Writing for the Web and Social Media: Four Filipinos to Follow and Learn From

Writing for the Web and Social Media: Four Filipinos to Follow and Learn From


When in Manila, everything and everyone is online. We have been called the social media capital of the world. Statistics back this up, but we don’t really need the numbers to realize how much the Internet has infiltrated our lives. 

Apart from #foodie, #selfie, and the occassional adovcacies in social media, what else could we do with it? Is there a possible career opportunity for us? If we have a business, how can we use social media to our advantage? If we are a professional, how can social media help us in branding ourselves? Is there a secret to social media success? A perfect time to post something?
I got to attend a workshop by Writer’s Block Philippines about writing for the web and social media, and my questions were answered by four experts in the field. Here are some of the things I learned from them, and information about who they are, what they do, and why you should follow them! 🙂
Social Media
The four speakers  were all knowledgable about the topic and had rich, hands-on experience in the industry. They showed how we could responsibly maximize use of the web and social media, and that there is an abudance of career opportunities and possibilities available on the Internet–especially because the Philippines is very active online.
 Social Media

1.) Nikka Sarthou-Lainez (@nikkasarthou) 

Nikka has over 10 years of experience in writing for various online and print publications, as well as developing content for corporate clients. Her last corporate post was Associate Lifestyle Editor at a major publishing company.

Currently, Nikka is a full-time freelance writer handling independent projects and corporate accounts. She is a Contributing Editor in Smile, the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air.


Social Media 

She talked about the evolution of writing and discussed how we transitioned to the online media.   Nikka showed the Internet’s history. It boomed in the 1990s, but because of the rise of the tablets and gadgets around 2010, the Internet boomed even more. This has drastically changed the way we consume media: we consume faster and more efficiently. Even big companies now are starting to invest more and more in having a stronger social media presence apart form what they invest in traditional media.
The rise of the new media allows news and other stories to come from all sources. Readers have a shorter attention span, so the challenge is to hook readers within ten seconds of clicking on your article.
With all these changes, there are many new opportunities. You could write for online publications, manage social media accounts, and  become a multimedia journalist. It’s up to you to maximize the available resources.


Social Media 

2.) Ana Santos (@iAmAnaSantos)

Ana has had over 12 years experience in advertising and marketing communications. Her last position was Assistant Vice President of a financial institution.

As an independent journalist and foreign correspondent covering sexual health rights and women in armed conflict, Ana has received media grants from Newsbreak, Probe Media Foundation and the Philippine Press Institute to cover population and development issues. She is also the Associate Editor of Illustrado, a Dubai-based lifestyle magazine for Filipinos.

Most recently, she was awarded the 2014 Persephone Miel Fellow by Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.


Social Media

Ana began her talk with a personal story. She described herself as a print journalist, and how she was unfamiliar with the digital world. But when she received a grant from Pulitzer, that all changed. She had to make a documentary, and she had to post dispatches on the field through Tumblr. “I’ve never done that, but doesn’t mean I can’t,” she said.
She showed the workshop attendees her works on Tumblr, Facebook, and the documentary itself. Some attendees laughed, cried, and some both laughed and cried! What’s interesting is how the written works, the photos, and the documentary all had the power to evoke powerful emotions. They were all about the same event and were about the same issue. It made me realize how much wasteful it is not to give your story another life through the different forms of media. We could now share stories across different platforms, which means it’s now a very relevant skill to have different slants and platforms for a story.
The bottom line is this: innovate or die.

3.) Stacy de Jesus (@StacyDeJesus)


Social Media

This girl has been live tweeting way back when it was not yet a thing in the Philippines.

Stacy is the youngest member of Rappler’s Core team. A pioneer in her field, this 20-something heads the Social Media Team.

Stacy is an online stalker… because she can. In her spare time, she eats trolls-of-the-internet alive, flirts with Rappler’s followers and sometimes writes the ditziest stories you can find on the site.

 Social Media

Stacy de Jesus was the third speaker. She is the Social Media Head in Rappler. She had a powerful eye-opener as her introduction. After showing statistics about how much of the Filipino youth is online, “If the youth is the future, then social media is the future.”
She talked about important things to keep in mind when writing for the web and social media: knowing your purpose, being consistent, knowing and engaging your readers, keeping them visually interested, and many more.

I like how her slides were backed up by the numbers, but she didn’t present them in a boring way. She gave so much practical tips and inside information only someone with such a rich experience like her could give. 
Is there a short cut or a secret to social media success? Is there a perfect time to post something? The answer is no. Apart from time-sensitive stories, (like the results of a basketball match) it is still best to go organic–make sure the content is worth sharing and reading, collaborating with influencers, conducting hang-outs, and once you are in a tipping point, don’t drop it. 

4.) Rosario Juan (@JuanXi)


Social Media


Rosario is a social media strategist for various small and medium enterprises. She is the founder of TweetupMNL, a meet up community for social media users that conducts monthly “tweetups” and annual Social Media Day celebrations; and is the Lead Community Manager for Google Business Group – Makati.

Ros is a digital strategist specializing in social media integration. She is passionate about community building and collaboration — helping the offline go online and enabling netizens to interact offline. Ros is a staunch advocate of social media for social good, leading and participating in causes such as #rescuePH, a citizen-led initiative to mobilize rescue operations during calamities.

Ros launched her inaugural entrepreneurial undertaking, Commune, a café in Manila’s central business district, Makati.


Social Media



Ros talked about the history of social networking in a humorous way. She emphasized the importance of content and engagement. Social media is a conversation, so the conversation has to be witty. Articles must be bite-sized, digestible, and scannable. Writers must come up with content that adds value, even if the account they manage is that of a brand. After all, nobody would want to read brand promotion everyday. 

She also emphasized the importance of observation. “Social media is a social experiment,” she said. That way, it is important to be sensitive to what is happening, what works, and what doesn’t. “Social media is not one-way. You should also be listeing to what they are saying.”


This is a very exciting time to be online. There is an abundance of opportunities and possibilities, and I’m glad I got to atttend the workshop by four experts who are leading the way. If you weren’t able to attend, you could always follow them on Twitter! They lead by example–and I’m learning more as I follow them. 

Writer’s Block Philippines also has an upcoming workshop:  “Social Media B2B: Social Media for Building Business” on October 11, Saturday, 1pm to 5pm at Fully Booked BGC. Slots get sold out really quickly, so this might be your chance to attend. 


See you online!


Writer’s Block Philippines
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WritersBlockPHL
Twitter: @writersblockph
Email: writersblock.ph@gmail.com

 Writing for the Web and Social Media: Four Filipinos to Follow and Learn From