So why was Babae Ako influential in driving news?

Time identified “The Women of #BabaeAko” as the 25 most influential people on the internet. The contenders were evaluated by looking at their global impact on social media and their overall ability to drive news.  I am so proud to be part of this movement. Nothing makes my online life more relevant than using social media for  good and maximizing personal and collective social media capital for social change.

The contenders of Time’s most influential people were evaluated by looking at their global impact on social media and their overall ability to drive news. The local news first picked it up.

Bandila, May 22, 2018

Then this was followed a few days later by Al Jazeera’s   “#BabaeAko: Philippines’ Duterte ‘intimidated by strong women’; and another feature using their livestreaming #BabaeAko: Is Duterte’s behaviour sexist or misunderstood?.

#BabaeAko on Al Jazeera Stream, June 7, 2018

BBC World followed suit.

#BabaeAko on BBC World, June 6, 2018

And even in French news.

Arte, June 18, 2018

So why was #BabaeAko influential in driving news?

1. Message matters

Sometimes it can make your message more powerful if you can connect it to why the issue is important to you. #BabaeAko touches every daughter, her mother, her sister, and her lola. Women are endangered in an environment where a President , the leader of the nation shouts out sexist remarks.  Such rude rhetoric can have a major impact on a woman’s thinking, stress, and self-esteem. It hits the core of every woman.

2 . Organizing a community

A loose network of women’s groups and individual activists could no longer take Duterte’s misogynistic statements sitting down so they launched a social media campaign on Sunday night, May 20, to fight back against the Philippine president whom they describe as a misogynist leader. Using the hashtag #BabaeAko (I am a woman), Filipino women took to social media to fight the president’s sexist and misogynistic behavior.

READ: 30 examples of Duterte’s sexist remarks #BabaeAko

The women in these groups have their own respective sphere of influence in a community. Then there are citizen advocateswho don’t want to just take action – they want to feel part of a community that create change. Not everyone is born to be an organizer or want to participate in all activities in a community. It is important to maintain a core group to set a single, focused goal to provide direction, motivation and operational guidance. So when one shares the hashtag, there are communities who disseminate the campaign to other communities. Everyone did their share to amplify the message. A community of women calling themselves “Enough Women” gathered a list of signatories and took a stand against Presidential misogyny. I decided to write a blog post 30 examples of Duterte’s sexist remarks #BabaeAko

3. Online + Offline

Online advocacy should integrate with offline. They go together. Meetings with stakeholders and other women leaders are needed to push the agenda of an advocacy.  The campaign should not just be online.  Filipino women  marched from Luneta Park to Liwasang Bonifacio on Independence Day and made a statement against misogyny and sexism through the tarpaulin artworks showcasing the plight of women under Duterte’s presidency.

4. Take social a spin

No man is an island applies as well to a community. One needs to collaborate and amplify personal connections. Don’t just broadcast. Take action. Provide content to match the media like twitter, facebook and instagram. The #BabaeAko videos begin with a quick introduction of the Filipina authoring the post, followed by a short description of herself and a message to President Duterte. All videos ended with a brave declaration: “Lalaban ako.” (I will fight back)

Social media to drive Social Change

Social media tools are a central component of almost any movement and it is bound to change over the years. The most-used social media advocacy tools include blogs, portals, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram email, texts and chat groups (messenger, whatsapp, viber, telegram, signal).  Getting media to notice a campaign starts on twitter. Now you know how it started.

While hundreds of social media applications exist, one should start spending time and resources where your supporters are most likely to be. One then needs to integrate efforts for better overall results.

There are just four skills to remember . The Dragonfly Effect best explains as follows:

1. Focus – hatch a goal that will make an impact

2. Grab Attention – stick out in an overcrowded, over-messaged, noisy world

3. Engage – make people connect with your goal

4. Take Action – empower others, enable them, and cultivate a movement

Using social media as a tool for advocacy works because of “low (or no) hard costs for set-up; potentially wide reach; quick/instantaneous sharing of messages; new opportunities to listen, engage, and monitor your progress.”

Social media users have done it before and we must continue to do it over and over again not just because we are capable of it, but because we must.