Seven nights ago, I was browsing my Facebook news feed. While scrolling down, a picture shared by a page I have liked on Facebook really caught my attention, pushing something from inside of me to share it on my timeline. But I knew sharing it won’t be the end. Now you might be wondering what the photo was. It’s the one above.
Forgive me, if ever I offend a few with this post. Anything you read here reflects my own views and not of others. I don’t have anything against the person in the big photo (although for a fact, I don’t like him, as simple as that) but I do have something against how a few of the people of our generation today tend to wallow in too much awe with things that are not really that important.
If you know me personally, you know that I support a lot of advocacies, I’m involved in different any organizations, and that my beliefs are not usually that of the same of others, although I don’t take it up until the extremist level. But I can’t really explain what I felt when I shared that photo. If I have knowledge what “I couldn’t agree more” in different languages would be, then I would have bombarded the caption with different translations of that.
This issue is something I have long noticed ever since I was in highschool. I say highschool because that’s when I really started observing and reflecting on things. Back in elementary, I was focused on facts (blame it on my being a newswriter for our school paper and rigorously trained for presscons in the said field) and I really had a hard time generating my opinion or something of that sort. Approximately, only three out of ten (3 out of 10) of my batchmates (during highschool) were aware or are more than interested to have their eyes opened regarding social issues both in and out of the country. Only a few out of more than a hundred students would voluntarily watch news programs, talk about current events and be diligent in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities as students in and out o the school (i.e., studying hard, voting during school elections, etc.). Those three are most of the time labeled as nerds, geeks, and know-it-alls. Yes, stereotyping at its finest when you only want to do your part as a responsible student and citizen of this country.
During my time (which is not so long ago, of course), circa 2005 until 2009, social media could be compared to a budding flower. Friendster was the “in” thing and it was a requirement to solicit testimonials from your friends. When Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites (SNS) came into the picture, “life” was ruined. Okay, it wasn’t actually ruined but a lot of things came up. Not that I’m saying Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey ruined our lives because of their ideas. But life before and during the SNS era are waaay beyond different. No, I am not against SNS because I’m an SNS savvy myself. What I am against is the way people, most especially of my generation, use it.
Admit it or not, the internet and social media have contributed to the way people of our generation act. You know, the way we talk, dress, act and express ourselves. And again, I am not suppressing anyone with the way they want to express themselves. But people should know what are the boundaries to this freedom of expression.
Let me dig deeper.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve seen any of these in your SNS feeds or while randomly browsing the internet:
- Facebook pages which post pictures of unknown people and compare them, “Sino mas maganda? Si Maria o si Rosa?”.
- Unsolicited reactions to current events (which don’t have any factual basis at all)
- Photos of girls going loco over local and international celebrities
- Guys sharing photos of girls wearing skimpy outfits
- Rants, rants, rants everywhere
- 1 like = 1 prayer posts (which is actually of no relevance)
- Jeje trends (i.e. JoseAndMariaFollowMeBack, JoseAndMariaNoticeMeNaman, etc.)
- “Sorry Ma, Pa, bakla po ako” tricks when guys forget to log out their Facebook accounts
- Negative criticisms that again, have no factual basis at all
Sometimes I want to deactivate my Facebook account because of all the pretentions and the unreality of some posts I see. About a month or more ago, I was annoyed with girls who kept on posting whatever NBA team they were rooting for yet they don’t even know all the players of that team or their previous stats. I mean, for real, what would you get out of that trying to get hard to be in the trend? When something national comes up, people become instant PROFESSIONAL and cannot-be-opposed critics who post things as if they know everything. And what makes me sad is that all they can see is the negative. I don’t know what’s up with humans that they can’t bear to see other people succeed. Oh, tell me about crab mentality. A very good example would be President Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday. A few of the tweets I read in my Twitter feed were of detest about PNoy’s coughing and stuttering, his inability to mention a few other issues and how the people were so inattentive while listening to his SONA. They wouldn’t even focus on what he was discussing. I mean for real, would you have been the President of the Philippines, would you have done better? Why can’t people appreciate the way others exert effort in whatever field they are in?
I think that’s the magic of the world wide web. We become what we can’t be in person. We become so brave and post whatever is in our minds without actually thinking of what the consequences will be. We instantly transform into expert and chronic critics. We swim in a vast ocean of information and yet we choose to float in unnecessary knowledge (such as celebrities breaking up or the way your batchmate had this and that “accident”, and so on so forth). But do we even TALK about things that actually matter?
Ask them if they know what’s happening to our country and they’ll bombard you with facts about the Royal baby. Ask them if they know anything about the current problems the different government agencies are facing and they’ll feed you with information about the latest gossip on local and international celebrities. Scan their SNS sites or ask them random, serious and senseful questions and only a few will be able to answer without even consulting the internet. They are even unaware of sea creatures that are endangered, they are too complacent about things that matter. Ask them why they exercised their right to vote last May, ask them why didn’t even bother to register. I will be more than sad if they don’t even know the exact lyrics of Lupang Hinirang. They know more of others than they actually know themselves. Know for a fact though, that I am not saying that ALL of us are in this wavelength. But there’s just too much to be sad about.
Our generation is too caught up with a lot of distractions. That’s what my Mum told me and I agree with her on that one. The world gives us too much, too much that we can’t handle it. The world offers us too many “escape” options, most of which leads to a miserable life. But at the end of the day, is there all there it is to it? After the criticisms and the passion over things that are temporary, what’s next?
What if we turn this sad reality upside down? What if we lessen the time we spend on the internet and look for advocacies we can support? What if we take time to actually watch the news and understand what are country is undergoing? What if we commit ourselves to join organizations not for the sake of taking opportunities but giving them? What if, for a change, we feed on knowledge from books and not from searching sites in the internet? What if we sit down with our friends for a while and talk about social matters instead of talking behind someone’s back? What if we actually become the change we want to see in this world?
If we show much passion equivalent to the way we feel about the latest trends, then I deem that our country, and even the world would be a better place. No, my faith in humanity hasn’t fade away just yet. I know it won’t as long as I have faith in God.
Dr. Jose Rizal said, “Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.” Let’s do away with pinpointing the blame to people in the government and any higher authority. Let’s do way with criticizing them on how they are not “doing anything” if we don’t make any steps to contributing solutions to whatever we are facing. I hope that the youth of today would reflect on this one and ask themselves the question PNoy addressed yesterday, “Ano ang inaambag ko sa solusyon?“