How Kris Aquino KO’d Mocha in social media


This week, two social media titans duked it out on Facebook: In the right corner, an infamous singer-dancer/sex columnist/controversy magnet turned Communications Assistant Secretary, Mocha Uson. And in the left corner, Kris Aquino.

Here’s the blow-by-blow: The viral verbal slugfest began when Mocha defended President Duterte against the online uproar over his “consensual” kiss with a female OFW in South Korea, by resurrecting an old video of Kris’ father, Ninoy Aquino, getting kisses from two women on the airplane. Kris, hurt from the low blow to her father and mother’s memory, countered with a powerful combination of a long Instagram post and a 17-minute Facebook Live video. In it, Kris Aquino unleashed a coup de grace against Uson whom she challenged to a telenovela-esque catfight, because as she admitted “Balahura din ako eh!”

In this bout, Kris is the undisputed champion, scoring a decisive victory with nothing less than an apology from the President himself. Her virtual face to face with the most visible DDS ringleader inspired the #LabanKris hashtag, which not only made 240,000 impressions on Twitter, but also become the new battle cry for the online opposition.

Meanwhile, Mocha’s 22-second video response was a flop, which caused the President’s Special Assistant, Bong Go to get stumped when asked by a reporter if Uson is still an administration asset or is now a liability.

How did Kris win this fight on the world’s biggest social media platform when she’s considered the underdog compared to Mocha whose 5.6 million strong following on Facebook, makes her the undisputed social media heavyweight here (Kris only has 1.5 million).

First of all, don’t trust all the numbers especially page likes, which are now considered “vanity metrics,” more fluff than purpose. But what Kris’ Facebook account has is “engagement,” a blanket metric that includes the public likes, comments, and shares and a better gauge of one’s influence online.

When we measure this, Kris Aquino’s Facebook video response gained 6.2 million views, 70,000 shares, and 145,000 comments, as of this writing. Meanwhile, both Mocha’s videos (the one about Ninoy and the non-apology to Kris) only garnered 3.9 million views, 53,000 shares, and 19,700 comments.

Kris Aquino’s social media moves are also viral gold because they score well in the Valence-Arousal-Dominance model: a scale commonly used to categorize emotions and is key to understanding what makes content wildly popular in social media. I’ve used this to explain in the various trainings I conduct why some YouTube videos get more traction than others.

By definition:

Valence is the positivity or negativity of an emotion. Happiness has positive valence; fear has negative valence.
Arousal ranges from excitement to relaxation. Anger is a high-arousal; sadness is low-arousal.

Dominance ranges from submission to feeling in control. Fear is low-dominance; admiration, is high-dominance.

Kris Aquino’s video response stirred a negative emotion with the general public against Uson. In the VAD model, the more negative the valence, the more viral it becomes. Yes, Mocha’s malicious video was infuriating, but majority of her nearly 6 million followers didn’t think so, in fact, they shared her belief. Thinking that it was the sentiment of the majority (at least in their online sphere) most did not feel the need to share the video any further.

And because Kris Aquino’s response angered a lot of her supporters (and also non supporters who abhor Mocha), this high-arousal emotion triggered an avalanche of comments on her post. On the other hand, social sharing was overwhelming in her video because it is connected with feelings of high dominance (inspiration, admiration).

Content that makes one feel good about themselves (fighting for what’s right, social justice) is more likely to be shared than something that’s not. Aside from this, we can’t deny the fact that Kris, being a seasoned TV host and popular actress, said a few meme-worthy lines (“I am ready for you… I’m not sure you’re ready for me”). In comparison, Mocha delivered duds (“This is not about you Kris.”).

All of these are instinctive for Kris, who’s been in the limelight since she was campaigning for her dad at seven years old. And in social media, instinct trumps training all the time.

Kris, with her 54 product endorsements and brand partnerships, has mastered the art of shameless social media marketing. Wasn’t she the genius who clapped back on an Instagram basher with a Chowking halo halo treat #ParaYouCanChill and reminded everyone that she can wash her dirty laundry in public (hello, James Yap) as long as she uses Ariel Antibac with the power of Safeguard? While threatening Mocha, she also never forgot to mention her “Pantene hair and Ultherapy face.”

While the dust has yet to settle on this social media showdown, Kris already seems to be on a roll. She reunited with her former co-host and friend, Cristy Fermin, ending their six-year spat with an exclusive radio interview on Radyo Singko that was streamed on her FB page. Companies keen on jumping on the bandwagon, sent her goodwill gifts, which she never fails to mentionon her Instagram.

Love her or hate her, Kris Aquino is the golden goose of content…the gift that keeps on giving. She knows all eyes are on her and makes sure the spotlight remains there even when the light bulb gives out. And that what makes her the pound-for-pound #SocialMediaQueen.

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