Monday, November 23, 2009

Pinoy online power produces CNN hero of the year

A week after Manny Pacquiao's heroic feat, another Filipino is heralded a hero in the world stage. Efren Peñaflorida, who started a "pushcart classroom" in the Philippines to bring education to poor children as an alternative to gang membership, has been named the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year. He fully deserves the award but he definitely cinched it with a lot of help from his fellow Filipinos' online power.

According to CNN, Peñaflorida has been selected after getting the highest number of online votes. More than 2.75 million votes were cast for 7 weeks. An email campaign to vote for Peñaflorida was made. Obviously many responded.

This is not the first time that the Pinoy's online clout has been felt by the world. In the online voting for the new seven wonders of the world, we had three scenic spots that crowded the top spots in the early going.

In a similar vein, in the Miss Universe pageant where the Miss Photogenic award is decided by text votes, contestants from the Philippines always manage to rank high for the award. As in the case of Peñaflorida, the Filipina contenders really deserved their rankings, but the text votes of our countrymen surely helped.

Even Manny Pacquiao benefited from the Filipinos' online strength. He is no. 24 in's Top 49 most influential men in 2009. He dominated ESPN Star Sports "Champion of Champions" 2008 survey, beating out Michael Phelps in his historical Olympic feat. The online Filipinos helped a lot by putting Pacquiao on top while sliding the other top contenders down to the bottom. Online voters are asked where they want to place sport stars in the list. They pulled PacMan up by voting him high and dragged the others' rankings down by indicating them as least influential. Voters can vote as many times as they want in that poll..

Trust the Pinoys to harness people power into online power. Ah, if we can only be united in other aspects as well....

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