We are who we are in #socialmedia PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 20 March 2016 15:16




Hello everyone. I’m back. Nine or so years have passed when I last wrote a column for a local paper. I’ve been writing on and off about stuff in blogs, but writing for print is way better. It feels great to write again.

Up front, I would like to say thank you to my mentor, editor and good friend Don Roy Ramos for allowing me to share my rants in Daily Zamboanga Times. Gracias sir, this is indeed a privilege.

Now what will you, dear friends expect from this column? I’m thinking commentaries on social media topics, technology, books, movies, food, music, personalities, and etcetera. Just feel-good stuff. To cut it short, Basketcase will talk about anything I hear and know about, in the hopes that the information I share may be of some use to you.

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Some of you may remember MySpace, Yahoo Messenger, Tagged, MIRC, and of course, Friendster from a long, long time ago. Today, it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and an assortment of others that basically do just the same thing.

These days, it’s very easy to share just about anything online. All you have to do is take advantage of cheap unlisurf promos (or if you got the cash, then go for plans). Anybody with a smart phone and a few pesos can have access to the world of social media and all the intricacies that go with it.

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We see many groups, organizations, and now (ugh!) politicians that use social media. They can be very effective advocacy, marketing and propaganda tools simply because you have an audience. You can get your message across to people of diverse demographics.

In fact, statista.com estimates a billion and a half active users worldwide for Facebook alone. In the Philippines, there are approximately 30 million users from all age brackets. That means your kids, and even your grandparents and that person who claims to be a relative in Merloquet have at least signed up for Facebook.

The bad thing about it is that in social media, people easily believe what they see at first glance. Here’s a tip: be an intelligent netizen and don’t believe everything you see on Facebook, just like in television or even in the papers. Pictures can easily be edited. Stories can be fabricated. Give me a picture of you and I can make you appear making out with Ellen Adarna. Or Piolo Pascual. I can even pass on a credible-looking news article with a credible-looking photo about aliens invading Zamboanga (I actually did this several years back and was stunned at how some people were ACTUALLY close to believing it).

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Facebook and other social media have ushered in a period where anybody can be an instant celebrity. True enough, a lot of Pinoy *artists* have had their 15 minutes of fame for their talents, exceptional or ridiculous.

The good thing about this is that people who deserve to be recognized, well, are. Even simple, kind acts like a policeman helping an old woman cross the street, a trike driver who returns a passenger’s lost wallet – candid photos of these and other inspiring acts end up being shared widely by netizens. A politician running for office doing similarly kind yet trivial things, well that’s another question.

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Another good thing about social media is that more and more people have become more vigilant with their smartphones against people who do wrong. Take the recent case of Gaylord Santos, the “beast-mode cop”. You may have seen him on social media as that man wearing a tucked-out police uniform who assaulted a motorist somewhere in Manila. Angry netizens shared the video, posted disgruntled comments as it went viral. Turns out he wasn’t a real cop after all.

Here in Zamboanga, I have seen a lot of irate posts towards tricycle drivers. Passengers complain of rude, overcharging drivers and post photos of the plate numbers. Whether these posts reach the authorities (since they need passengers to personally file formal complaints) or not is a completely different matter.

And who can forget Zamcelco? It has been the subject of literally thousands of angry posts for the malignant power outages.

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Social media has become a reflection of people and society in this modern age and every single post has a consequence.

We cannot simply stop people from sharing absurd photos of their feet, their contorted faces, their mid-day snacks, of them sipping coffee. We cannot stop them from sharing a photo of their first (or second or third or tenth) time at the window seat of an airplane, captioned with a profound, life-altering quote. We cannot tell them to shove their #OOTDs up their behinds because it’s a free country and anybody is entitled to their sense of fashion, misguided as it may seem. It’s their right to share their achievements like getting a new iPhone or finally learning how to drive; and struggles, like being turned down on a date by that hot co-worker — even if nobody cares.

As long as it’s not offensive and it doesn’t break the law, sharing things online is totally fine. Social media gave us that freedom – to show the world who we are, even if we look like idiots half the time.

Sheryl Crow sang “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad”. So follow your bliss. But remember, using social media is a responsibility. If you are to share a photo of your first payslip, be sure to tag us and take us out to Paseo de Jardin in Pasonanca for a good time. Cheers! Kampai!

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Quote for the day: “Always pass on what you have learned.” – Master Yoda — You can reach me at basketcasedzt@gmail.com.