Janette Toral

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Should you allow your kids and teenagers access Facebook?

In Home on September 30, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I was a guest at DZMM last September 28 and had a minute conversation about Facebook and Teens. Many thanks to Dine Racoma for recording it.

Prior to the interview, Winnie shared that her kid is asking for her permission to create a Facebook account and wants to use her e-mail address. Ariel Ureta, on the other hand, has a policy on his kids can only use Facebook whenever he is home.

I think kids will know about Facebook sooner or later either through family members or classmates. I will always suggest to parents to be more proactive and supervise their kids instead in the use of these platforms. This rather than being done secretly and you’ll be surprised later on that they are already in trouble.

On the positive side, social networking through Facebook can help a teenager express themselves and build self-confidence – especially if they are shy in class. I have seen students as well who created groups in Facebook to coordinate school organization activities and work together on projects.

On the extreme side, bullying and school politics can also extend online. This is the reason why parents need to converse regularly with their kids and share news once in awhile on social network abuses and the likes, talk about it, so that they can be aware of the do’s and don’ts. Knowing further that you will be there to support them in times of trouble.

Of course, adults need to serve as good examples as well. I have seen couples argue online through social networking sites, sharing their relationship troubles (then they reconcile later). If your kids, nieces, nephews are also online (and are your friends in these social networking sites), it may cause confusion for them later on should they commit the same act.

The part 2 of this interview happened last September 30 which was a bit longer and here’s the video as well.

In this video, Winnie talked about a documentary she got to watch about cybercrimes in the U.S. and what is being done to run after “predators”. Then she asked what is being done here to protect the youth online.

I told her that we don’t have such tightly coordinated initiatives yet. We are more reactive and done proactive when it comes to law enforcement. In reality as well, these cases are rare and therefore when it happens, the publicity they get is extraordinary.

However, the concerned people in communities (whether school or special organizations) can do educational awareness on this one. Give heads-up and dialogue whenever negative uses and implications of social network misuse happens. This way, if something similar arises, these teens will already have a comfort level on who should they talk to and seek for advise. 

Related reading:

My Perspective on Cyber Bullying for Teenagers, Teachers, Educators, and Parents


Flickr account finally active

In Empire Avenue, Internet on September 30, 2011 at 4:17 am

One of my biggest satisfaction to date in being part of Empire Avenue is I began connecting to people via Flickr. I have been a Flickr user for quite sometime now. Oftentimes, what frustrates me is the lack of interaction and responses there.

However, joining Empire Avenue where you are incentivized for having an active Flickr account, I now find myself more diligent in uploading my event coverage photos and promoting them. Connecting with folks in the network results to visits and surprisingly active in commenting.

Janette Toral Flickr Stats

Flickr stats improving as activity increase.

This prompted me return the favor and even share interesting stuff in my Tumblr account.

I made another attempt of creating a group in Flickr and name it as Flickrista Empire. Started with a share a guitar photo activity. Hopefully, some folks will take an interest to participate.

Search Engine and Social Media Strategy Talk at Robinsons Lease Marketing Summit 2011

In Home on September 27, 2011 at 10:57 am

Just delivered a talk on “Search Engine and Social Media Strategy” at the Robinsons Leasing Summit. This is a 3 day event happening at Holiday Inn Manila Galleria.

I was asked to deliver a talk similar to the one I gave at the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association (HSMA) Membership meeting last August 17.


Coincidentally, some of the participants knew me as well through my recent social media stint at the Philippine Retailers Association annual conference.

It is amazing how can one event lead to another that makes you all the more value each connection you make. Take the case of the HSMA event where I was referred by the daughter of a hotel sales manager where I gave a talk at their school.

I hope my sharing will lead to more opportunities for the group of companies to foster social media that will eventually lead to e-commerce transactions.

What makes a great hotel?

In Home on September 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I am sure that each one of us has an answer to that. Having traveled and experience staying in hotels from simplest to expensive ones, I have a minimum standard of amenities desired in a hotel. It includes:

1. Wifi

I can’t stay in a hotel today that doesn’t have wifi. This must be accessible inside the rooms. I think gone are the days when this is a separate bill / charge. Nowadays, it is included as part of standard hotel service.

2. Breakfast

A good breakfast can help you last the whole day. Best if the hotel provides a reasonable offering to make it filling and nutritious too. When in the U.S. last month, I usually had one heavy meal (from the hotel) and light snack in a day. Oatmeals a must to aid your digestion.

3. Tipping appreciated but not expected

It is great to be in a hotel when there is no pressure to give a tip. I don’t mind giving one but I feel that this must be deserved rather than feel compelled to give so. It can be for a great service. Like housekeeping staff replenishing your toiletries. Adding some special touch in your room – like a special fold on bed covers that wasn’t there when you first checked in, among others.

4. Adjusting to your needs

I have been in contact with hotel personnel, oftentimes in banquet sales, for quite sometime now due to events I organize. It is great to meet people who are flexible and adjust to your requirements.

Sharing the above list makes me realize – what makes a great hotel is all about people that make these offerings an experience – oftentimes undermined.

This is a reflection I now have as I look at all the pictures in “Celebrating the Personal in Portraits – 35 Years of The Peninsula Manila“. They featured managers and employees working for the hotel as they share experiences, values cultivated, and ideals stand for.

I must admit when I was there last Wednesday, the importance of the photos did not immediately sinked in.

But after thinking about it, as I write this blog post, it gave me ideas that these kind of photo exhibits are a great celebration of the people working behind the organization. To make the public also appreciate what happens behind the scenes.

Although taking a step further, it would be great too if they featured loyal guest to show how much relationship they have built through the years.

“Celebrating the Personal in Portraits – 35 Years of The Peninsula Manila” is worth checking out if you are a regular visitor of the hotel. But even if you are not, I am sure the photos will give a lot of inspiration that you can also use in your business or organization. It will also make you look at the hotel staff differently – proudly working for The Peninsula Manila.


As early as now, I can visually see how these type of photographs can also be explored as a project in the DigitalFilipino Club. Soon!

Realities: Manga, Japanese Comics, and where is Filipino Komiks?

In Home on September 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Last Wednesday, I decided to take a break out of my normal work-at-home schedule to visit museums and check out their offerings as part of the Zero-In Art Festival.

One stop I made on this day was the Ayala Museum to check out Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics.


My appreciation of the exhibit is a bit limited as the art work shown, most of it, I am not aware of. Although I have my dose of manga and anime, mostly captured on film.

I think I may have been visiting the Lopez Museum too much as the Ayala Museum exhibit made me wanting – of seeing a nationalist side to it. In the last Zero-In: Periphery where they featured ceramic sculptures from all over Asia, even though I was not able to visit it, I got the impression that there was also a local participation to it based on photos gathered.

As I reflect on all the Japanese Comics materials in the exhibit, I was at awe on the quality of work. Was even excited when I uploaded the photos for was certain that friends will check it out.

But as I write this blog post now and reflect on the exhibit, I can’t help but feel sad and ask why Filipino Comics was not put in paralled on that exhibit to provide an enriching cultural perspective. I think there are enough materials from events like Komikon that can be featured. It can be from the perspective of Japanese-Filipino collaboration or how Japanese comics have influenced modern day Filipino comics by showing samples of work in this area. 

Or is that the intent of the curator? To make us think that amidst all the ooh aahh on Japanese Comics, you will ask where is Filipino Comics? Is it lost? Is it gone? Is it forgotten?

A lot of the young people I encounter today who are interested in drawing comics – usually draw Manga or Japanese Comics style. Now it makes me ponder – where is Filipino Comics going? Will the likes of Darna Lives be just a pigment of my imagination?

Will we just use comics for our personal intentions – to satisfy an agenda? Once done, we hardly care where it will go. I hope not.


CEO of Empire Avenue Writing Index

In Empire Avenue on September 25, 2011 at 6:07 pm

I have been one of the many Vice President in the Writing Index of Empire Avenue for quite sometime now. For the past 48 hours, I saw how 2 community members there became President for a day.

Janette Toral is CEO of Writing Index in Empire Avenue

Janette Toral got the CEO of Writing Index status in Empire Avenue as of September 26, 2011

I said last September 8 that I will play Empire Avenue till I reach the CEO level. That just happened now. Did not became CFO or President first, I just zoomed to CEO.

However, seeing how competitive the Writing Index is, I won’t be surprised if this won’t last for 24 hours too.

But for now, let me just celebrate in this post for reaching this milestone and say that my game objective is accomplished.

If I will summarize what I have done in Empire Avenue, here’s what I can give.

  1. Invest in communities.
    Don’t just buy from anyone. There are a lot of folks in Empire Avenue who are just after dividends. Go for players who are out there to build relationships such as those who spend time having quality conversation in communities.
  2. Sell lowest earning shares when eaves are needed.
    There will be times when you need to sell shares so you can buy new ones. I will usually visit my portfolio and sort them according to earnings. I view the lowest ones and start selling those in that part that have not reciprocated or put my shares at an equal match to what they were able to invest in me. At the end of the day, prioritize in keeping the relationship.

Marry me?

In Empire Avenue on September 25, 2011 at 12:49 am

I just received an email this morning via Empire Avenue where one of the community members I invested in asked me to marry him (in a joking kind of way).

Marry me offer from an Empire Avenue contact

Surprised to receive this email earlier. Amused. 🙂

I know my share price is kinda pretty now. Let’s just trade shares. Lol.

Got a Google+ Preview Connection in Empire Avenue

In Empire Avenue on September 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Just got a notice from Empire Avenue this morning that I got chosen as one of the 50 to have a Google+ Preview Connection.

Google+ Preview Connection email from Empire Avenue

Glad that I got one of the 50 slots for this.

As the API connection is only at its preview, it will not be used for scores, share prices, earnings or dividends. However, I hope to learn from this experience and see further as to how Empire Avenues fares with Klout.

Google+ connected to Empire Avenue

After receiving the e-mail notification, proceeded in making the connection. Let's how it will go.

Empire Avenue User Achievement Tracking is better than Klout

In Empire Avenue on September 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I began using Empire Avenue last August 1, 2011. Like many users, I plugged in my social networks to serve as an input to my network score. Later on realized that their advisors section serves an interesting stats tool to monitor improvements in one’s social networking activity.

While reading a discussion thread on Klout, I began reviewing my declining score. I noticed that I wasn’t sharing as much articles as I used to in Twitter but active in other platforms and getting responses too. And so how Klout computes partly confuses me. (is it heavily biased on Twitter activity?)

Klout Achievement

Noticed that my Klout Achievement has not update at all.

Then noticed that my Achievements section under Klout was hardly updating at all.

Facebook Likes tracking in Empire Avenue

Empire Avenue gives eaves as an incentive whenever achievements or milestones get attained.

However, in Empire Avenue, achievements were given to me that has a Klout parallel.

Twitter Retweets Tracking in Empire Avenue

Empire Avenue tracks Retweets and give eaves whenever milestones are attained.

So it seems Empire Avenue is doing a much more serious job on user tracking compared to Klout.

Empire Avenue is now looking at Google+ too but has limited it to beta access at this time. Although Klout is faster in encouraging users to add their Google+ profile in the system, I only hope their scores reporting will be much more efficient.

DigitalFilipino Klout Profile

DigitalFilipino Klout style is "pundit". Just authorized Klout to plug-in to my WordPress and Google+.

A different sound at Reverb exhibit of Lopez Museum

In Home on September 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm


Made a quick stop at Lopez Museum yesterday to have a glimpse of the Reverb sound art exhibit at Lopez Museum. Same as the past exhibits, Lopez Museum did a great job in presenting this sight and sound collection from artists such as Eric Ambata, Kawayan de Guia, Tad Ermitaño, IC Jaucian, Diokno Pasilan, Ronald Tomas, the collaborative, E.X.I.S.T. (Experimentation in Sound Art Tradition), and UP College of Music ethnomusicologist Dr. Christine Muyco.

The combination of sounds coming from several installations brings a whole new experience to my ears. I enjoy sound art shows but putting them together in a museum format is taking it a new level.

The installations gave a different meaning, more than just a group of people playing their sound art in a show. It also aims to make more people appreciate sound art and what it is all about.

This exhibit is also part of the Zero In Open Call art festival.