SOCIAL media has become an integral part of a modern man’s life. One could simply interact with others with just a click of the mouse. People log in to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to catch up with loved ones and make it seem that distance is never really a hindrance. But apart from that, social media has emerged into something greater. From strengthening ties with family and friends, it is now working on building a nation. The government hops in with the netizens for the ride towards the “daang matuwid.”
According to 24/7 Wall St., the Philippines is dubbed as “The Social Networking Capital of the World.” The country has dominated Facebook at a penetration rate of 93.9%. Filipinos rank eighth on Twitter at 16.1%. The numbers clearly show that the most effective way in reaching out to Filipinos is through the web. The Philippine government sees this as an advantage to catch up with its citizens. Like a parent using pop cultural references to get along with a child, the government is learning the internet language in order to relate with its people.
At the height of the Habagat wrath, Twitter served as a medium to coordinate efforts coming from different sectors. Hash tags “#reliefPH” and “#rescuePH” were used as a systematic way for distributing goods and mapping out routes to help pick up those who were stranded in flooded areas. PAGASA tweeted updates on the weather, while MMDA switched on the green light by tweeting names of passable roads for the convenience of the motorists. Malacañang did its share by releasing official statements encouraging people to use the hash tag “#PHAlerts” so no Filipino would be left behind.
The 21st century is powered by technology, the internet leading the way. Older generations might believe that the internet is turning humans into robots. But as seen with what the country had faced the past month, it was through the active participation online that men proved they still have the control over their keyboards. And out of the social media madness, Filipinos could still foster the bayanihan spirit in lighting up the world, one post at a time.
By Francesca S. Pangilinan