Rate of growth in the take up of social networking among Filipinos is among the highest in the world. From just 160,000 in July 2008, the number of Facebook users in the Philippines grew by huge leaps to 2.7 million in 2009 and then 14.6 million in 2010. The rate at which Filipinos are infesting Facebook is astounding, indeed. And while our immense numbers go on to pad Mark Zuckerberg's score card, the question remains:
Are we adding intellectual, social, or cultural capital to the community?
It is, quite evidently, a question that transcends the technological or physical nature of any community that Filipinos migrate to in our usual breath-taking numbers.
The illusion of celebrity
Social networking democratised celebrity. Suddenly we have the power to shout out our thoughts to the world at the click of a mouse or a tap on a touch screen. Trouble is, that power is yours -- and hundreds of millions of others. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame. Most celebrities, however, earned their fame either by, being pretty, being widely-liked, doing something exceptional, and/or doing something original.
Believe it or not, on the above bases you can take a quick test to see whether or not you are, in fact, a real star. Just answer the following questions with a simple "Yes" or "No".
(1) Are you pretty? [Y/N]
(2) Are you widely-liked? [Y/N]
(3) Have you done something exceptional? [Y/N]
(4) Are you generally original? [Y/N]
If you answer "Yes" to at least one of the above questions, then you have what it takes to be a social networking star.
But, see, that part of the test is the easy part. If you are still reading this you are probably now interested in what sort of star you are. So now comes the more revealing aspect of the test, and it has to do with which question you answered your Yes's to. So get a load of this:
Type 1: If you had answered Yes's to either or both Questions 1 and/or 2 only, then count yourself amongst some of these gems of humanity: Kris Aquino, Willie Revillame, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, and, yes, our dear Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
Type 2: If you had answered either or both Questions 3 and/or 4 only, you'd have the distinction of being amongst greats like Dolphy, Alice Cooper, Paul Giamatti, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Angus Young, Nora Aunor, and Winston Churchill.
Then there are those who answered more than one Question with a Yes and whose Yes's straddle across the above two classes. Never mind those, because they make discussions like these boring. Besides, by my anecdotal reckoning, at least 60 percent of Filipinos would probably be hard-pressed to answer a "Yes" to more than one of the above four questions to begin with.
And that is what makes this exercise really interesting.
This will bring us to some recommend New Year's resolutions that I plan to dish out to the Filipino of the Second Decade of the 21st Century. It is an important set of resolutions around what it really means to be a savvy "social networker", considering we are, for the first time, ruled by a presidency that was built on (and often succumbs to) social networking.
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