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?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  I am originally from the Philippines but now residing in Winnipeg,  Manitoba, Canada.  I have retired from my career as an Early Childhood Educator here in Manitoba. Before immigrating to Canada, I was an instructor at the Home Technology Department of the Mariano Marcos State University located in Batac, Ilocos Norte, my home city. 

Writing has been my hobby from my early years and it has become a passion to this day.

I was invited by my niece in Pennsylvania to join the social media (Face Book) around 2010, just to connect with family members. Not much was happening then, only to send family pictures or send greetings on holidays, birthdays, etc.   There were hardly any link to events, news and other information during that time. Social media has evolved tremendously ever since and it is now readily available to everyone, using all forms of technological gadgets of communications.

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?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  For me, personal communicating with friends and family in real time is great. What would be negative is when there are significant events being reported, the postings are so fast that somehow some facts may not be true or distorted. This is a difference from the “journalistic” points of view where facts are verified. There are sites without valid credentials that report satirized versions of news, misleading others.

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?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  Very powerful indeed. I have been writing poems and I started my poetry page, “Notes from the heart” in 2013 to post them. I discovered many poetry groups so I joined some to share my writings. T is a community page so I also feature other writers work and artistic expressions, paintings and music from other artists.  

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 playe[p think that the power of social media have served to create more charlatans than proper artists?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  I did notice a lot of people would join groups but not to post their works.  Some members just wish to collect numbers... “friends and groups.” for whatever their motives are.  Some also post comments to  sell something or call attention for their causes that are not related to artistic expressions.  It is sometimes hard to distinguish the “real poets” from those that simply want to voice out their concerns. However I also noticed that many who I consider “real artists and poets” would join similar groups which are administered fully well and that administrators have guidelines for their group sites. 

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?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  Definitely.  From my experience in posting to many groups there are many who are liking my posts from countries and places that I have never heard of before.  From the private chats with my new found friends, we share culture and humorous stories too.  Some respectable group sites have memberships from all over the world and members are featured monthly or given honors and awards during special events,  for their contributions.  Some are featured in anthologies and on line publications., an acknowledgment of their creativity.   

SONGSOPTOK : Would you say that in general the users of social media are actually aware of its potential, both in the positive finite 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? 

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  So far there are more positive consequences than negative ones that I have experienced.  What I would consider negative is the breach of copyrights as it is so easy to copy someone's works or ideas by many who can use it for their own advantages.  With the global popularity there is no way to prevent these from happening and even if it is implied to have intellectual rights to one's work... who really would impose the copyright laws?

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?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  Social media is now the “reality” of our society.  It has evolved because of the new technologies and knowledge of users.  Even a preschool child can access the internet nowadays.  People want easy and fast access to information and sharing nowadays.

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 you own experience?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  Although what we accept as “real,” it is sometimes trivialized as “virtual.” Again because of the way communication is shared.  Like when a post goes “viral”, one touch of a button, the information will manifest in every corner of the earth. Some people will create their own versions of the stories or photo-shop a picture, etc. I agree that there is no more distinction between facts and imaginary events at times.

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?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  I agree that social media has affected social relationships to a high degree.  Some people specially the ones who grew up with the new technologies do not communicate with others the way it used to be. Instead of face to face verbal exchanges most people send text messages, or call through their cell phones even just talking to a neighbor. Posting instant pictures or messages can also have positive or negative impacts depending on the intentions of the person doing so, whether to help others or to harm. 

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?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  It can work both ways.  The call for peace and unity can be achieved fast but how many people are willing to contribute their time and efforts to heed the call? On the other hand there are people who recruit for unworthy causes.  People would agree to participate either way because of their motives and vulnerabilities believing that they would become “significant“ for their causes.

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?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  Social media can spark at any time to induce mob reactions wherever and whenever there is a perceived injustice or social ill, such as police unfair treatment of civilians, or walking for cancer cure  etc.

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?

BENEDICTA RUIZ:  Social media has impacted my life in a more positive light than I could imagine. As I have said earlier, I use it to share my creative work, my poetry. What I read from the information links, adds to my knowledge. Inspirational quotes and verses have uplifted me when I am feeling down. I use the media as a refuge from this busy world as I could identify myself with some of the “written words.”  Music videos and humorous anecdotes to me are spices of a happy life available at any time and chat lines are venues to connect with friends and family around the world without spending so much on long distance calls. As long as I do not indulge in it 24/7 I think I am okay with it.


We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


No comments:

Blogger Widgets
Powered by Blogger.