Day 26 – There are no bad places, there are just bad people

Some months ago, I wrote about the benefits and the downsides brought about by Twitter.  My opinion remains the same, Twitter is a powerful and useful communication platform. However, the great opportunity Twitter offers unfortunately also provides a way for irresponsible users to misuse and abuse it. At the end of the day, the users are still the culprits.

Aside from Twitter, we don’t need to underscore the next most important social communication platform. Love him or hate him, but thanks to Mark Zuckerberg for Facebook.

I am a self-confessed Facebook addict too. But believe it or not, I got hooked to Facebook by some accident in the workplace. Friendster used to be my main social networking site. Like a typical Pinoy Friendster addict, I couldn’t last a day without checking my account. But after some time, Friendster was banned in the workplace. On those days when I am recuperating from the absence of Friendster,  my best friend in the workplace asked me if I have a Facebook account.  I told her I think I have a dormant Facebook account.  I remember signing up because a relative from Canada invited me.  To entertain ourselves with the loss of Friendster, I activated my sleeping Facebook account and that started my new social networking life.

My initial Facebook contacts were comprised of colleagues turned friends and later on expanded to long lost friends from elementary to college days, cousins who are miles away, students, and later on relatives. The ironic thing about some of my relatives is that I rarely see them despite the fact that we live in the same small city. Thanks to Facebook because I can catch up with them.

I have to emphasize my “relatives” because they prompted me to write this entry.

Days ago, my cousin asked me if I have been following the status messages of another cousin. I told her I wasn’t checking my Facebook account lately because I’m still adjusting to my 7 am schedule. Facebook was likewise banned in the workplace and its only at home where I can access my account.  Later on, I learned that a “cousin” has been ranting another “family of relatives” through a series of status messages. “Cousin” was apparently making the Filipino “non-confrontational confrontation” approach (parinig) or insinuating a particular person.

To be honest, this was not the first time my relatives were involved in this kind confrontation. My clan does not exhibit a family picture of peace and happiness. Sadly, I have seen some of them backstab, meddle and render that classic “plastic” (pretending to be nice) behavior. Worst is that they have extended their showcase of negative attitude to the cyberspace. They fail to realize that they are giving their hundreds of followers or even their innocent kids the opportunity to learn the negative side of the family. Yes even kids as young as seven years old have Facebook accounts in my family. The kids can navigate Facebook and the internet on their own. I have observed how a pc with an internet connection has become the easiest means to let kids behave and stay at home.  And if I were to be asked, I am not amenable to this practice.

I’m not saying the children should be spared from using the computer and internet. I’d rather see them using the computer as a mechanism to enrich their knowledge and once in a while, a means for decent recreation.

People have raised their opinions on the existence of Facebook and other social networking sites. Some dismayed and sworn to never buy the idea of having a Facebook account. While some or should I say most of us have embraced Facebook in our lives. We have considered Facebook a significant part of us.  Every milestone and significant occasion in our family, friends, career have an album that compiles those pictures. New places, new ventures, everything is documented in those photo albums. Birthday greetings, special messages to gossips, and the chat feature which enables us to reach friends to family members who are miles away. Even the business sector have benefited from Facebook. The Fan pages enable companies to launch products, host a giveaway or to some extent determine the feedback of their customers. Facebook’s good use is infinite. I’m sure the benefits that Facebook bring will continuously expand over time.

If there are beneficial effects, Facebook also has its own downsides. Unfortunately it became a means for people to do nasty things to punishable crimes.  Identity theft, bullying, quarreling, ranting, insinuating a person (parinig), creating blind items to point out an annoying person, showing off material possessions and experiences, and more commonly, a medium to burst out emotions, which became a hobby of my relatives and some of my contacts.

Identity theft through the cyberspace, I have heard stories of friends whose pictures were used to form fake Facebook accounts and worst were uploaded to malicious sites.

Bullying and quarreling is a common trend of status messages. In a week or even a day, I bet my Facebook wall will have one. “Nagmamaganda kasi,” (a figurative expression that pertains to females who keep on meddling and projecting the i-know-it-all image), this expression has been a common content of my Facebook wall. At some point, I felt that this was one of the reasons why Facebook was banned in the workplace.

Making “parinig” or to insinuate a person is another common trend of status messages. I see this as a coping mechanism or a means for people to burst out their annoyance to anger to a certain person. People who constantly make parinig are implusive or sometimes dressed brave, but deep inside they are scared of confrontations. They love to quarrel the hidden and safe way. And I will not pretend not to be one. When I just can’t handle an emotional outrage to a certain person, I used to release it through my share of 420 characters. But after some time, I often find myself regretting and later on erasing an outraged status message. The hard headed person in me realized that making “parinig” does not after all resolve the issue. It sometimes even worsen the problem. To some extent, I am also promoting myself to become the center of gossips.

My opinion remains the same, Facebook is only a platform or a medium of communication. A platform only serves its purpose to transmit information. It has no capacity to create evil and nasty things on its own.  Some external forces should be present to convert  it to an evil and nasty place. There are no bad places, there are just bad people.

If my Facebook wall is flooded with the rants, gossips, blind items, and unnecessary posts, can I blame Facebook? Facebook only transmits the feed of information. Who supplies the feeds anyway?

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