SONGSOPTOK : The internet revolution has deeply impacted our modern society that can be compared to the discovery of electricity. Today we can’t think of the internet without the social media. When and how did you first discover the social media?

CAROLINE:  I  had a Computer Education course in college S.Y. 1999 that required us to create an e-mail account, so I created my first Yahoo email account, that was when I first discovered instant messaging and speedy communication.

SONGSOPTOK : As far as interpersonal relationships are concerned, the power of the social media today is undeniable, allowing us to communicate in real time across the globe. What is your opinion about this? What are its advantages & disadvantages?

CAROLINE:  Interpersonal relationships come in various contexts, including family, relatives, friends, special  someone, colleagues and more. Social networking sites had been our springboards to immediate online communication, advertising, learning, networking, publishing and ‘’e relationship building’’.

‘’With the world in the midst of a social media revolution, it is more than obvious that social media like facebook, twitter, orkut, myspace, skype etc., are used extensively for the purpose of communication. This form of communication can be with a person or a group of persons. Today most of the people specially the youngsters are hooked on to the different social media for keeping in contact with their peers. Social media is media for social interaction as a superset beyond social communication. There are pros and cons to the use
of social media. One most important advantage is the online sharing of knowledge and information among the different groups of people. This online sharing of information also promotes the increase in the communication skills among the people especially among the learners/students of educational institutions.

‘’There is also a flip side to the use of social media tools. Sometimes, such tools are misused by people which leads to interference into one‘s privacy.’’  (Trisha Dowerah Baruah, International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 2, Issue 5, May 2012).

When we engage so much time in facebook and other networking sites, we tend to break our familial bonds. I have also learned from my  GSS-Computer 1, some health concerns will also arise like  suffering with Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), Tendonitis, Eyestrain, Computer Addiction and Computer Vision Syndrome. Ergonomics or the applied science devoted to incorporating comfort and efficiency in our workplace should also be considered

SONGSOPTOK : We have noticed that social media has become a powerful vector for personal expression and creativity, because we no longer need the approval or approbation to publish. Our creativity has found a new channel for addressing a global audience. What is your opinion about this?

CAROLINE: If our creativity has invented techno-wise,  web-based information-learning platforms, asynchronous links/sources for classroom instructions and  means of reuniting with long distance relatives and partners, I think we should also consider the ‘’channels’’ on how to be effective, responsible, and disciplined social media users. What we post and share to our global audience will reflect our character, our  personal background and ‘’the who-you-total-package’’. We do have virtual audiences with different outlooks, perceptions, statuses and lifestyles, therefore, we need to implant that ‘’extra-sensitivity’’ in ourselves.

My student in Study and Thinking Skills shared her thought: 

“Let us use social media to inspire and not to harm others. Let’s take the opportunity to learn, to be a good influence to our younger siblings and to every people around the world’’. ( Sheila E. Burquillos, PSU-BC, BSE I-2)

SONGSOPTOK : In this context, it is also true that any and everybody today can claim to be a writer, a poet, or an artist on any number of social media. We no longer have a standard for appreciating true talent – a role that was played by editors or different types of experts. What is your point of view? Do you think that the power of social media have served to create more charlatans than proper artists?

CAROLINE:  In my own point of view, by nature and nurture, one can claim he/she is a poet, artist or writer. We don’t need to be called ‘’proper artists or experts’’ in order to showcase, exhibit our talents. Each one of us is considered an artist in our own rights, regardless of standards, criteria and parameters imposed by the consulters, honorary canons or literary Conans. If the ‘’true professionals’’ can only offer free tutorials and free trainings to improve others’ works, then there will be a better functional map of talented artists. I don’t support scam artists or frauds flagging stolen artworks. Proper acknowledgment and crediting should be taken into consideration. Impostors are usually questioned with their incompetence, unoriginality and obsessiveness to deception. Nowadays, social media is a powerful tool to recreate and generate artist’s original works and worst, publishing stolen works.

SONGSOPTOK : Would you say that the social media has contributed to bringing societies and cultures across the globe closer? If not, what can be done to make it a more powerful tool?

CAROLINE:  I think so, social media have been an important tool in bringing societies in cultures across the globe closer. The immediacy of multilingual and multicultural interconnectedness is a result of social media. The rise of social media play a vital role in globalization, facilitation of cultural exchange or intercultural adaptation, worldwide capitalism, and unifying economic forces.

SONGSOPTOK : Would you say that in general the users of social media are actually aware of its potential, both in the positive and negative sense? In other words, do you think that the average user is aware of the possible reach of social media and the consequences it may have? What is your own experience?

CAROLINE:  For me as a professional teacher/English instructor, researcher and blog user, I explain how the negative side outweigh the positive side. In our social-mediated instruction as a teaching strategy, I always ensure that internet ethics or netiquette is always reviewed and integrated. I have my own Ten Commandments In Smart Use Of SocMed
(Social Media) for the students before using the social media in their educational tasks, these are the following:

       By: Caroline Nazareno

1.     Thou shall not make Facebook  and any networking site/s as your life’s ‘’every-second-god and guide’’.
2.     Thou shall not rely to the ‘’trending or viral gossips’’, try to further investigate before arriving  a defined-breaky-conclusion.
3.     Thou shall not allow social media ruin your interpersonal relationships. Honest and heart-to-heart, face to face communication is still the best solution.
4.     Thou shall not take for granted that your privacy is liked, seen, and shared by the universe.
5.     Thou shall not steal others’ works; give due and fair acknowledgment.
6.     Thou shall not provoke  or make ‘’unholy virtual tasks’’, including bullying, hacking,  annoying, stalking, harassing and character-assassinating.
7.     Thou shall not post indecent selfies/ groufies that you will regret for the rest of your life.
8.     Thou shall not use other’s usernames, passwords and identities just to defame or be famed.
9.     Thou shall not sell or buy SNS ( social networking sites) just to encourage more followers or likers and create ‘’mysterious agenda’’.
10 . Thou shall honor thy parents, teachers and elders, especially when they remind you about your ‘real future’.

Let’s find out how my students also perceive the ‘’responsible use’’
of social media, it’s good to know , that they understand how social media affect their lives.

“ Many students are taking advantage of social media, internet is really getting more sophisticated, that is why we need to have that ‘’responsible use’’ policy.’’ ( Thalia Camella T. Melendez, PSU-BC, BSE I-2)

‘’Wikipedia, google and other websites should really be sources of information, but not windows of sexual exploitations and grounds for cyber crimes’’. Social media affect our mindset. It does help us in many ways, but we should use it for a good purpose, for a better community’’ ( Andrew Abalos, Mariel Ann Bacani, & Jet Michael Dela Cruz, PSU-BC, BSBA I-2)

‘’ Social Media somewhat give me comfort especially when I watch educational videos in youtube. I am always reminded by my parents, that not all ‘’stuff’’ are good to be seen, there are also some negative views or scenes that are not suitable  to my age even to other  young social media users.’’ ( Ron- Ron C. Macaranas, PSU-BC, BSE I-2)

‘’ I believe that social networking sites are not the perfect replacement for face-to-face communication. I still prefer to speak to someone dear to me personally. I also find it as a ‘’distraction’’ to me as a student.  I am doing mullti-tasking everytime I open my facebook or instagram, and I must admit, it affects my academic performance.’’  ( Mary Joy L. Tibay, PSU BC, BSE I-2)

SONGSOPTOK : Social media is often considered to be a true reflection of human society. What is your opinion? How would you evaluate the image you see today in the context of the society you live in? How true or false is the reflection?

CAROLINE:  Social media is an evolutionary tool to reach out to other side of the world. It’s grandiosity reverberate more connections, where we connect to others’ feelings, share same interests, experiences, meanings of events happening or ‘’life stories’’. As we maintain and update our online presence to expand our networks, we are also facing considerations to eliminate the ‘’real and ideal self’’. Our followers will perceive our profiles posted as the presentations or reflections of who we are. Sometimes, social media are becoming the ‘’wild, wild west propaganda’’. We never know  if the 10 % out of 100% is true or hoax. Sometimes, these SNS ( social networking sites) are created not only to inform, to entertain, to educate and to influence, but sometimes, it’s image is being perceived  as the misuse   of what is proper and right. Through internet, we can create the ‘’online persona or avatar’’ that we want, the person that we want to portray opposed to who we really are. We are spinning-doctors of ourselves, ‘’highly-curated’’ image to appear good, young, and famous. We create our seas of inauthenticity and unhealthy transparency. Some play extreme Narcissus problems. As humans with creative and reasonable thinking, we should use these exciting tools as intended, consider self-regard but not a total obsession.

SONGSOPTOK : The advent and the trivialization of social media is today’s society seem to be have erased the difference between virtual and real. Would you agree? What is your own experience?

CAROLINE:  I agree. Nowadays, newfound relationships  somehow are based on virtual realities which later turns to divorce and break ups. Real face to face meet ups still have more sincere, honest, deeper commitment and stronger  foundation. In my own experience, it is also a ‘’sweet achievement’’ when I had the opportunity to meet my virtual friends in real world and real time. May I share this reading about the advent of Social Media: ‘’Social media has ‘’revolutionized the way we communicate, our work, life and personal life – in a nut shell it changed our lives. Fast forward this by a decade and we have seen another revolution – advent of social media – a platform(s) where people come together to generate and read content. The explosion of this media is primarily driven by people’s interest in sharing information.’’ (Seshu Madabushi, 2014).

According to Dr. Rachna Jain ‘’Social media is changing our relationship styles in several important ways. First, it’s allowing us to connect with more people more rapidly. Second, it’s easy to overestimate the level of intimacy of our online relationships.

Third, it makes us more susceptible to a sort of social media contagion effect, which means you may possibly start adopting behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs from those within our social network. Fourth, social media facilitates comparing ourselves with others, which may have positive or negative effects.’’

SONGSOPTOK : In your opinion, has social media contributed to breaking down of traditional rules of social relationships? In what way? How would you analyze the impact of social media in this context?

CAROLINE:  Yes, social-mediated communications contributed to breaking down rules of social relationships. That’s why we need to balance our online and offline life. The sense of making everything easier in just a click online, has also its complexities and turndowns offline. 

Author Russell Clayton’s research states that, ‘’excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating.”

‘’Neuroscience research has begun to examine how technological communication is altering our brains. These studies have found that the brains of individuals who spend a lot of time on the Internet resemble those of drug addicts insignificant ways.’’ Every time an individual responds to the ping of an instant message or text message, a small amount of dopamine is secreted in the brain as a reward, similar to being under the influence of drugs (Dokoupil, 2012). Consequently, humans are becoming addicted to these rewarding pings, just as with addicting drugs. In reality, as we spend more time on the Internet, our socialization with others in face-to-face is clearly decreasing as well. ‘’

SONGSOPTOK :  Do you believe that social media can play a constructive role for world peace and unity? Or on the contrary play a totally negative role by fuelling existing conflicts between nations and communities?

CAROLINE:  I believe, social media can play a constructive role for world peace and unity… Citing the organizations that I joined and actively participating in, the World Poetry Canada and International, Association for Women’s Rights In Development ( AWID), 100 Thousand Poets/Artists for Change, World Festival of Poetry and more. I have known and shared their noble causes because of social media. On the other side, social media should not be taken as  a tool in fanning the flames existing in our homes, school, society, and country.

SONGSOPTOK : How effective can be the role of social media as a tool of protest and action against all sorts of social ills and injustices?

YOUR ANSWER : For me, some social media activism/protests may have contributed to our societal problems, but not all social-mediated protests were that effective and succeeded, some had given risks and threats emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and economically. Sadly, some had even resulted to killings of people. It is not the ultimate solution to eradicate social ills and injustices.

Quoting here are three of five ways how social media served as a tool of protest; from Phoebe Magdirila’s article how social media wired and contributed a  source of  awakening in the Philippines in 2013.

Her article shows that ‘’Filipinos have made good – and innovative – use of social media’’.

Used in Disaster response. ‘’The nation’s web users had a lot to worry over on social media. The #RescuePH hashtag was put to good use on Twitter as a way to crowdsource and coordinate which areas need help the most after a disaster’’;
 Selfies as Protests. ‘’Filipinos put their own creative slant on this trend, turning the selfie and the combined power of social media into a form of protest. There were‘’hike in train fares, disgruntled passengers started the “Price the Hike” movement on Facebook and Instagram, in which users uploaded pictures of themselves in protest of the policy.’’

Scrutiny of Government Officials. ‘’Netizens turned their attention to scrutinizing politicians. In one case, two government officials were spotted playing Candy Crush while on duty, and the photo evidence exploded across Facebook. In another incident, when the vice-president gave out relief goods with his own name stamped on the bags, social media users were quick to accuse him of self-aggrandizement.’’

‘’Ukrainian Euromaidan protest movements labeled social media revolutions subsequently have been criticized for not having had much important activity on social media (Moldova, Arab Spring) or for having had a large social media presence but ultimately failing to make much of a long-term impact as a protest movement (Spain’s Los Indignados, Occupy Wall Street, Gezi Park in Turkey). In Ukraine, a government fell, a region was annexed, a civilian plane was shot down, and what some are calling a civil war continues to this day in the eastern part of the country. Clearly, the movement was consequential and, as we will show, social media usage was widespread and significant.’’

SONGSOPTOK : Lastly, we would like to know the impact of social media, if any, in your own life. What kind of journey has it been? What are your own expectations about the evolution of social media?

CAROLINE:  As a poet, journalist, educator,  peace and women’s rights advocate, social media is my ‘’internest’’, the nest/niche where my interest and passion posted and can be read. I share and post my poems and concerns responsibly via twitter, Google plus, facebook, wordpress, youtube, and more.  My skills and professional/educational backgrounds are also easily viewed by employers thru LinkedIn, it prompts my application to different universities and companies. It is also worthy accomplishment on my side, when my writings influence my readers. Many have already been telling me that they are being inspired, touched, informed, entertained and encouraged by my poetry. That’s really more rewarding. My own expectations about the evolution of social media would be: That social media may be our means to showcase our history, culture and productive settings with humane agenda; that it may serve as fair ground for renowned, emerging and ordinary artists; that it will be our immediate and direct access to all free educational resources locally and internationally; and lastly, that it may be a platform or avenue of empowering people whatever race, color, sex, status and belief. Thank you for this opportunity.



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