INDEED, times have drastically changed.

As we have long bid goodbye to snail mails, pagers, and black-and-white cellular phones, we have witnessed the advent of high-technology gadgets like laptops, digital cameras, and handheld tablets.

The Internet, although vast and limitless, has also become almost accessible anywhere at any time, which makes the delivery of information faster than ever.

With social media Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, among others, basically coursing through the Internet’s lifeblood, human communication has become incredibly and undoubtedly more powerful today.

The advertising and marketing industries know it best that the market has truly evolved. People are now into engagement and conversation rather than plain and empty messages. This is why advertisers make sure they inject their campaigns in social media tools.

But apart from its contribution to commercialism, social media has become an effective venue for expressing opinions with not much risk of getting “busted.”

Local issues, too, like the edited photo of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials and the Batangas Hollywood-like letter blocks proposal on Taal volcano sparked a lot of user-generated content from the Filipino community. Instead of blatantly lashing at the issues, Filipinos harnessed their creative skills make Internet memes a form of virtual street protest.

Even in times of conflicting ideas, we have managed to keep the humor afloat. The DPWH memes and Hollywood Pilipinas memes have become viral and even reached international news websites.

‘The best part about social media, in my opinion, is that it is a great avenue for advocacy.’

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A great example is the disaster brought by typhoon Ondoy in 2009. This made everyone on Facebook and Twitter talking and “re-tweeting” about numbers to call for help, relief operations, where to send donations, people missing who are to find, and updates on flood conditions in a particular area. Facebook served as a messenger to Filipinos by Filipinos and it was like seeing an online bayanihan happen.

More advocacies promoted on the social media are the turning off of lights during the Earth Hour, invites to beneficial runs such as the Run for Pasig, votes for the Palawan’s Underground River to put it on the new list of the Seven Wonders of Nature, and others.

It’s an online declaration of love and nationalism whenever Manny Pacquiao wins a fight or Miss Philippines wins a place in the Miss Universe¾Filipinos being proud that they are Filipinos.

The latest buzz on the local social media was the heartwarming reunion of aged couple Lola Aurelia and Lolo Luis, which was made possible because of a photo circulated through Facebook. The photo of Lola Aurelia with a flyer looking for her missing husband pinned to her dress was taken by a street photography enthusiast, Reddie Js. This photo was shared on the website 53,760 times, with hopes to help Lola Aurelia find her husband.

The Internet, through social media, has truly redefined how we communicate. It’s not just about the technology but relationships. Everyone is now connected to one another and this makes it easier for us to tell our story to our peers. It is now possible for us to have a voice at last.

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In sharing anything online anytime, we are able to yield inspiration. This inspiration, in turn, motivates people to act. What was once impossible can now be done.

All of these, even if they happen in the virtual world, are truly alive and human.


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