the oldies & social media

post-mislang there was The petty perils of tech and sosyal ek-ek from krip yuson, “an older writer’s diatribe about online youngsters and their tweeting ways” (as the editor puts it, in the intro to katrina’s response) even if it was also about facebook and blogs “demonizing” the “poor lady”:

All this excited, excitable talk about the glories of new media and sosyal ek-ek-working can really be only signposts to something possibly overrated. The jury should still be out on whether some benefits — like tweeting disasters and calls for relief aid, or finding long-lost cousins via Facebook to get up to speed on who’s won any Lotto draw — outweigh the nakedness of public spectacle, or expose the sloth of universal interest in what anyone may have had for breakfast, or how many corny pictures one can take at a barbecue party, thence parade onscreen as an imposition of generosity.

But then geeks, techies and faddists tend to view everything new with rose-colored glasses, like Manong Johnny who only wanted to make you happy. So the darned bandwagon begins to creak under the weight of too many cock-eyed optimists hailing a brave new world called the kingdom of sharing.

Whatever happened to the fine memory of Groucho Marx begging off from joining any group that would have him?

Sure, it fills the vanity void, expands virtual friendships. But what about the sensitivities of the poor lot who are defriended, or maybe worse, ignored, denied entry into private settings, or laughed out of an unsolicited tag?

I still don’t understand why one can’t just join a specific e-loop, which is like having a more intimate soiree, rather than have to cast one’s lot with a street hoedown where stalkers can turn up to foist their graceless manners and bad grammar on non-peers of greater cachet.

and then there was The connectivity society from randy david, an academic’s misgivings about the over-sharing on social media, and the loss of privacy, maybe daw even of our humanity.

THERE’S A theory in the study of social relationships that became quite popular in the 1960s. It was called “dramaturgical sociology.” Its author, Erving Goffman, adopted the Shakespearean insight that “all the world’s a stage,” and worked out a cool set of concepts that view human actions as sequences in the elaborate art of impression management. We want other people, he said, to see us according to how we wish to portray ourselves. Instead of leaving it entirely to chance, this is something we can control to some extent. Success is never assured. But we are not crushed when we falter: the audience is usually polite and helpful.

Goffman would have found the new culture of instant digital connectivity in which many of us today are immersed fascinating. Because of the radical changes in communications technology, our lives take place, more than ever, in what he called the “front stage.” In other words, we are constantly performing. Between performances, we find that there’s less and less time to retreat to the “back stage,” to take a break and be ourselves.

Our solitudes become public. The most intimate of our relationships, in which we used to be able to take refuge, can be viewed by people we hardly know but who are part of an ever-expanding social network. We are trapped in roles from which increasingly we cannot take a rest. We can no longer talk in whispers, or tell a joke that will not potentially be a scandal. It has become difficult to indulge in private moments that we’re sure will not be photographed, or recorded, and posted on YouTube or somebody’s Facebook.

Mobile communication instantly connects us to an amazing number of people everywhere, all at the same time. This has multiplied exponentially the power to do good and to spread the good news. But it has also empowered meanness. It has made bullying not just more vicious because of its capacity to be anonymous, it has also made it virulent. By providing easy access to the various media of public discourse, mass connectivity has democratized opinion-making no doubt, but it has not made it as easy to come to any agreement on what is to be regarded as true. Indeed, it has also become the most effective tool for repeating and spreading a lie. We may keep a tally of the number of people who “like” a particular opinion, blog, tweet, or post. But that only tells us what’s popular at any given moment, not necessarily what’s true.

as an oldie, too, but female, who’s been blogging since september 2007 and posting on twitter and facebook since early 2010, i wonder if it’s a macho thing, the writer’s and the intellectual’s shared disdain of social media – to join would be to succumb to a weakness?   or it could also be a class-sort-of thing, they who snub social media deem themselves a breed, a class, apart – it is below them to rub virtual elbows with a mean and disputatious techno-mob?

or it might even be just a mainstream-media thing, the two being old-hands at column-writing, opinionating, in the arts & opinion sections, respectively, of their broadsheets.   suddenly they don’t have a monopoly on “what’s true”, theirs are no longer the only opinions that matter, suddenly they’re competing with and/or being criticized by self-proclaimed writers and thinkers on the internet who are into the worldwide web of wide-ranging and relevant information that democracy requires and who love passing stuff on, and sharing their own ideas and opinions, just because they can.   yes it doesn’t make it easier “to come to any agreement on what is to be regarded as true” and it may also be a “most effective tool for repeating and spreading a lie” but the same can be said of print and broadcast media.   mas virulent nga lang sa social media because of the reach, across all computer-literate thinking classes, and because of the radical feedback, forward, and re-post devices.

and so post-pilipinaskayganda what a surprise to read Unoriginal from alex magno, an oldie but goodie?   even if a mainstreamer, too, an opinion columnist too, he seems to have no problem with social media.

In this age of social media pervasiveness, a consensus could be formed in the public mind within hours. That consensus is freely arrived at by all the participants in the sum of all blogs and tweets on a particular matter. It is, therefore, a consensus that can no longer be reversed.

We were made to understand that the “strategic communications group” — or at least part of it — was organized to manage the social media environment. That was, as we now see, probably and erroneous premise. Indeed, how could the social media be managed? How could this administration even dare aspire to manage the social media environment?

When the hostage tragedy happened, government portals were flooded with hate mail. Some portals were actually taken down by the sheer volume of mail coming in.

When Mislang made that casual comment about the quality of wine served by the Vietnamese, the outrage over the sheer lack of manners and pure pettiness of the comment flooded the blogs. Special websites were set up as impromptu public billboards to accommodate all the indignation expressed.

This week, the provocation is that completely unoriginal DOT campaign logo. This is a controversy that ought to have been avoidable. Before making that logo public, the DOT might have quietly conducted focus group discussions. They did not. They simply threw out that logo to the public to be feasted upon by the bloggers .

Today, for all intents and purposes, the public resoundingly rejected that logo. No need to do “public consultations.” That is so 20th century. The public review is done. It was accomplished in the world of social media. Traditional media can only echo the consensus that only social media can forge at such speed.

of course magno’s thumbs up could be just politics, ‘no?   unlike yuson and david who are identified with the president, magno is identified with the ex-president.   still magno had great hopes for aquino.   once upon a time he thought aquino could be a game-changer, and now that it’s not happening, well, it’s great that he has the sense to appreciate rather than denigrate social media’s awesome powers.

these oldies should give social media a try.   really, it’s all quite easy to learn.   one doesnt have to be a geek, a techie, or a faddist, one doesn’t need the latest gizmo, to blog, twitter, facebook, and google.   neither does it mean a serious loss of privacy – there are ways and ways of calibrating one’s engagement with the online world.   kanya-kanyang diskarte.   true, there are meanies out there, i mean, here, and there are many who wear rose- if not yellow-colored glasses, what else is new, microcosm of the macrocosm.

but yes, it does take receptiveness to the new and the radical, and an openness to criticism from left right and center.   no sacred cows here.   if all the world’s a stage, all the world’s a critic too.


  1. “Before making that logo public, the DOT might have quietly conducted focus group discussions. They did not. They simply threw out that logo to the public to be feasted upon by the bloggers .”

    they did not throw out the logo to the public. they launched it spending several millions from the budget.

    The way magno worded the statement, he impressed some kind of floating the concept and see what happens.

    the DoT is ready to adopt it. It is not only a focus group discussion which is needed. A test market to the target clientele is a must in any product or idea. obviously and as admitted by the ad agency, it has not come to that phase yet. And yet champagne was already flowing. Invitations had been sent. Ano dry run lang yon?

  2. angela,
    ang di ko maintindihan, bakit sinabi ni Lim na walang perang nagastos, eh nakapirma siya doon sa voucher na nagkakahalaga ng 3.7 million for approval?

    sabi niya wala siya noong event, siya ba yong nagtotoast kay Binay noong launching?