello Pal, however, would be the fact that its built-in phrase books are also available as separate apps! These are useful as learning tools that I can access when I’m bored but do not have immediate access to an internet connection, which the phrase books in the main Hello Pal app are dependent on.

Depending on your display preferences for the app, there are Lite and Full Phrasebook — the difference being that the Lite one only show the most important phrases or words, while the Full Phrasebook shows a variety of words with several topics to choose from!

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Overall, Hello Pal is a really enjoyable app to use — one that makes language learning fun and worthwhile while allowing its users to go beyond the limits of their comfort zones to connect with others. Why not join in the fun? Hello Pal is available for Android on Google Play and for iOS on the App Store.

Go on, click that ‘Install’ button, and have fun chatting away!

Making Coffee For The Boss While on Facebook

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Working as an intern in Third Team Media was fun and educational. At first, it was intimidating because I was in a new environment, with new faces and new assignments that were alien to me! Alien but wicked. =) As my internship went on, I realized that I have learned a lot about Digital Marketing – especially how it keeps helping businesses make an impact on a daily basis.

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Working as an intern in a social media management company changed my social media perception little by little. Where before I only used Facebook and Instagram for fun, I consider social media now as more than a means to pass the time.

My job as an intern was simply this — assist the digital marketing managers in their tasks like content curation and campaign creations. With my days revolving around Facebook data, Twitter updates, blog writing, and Instagram campaigns, I become more conscious with my own social media footprint. I learned about privacy and of content quality and applied it to my own social media use.

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My favorite task was perhaps curating for content. It was fun surfing the internet and discovering new things for our different clients who come from very diverse industries from different parts of the world. It got tiresome at times and frustrating too especially if you can’t seem to find the exact content you need. But it sure was challenging and pushed me to think outside the box.

For all the students my age, my advice to you is know your own limits in using social media for it is not a toy, but a tool. If I learned anything at all during my stint, it would be that, “On social media, the whole world is watching you and you must be ready to face criticisms if it comes to that.” Remember that great power is often coupled with great responsibilities. That great power in our generation is social media.

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As I say goodbye to my life as a social media intern and go back to my life as a now #hashtagsavvy student, I intend to apply all that I have learned. Perhaps in a more concrete manner, I would say that harnessing the power of a single social media post will perhaps take months of expert precision with consideration of various data to optimize that specific content. But this is what I intend to do! #Wicked, ey?

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Remember the 5th of November

If you have been following the #AlDub phenomenon, chances are, you already know that Yaya Dub’s Twitter got hijacked for a couple of hours by Anonymous Philippines.

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What or who is/are Anonymous, really? Anon, as they are nicknamed, are hacktivists whose causes range from the promotion of free speech, unimpeded access to information, and transparency in government and corporate activities. The group has maintained that they did it for a cause.

So, who are the people behind Anonymous?

They are many and they are from all over the world. They go by the motto, “We are legion” and are fond of using the Guy Fawkes mask to brand themselves as part of the hacker group.

These masks were inspired by Alan Moore’s dystopian ‘V for Vendetta’, the 1988 graphic novel which is loosely based on the story of Guy Fawkes to protect their identity. Guy Fawkes is a member of the Gunpowder Plot, who was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords.

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But these “kids” are not your average punks. The international collective of hackers had, over the years, done good for the world: taking down a white supremacist radio show host’s website, Project Chanology, exposing Chinese made cyber-attacks against the US, Operation DarkNet against child pornography, and Free Korea campaign urging Kim Jung On to resign. .

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Our own PH based Anonymous group had achieved notoriety with their anti-China campaign against China’s occupation of Philippine territory.

Hackers are not all bad. But they can be, of course. Was Anon PH justified in hi jacking Maine’s account? Let’s hear it from these netizens:

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What’s your opinion on online activism?

5 Apps For OFWs To Reconnect And Bond With Families

Many Filipinos have been going abroad for greener pastures for years. Leaving behind their families may be the last thing they want to do but the desire for a better life motivates them to sacrifice time spent with family.

However, as technology continues to develop, applications or apps have emerged to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) regularly bond with their family through treasured conversations online.

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May I Have Your Attention, Please!

Get people to give your article a second chance, a second glance.

“Headlines are a special breed of difficulty because they have to accomplish so many things in such a small amount of space.”

Headers, captions, post titles, are more important than your article itself because your readers will always make it the measure of whether your article is boring or interesting. Here’s the deal, no matter how awesome and well-researched your article is, if your headline is weak, no one will read it.

Now, you ask, what makes a better headline? The truth is, it’s more simple than you think it is! Yay!

All you need to know are the most basic THREE:

1. Make the encounter SHORT and SWEET.

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According to Digital Marketing institution, Hubspot, the ideal headline should have a maximum character count of of 65 words, before it get’s cut off in search engines.

Get your headline to bear only one thought. Never ramble as this will just confuse your audience. But also make sure that your headline actually describes your article. The surest way for an article to remain unread is when your headline didn’t get the memo about what the article is talking about.

So, keep it short, sweet and specific.

You only have 6 words with a total of 65 characters to show your potential readers the stuff that your article is made of, so make the most out of it! Emojis, anyone? ☺☺☺

2. Be NEGA Nancy.

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Ironically enough, Hubspot says that the words: NO, WITHOUT and STOP, lead to many more shares.

The presumption is to always be positive and perky, right? But being goody-two-shoes don’t get readership clicks. Rather, tickle your reader’s curiosity with negative wording. Prey on your reader’s insecurities by telling them how they are doing their life administration wrongly and unless they read your article, they will be doomed. Works every time!

3. Use NUMBERS.

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This is still a numbers game even from this angle. Headlines with numbers (digitally-written) fare well than those without. Numbers draw readers to your article and their favorite number is… 7! They hate 13. Also, (aside from 7, I guess) rounded numbers also work better than non-rounded ones.

Don’t make the number too much either. Otherwise, it would scare your readers. I mean, who in their right minds would click, “500 ways to organize your closet,” right?

If all else fails, go to www.co-schedule.com. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Ten Tips for the Next Project X!

People often aspire to be part of the organizing team for events, mostly because of its perks, may it be the free food or merchandise, or the chance to be up close and personal with the event guests. However, events are not easy to organize, as they entail a lot of preparation on the organizing team’s part. One must be prepared for insanity — a lot of sleepless nights, countless stressful meetings that run for hours on end, and being pushed beyond their limits that a nervous breakdown is almost inevitable.

From strategic planning up until event delivery and closure, the entire event life cycle is a challenge in itself, but many will agree that the positive feedback they receive after the event make the experience worthwhile and much more bearable.

Of course, organizers don’t get out of these events clueless. A lot of valuable lessons are learned, some that would have saved time and kept their sanity a little more intact. Let’s take a moment to review these lessons together. This is not meant to discourage you from organizing your own events, mind you, but this is so that you can plan, execute your tasks properly, and save yourself the heartache while it’s still early.

Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we?

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Smartphone Photography 101

Who needs a DSLR when you have a Smartphone? Seriously. Get smart with your smartphone and produce (almost) DSLR quality shots.

Smartphone photography also known as phone photography is the convenient way to capture images and share it directly on social media. In social media marketing, content is king, thus, copy writing and visuals are equally important in order to stand out among the millions of Instagrammers out there.

Have you ever come across a Facebook page and decided it wasn’t worth your precious like just because of the photos involved? A photo that is blurry, pixelated, and poorly crafted can have a profoundly negative impact on your fans (social media friends). Images matter on social media. So so much, so you better brush up on those phone photography skills to keep you high up on the news feed ladder.

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Social media and health promotion: Doctors turn to the Internet to push personal health advocacies

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Not long ago, there was a man who was operated in a hospital. It was an unusual operation that got some practitioners involved chuckling and grinning and recording moments of the procedure. The video got viral, got the patient humiliated and got some of the healthcare professionals suspended.

Incidents like this can cause a nagging fear among doctors, nurses, medical technicians and their fellows when social media is presented as a tool for health promotion and when relentless white knights invite them to engage, to be active on social media.

“Whether doctors choose to engage in social media or not, they cannot ignore its implications,” said Dr. Pat Rich of the Canadian Medical Association during the Healthcare Social Media Summit 2015 last February in Cebu.

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Memejacking: 5 Brands That Could Use Some Sarah Patatas Meme

Brands that know how to “laugh” at themselves can win the hearts (and attention) of their target customers. That is true if the placement is perfect and it is well within the marketing plan of the brands.

But what can brands do to ride on “memes”? It’s a concept known as memejacking.

What is a meme anyway? Hubspot mentions that “a meme is quite simply a concept, behavior, or idea that spreads, usually via the internet.”

Filipinos are now starting trends or memes where they poke fun at nostalgia. Take for example the recent viral trend of “Sarah ang Munting Princesa” and the “Patatas Meme”. You may have seen this meme shared on your newsfeed. Or maybe saw one but didn’t “get” the joke.

Some news outlets mentioned that no one knows where the trend started. Unlike other memes where origins are very much traceable, the source of the “patatas meme” still has to be uncovered. Checking some source online would bring you to the meme’s own Facebook page and Twitter profile. It has thousands and thousands of followers and fans in such a short period of time.

Now if only brands know how to tap these kinds of “viral” themes, it could well be a blast for them and their audience. Do you think it would be appropriate for these brands to mention a Princes Sarah Patatas Meme?

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