5 things I learned about Filipinos on the internet during elections
The 2016 Philippine National Elections were tiring. It’s a blast of many things – inspiring productive conversation, killing apathy, reading barrages of live news and choosing which ones to get information from. While I felt well-inspired by some parts of it, it also left me tired by the end. The internet became an important tool for communication and information this election season, and it’s when it brought out both the best and worst out of Filipinos.
1. We are more involved and vocal.
Most of us have a strong concept of how our society should be run, which is why when candidates offer to implement our ideals for us, or if they stand for something that we look for in a politician, we try to convince other people to support them too. And so we share. We like. We retweet. We comment. We reply.
Society involves everyone, so we feel like we’re in a better position to influence others because they’re also involved. Engagements in sports, favorite TV shows and other topics weren’t as talked about as the debates and all the political news this past election season, so I guess it’s safe to say we’ve confirmed that we’re really vocal people even when it comes to politics.
2. A lot are quick to spread unverified information.
If only I didn’t have better things to do, I would have saved all the posts with unverified information, compiled all of them, refuted them and tagged everyone who shared it with a “pasikatin” caption.
“Uy something to support my beliefs, headline pa lang. Share ko na.”
Countless times, we’ve seen [badly written] satire articles, but the elections brought out a larger wave of them, some coming from blogs without the proper sources to back them up. We’ve seen words put into politicians’ mouths, and we’ve seen so much propaganda on recent and buried history — and yet we continue to share them. Is it because it’s what we want to hear? Maybe. Like what I’ve said above, we want to influence others. Maybe even at the cost of misinformation, we’re willing to do so.
So you’ve seen a headline irresponsibly shared by your friend, what do you do now? Believe it if it looks legit, click it, read it, and maybe if it matches with what you want to hear, share it – going back to number two.
“Mukhang totoo naman. Detailed pa nga yung pagkakasulat. Biased talaga yung *insert all news publications here*.”
Verify everything. That’s what schools teach us. Cite your sources. That’s the right way.
4. Easily angered or offended, aka, pikon.
We get so mad when people tease us or even offend us — but suddenly, it’s okay if we do the teasing or the offending. It’s baffling. This isn’t exclusive to the elections, and it’s not even just teasing. Way before, we Filipinos get so offended when foreigners and upper classes look down on us, but little do we realize that we inflict the same racist jokes on our competition in national sports gatherings. Heck, we even attack Binays because of their skin color. And with the power of the internet, some resort to cyberbullying.
*Foreign identity takes jab at Filipinos*
Filipinos: “[email protected]#$%! Di niyo kami kilala. Biased kayo! Ano ba alam niyo?! I-boycott na yan!”
Filipinos: *makes bad jokes on fellow Filipinos, the smell of other races and other generalizations*
5. Ready to sacrifice friendships
So here’s something I’m semi-guilty of.
It was only this elections that I realized that some of my friends were extremely shallow-minded, and some of them won’t adjust their beliefs accordingly when they’re presented with verified facts. Convincing them proved to be very difficult for me, so I simply muted them, unfollowed them, or if they’re not even someone I personally know, I unfriended them. In my opinion, I did the right thing though, since those were facts – but there are some others who simply disagree on opinion, and they cause wars in comments sections and unfriend each other in real life.
You: Bakit siya yung iboboto mo? T*[email protected]#! ka ba?
If your friends reject facts, maybe it’s time to reconsider the friendship — but if you’re merely disagreeing on opinion, then hey, that’s nothing to fight over. At the end of the day, we both want the best for the country. I can like Chickenjoy, and you can like Chicken McDo. At the end of the day, Fried Chicken lovers win.