According to Inq7, the Philippine Computer Society has finally given up on staging the much-ballyhoed "Digital Pinay 2005" competition, amid vicious criticism from certain sectors.
I take offense to how they decided to make their critics seem like the villains in the equation, though. That's the main reason why I felt I had to write this. Allow me to rebut some of the points they attempted to put across in their whitewashing of this whole sorry mistake.
PCS President Monchito Ibrahim had this to say, and I quote: "We really feel frustrated about the whole thing. Because sometimes you have good intentions, but some people really have negative feelings about this. In the end, I just had to say I don’t think this is worth the effort."
Unfortunately for him, he fails to realize that the road to Hades is paved with good intentions. I personally did not place too much doubt in their good intentions. They probably just wanted to help. From a mainstream point of view, they had a great idea, poor execution. From a Communication Arts point of view, they had a great idea, but poor marketing. Had they marketed this whole thing as a genuine beauty pageant instead of a flimsy attempt to find new "leaders" in the I.T. Industry, I think that they might not have received as much flak from people. Of course, there would still have been detractors (Miss Universe has that every year. More so would something like this.), but the mainstream would be more forgiving because there was no blind attempt at deception.
Of course it's frustrating to have one's pet project go down the drain. I think I understand why he doesn't seem to see where the "negative feelings about this" were coming from. Despite that, I really think he should have been prepared to anticipate something like this. Perhaps they need to hire a better PR agent or something? Sure, any publicity is "good" publicity, but given how rarely the PCS is heard from in the mainstream, bad press like this needs more than a cease and desist order.
As for Mr. Leo Querubin, the PCS special projects chairperson, he had this to say when asked about what he learned about the whole debacle: "Well, actually a lot. One is that people really think differently. I was very surprised at the public briefing that some people apparently feel that others don’t have the right to use a word [such as] ‘digital’ differently from the way they use it... If the compromise had been given a chance to work and we had pooled our efforts, I think we would have pushed through with this project. But sadly we received vicious reactions."
First, he is trying to make it seem like people are being elitist about their construance of the word "digital". I believe that is beside the point. I personally wouldn't care if the word "digital" or "analog" were tacked onto the title of the whole event, and I'm sure that the I.T. people likewise see more important considerations about the whole pageant than merely the word "digital". That, I believe, is merely a nitpicking point, and is not as relevant as the massive PR oversight they have made from the moment they "missent" the application forms with vital statistics in them. I think that their flippant and dismissive attitude against all their detractors made it very clear that they were setting themselves up for trouble. It's quite difficult to imagine how they managed to underestimate the power of a fairly vocal blogging community when they are supposedly very much involved in I.T. themselves.
Secondly, he is assuming that the "compromise" was "not given a chance". At least two people in bloglandia have commented that they may have misgivings about the whole thing, but the situation bears watching. If they actually took that into consideration, maybe that should've been a hint for them that the project wasn't quite beyond salvation yet. Instead, they decided to be obstinate about the whole deal, dismiss detractors as prudes (They just said it in a really nice way.), and drop the project out of frustration.
Well, that's that for them. But from an outsider's point of view, I really think they should hire a good PR agent. Any bad press they are now getting has been the result of ill-deliberated reactions to critical situations any decent PR man should've seen coming.
On a personal note, I commisserate with them in that their project failed. However, I firmly believe that the project itself, despite the noble intentions, certainly needed to be polished first before they haphazardly carried it out.
But whatever, neh? I'm just a Comm Arts graduate from the PR and Advertising track. They seem to believe they know better.
What was it they said about giving people enough rope...?