It’s no surprise that Filipinos are among, if not the most, active users on social media platforms and websites today. This extensive use of trending social networking apps in the Philippines can be traced back to its culture. Friendliness, hospitality, and strong familial bonds are key Filipino traits that contributed to the country having a large online presence. Their need to stay connected with friends and family members around the globe makes Philippines the world’s social media capital.
But lately, the downsides of the massive popularity of social media platforms in the country is starting to surface: one of which is the harmful spreading of fake news, leading to some sites tearing down dummy accounts and pages that intentionally misinform its audiences. However, studies have shown that despite the growing pains caused by the use of social networking websites and apps, it has actually brought a lot of benefits.
Here are some of the positive ways social media is affecting Filipinos:
3. Social networking platforms give people a sense of belongingness through online communities
Among the best benefits anyone can get from social media is that it makes it easier for people to find others who share the same interests. Most apps and social networking sites come with group messaging or community page features that allow members to share pictures with friends, exchange ideas and collaborate. Almost every hobby or topic you can think of, even niche subcultures have established online communities, as social media has made it possible for anyone to join or start groups.
One great example of such is the Curly Girls Philippines (CG Philippines) community. In Asia, straight hair is known to be the standard beauty ideal which casts aside women who are born with naturally curly hair. CG acts as a safe space for women all over the country to exchange tips and product recommendations. Through CG Philippines, members find the encouragement they need and an opportunity to educate each other. On the Curly Girls Philippines page, there are even photos and testimonials proving how the group has helped them restore their confidence, properly care for their hair and embrace their God-given curls.
Many online communities foster creativity and growth by hosting public discussions and inspiring content creation. In the case of the /nosleep community on Reddit, members submit short stories subject to the critique of the group. The /nosleep subreddit has become so popular and gained a loyal following that it eventually spawned a Podcast and countless videos on YouTube of different creators interpreting top entries.
2. Mobile messaging and video calling has effectively enhanced connectivity
Being one of the top labor-exporting countries, Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs for short, rely on social media to stay connected to their loved ones in the Philippines. All thanks to the free services that offer online video call, chat and voice messaging, OFWs have a cost-effective option to constantly communicate with their families and friends at home instead of just snail mail. As of 2018, around 33% of users use mobile messenger applications, which is still a larger chunk of online activity compared to watching videos at 26% and playing games at 23%.
Aside from bridging the gap between great distances, apps with messaging features never go out of demand as more and more people desire to stay connected. Mobile messaging has made it easier to communicate with others as most platforms now include additional features that help us understand each other better. Emojis, stickers, GIFs, and photo sharing features in messaging apps helps users clearly convey their thoughts and emotions, thus improving connections between people.
1. Trending content on social networking apps and sites show an increase in empathy
The internet is no stranger to emotional content. A quick browse on social media will already garner you a few sad animal videos and a widely-shared post about tear-jerking stories of success or whatnot. Some people even find fame after having their pictures or videos retweeted, reposted, or shared: this shows that many have been genuinely touched by it. In the Philippines, a local TV show called “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” (KMJS) usually scouts for trending stories and incorporate it into their episodes. This practice has gone on for years that when a new story is starting to rise, it’s the users themselves that tag the KMJS team on the post to make sure they see it.
This observable increase in empathy has also helped a lot of meaningful causes broadcasted across social media platforms. One of the most popular cases would be Ica Policarpio who went missing last year and was found three days later with the help of a movement on Facebook with a searching hashtag, #FindIca.
The Filipino sentiment of “Bayanihan” or the community teaming up to help a member in need is very much alive online. Social media has also evolved to become a platform for helping others in the form of fundraisers and awareness campaigns you can access with a simple hashtag.
Looking for a new social media app to try? EyesUP’s easy-to-use mobile messaging, video calling and photo sharing features can help you stay connected with your loved ones in the Philippines. Download EyesUP today and join a growing online community of users from around the globe!