2018: The year is So­cial Me­dia

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion - (ne­fluc­zon@gmail.com) BY NEF LUCZON

In­side Co­gon Mar­ket, there were three side­walk ven­dors hav­ing a thor­ough con­ver­sa­tion while ca­su­ally sell­ing their goods. One of them, ap­par­ently the one who brought the topic up, has shared the de­tails with a tone of de­fi­ance and dis­gust. Ap­par­ently her hus­band was caught cheat­ing with an­other wo­man.

“Ka hi­las ra atong bay­hana! Post-post pa sa Face­book uban sa akong bana unya gaingnon nga…” (The au­dac­ity of that wo­man! Post­ing on Face­book with my hus­band and said..).

I never went into the de­tails of the whole con­ver­sa­tion, but sure I can still re­mem­ber it now, as I passed by them while the the mar­ket was filled with peo­ple and ve­hi­cles, as the heavy traf­fic slow­ing the pace of move­ments due to hol­i­day rush.

It was not de­lib­er­ate, but ev­ery­day you tend to hear dif­fer­ent peo­ple from dif­fer­ent age and eco­nomic sta­tus groups ca­su­ally con­vers­ing on the mat­ters that may or not be rel­e­vant to you. They talk busi­ness, they talk about their lives or other peo­ple’s lives, they an­a­lyze, and they also cre­ate ru­mors; and in ad­di­tion, there will be a strong chance you will hear them shar­ing sto­ries they’ve read from so­cial me­dia.

Even in in­for­mal con­ver­sa­tions, from the drink­ing spree in the cor­ner of a sari-sari store, to the “bu­dots” gen­er­a­tion of the Filipino masses; they watch ‘flip top’ rap bat­tles, lis­ten to “un­der­ground” mu­sic, and even flirt within the am­bit of so­cial me­dia pres­ence. This was not the case back then, or at least two decades ago. Even on that side­walk ven­dor like the wo­man who was scorned by her cheat­ing hus­band and his mis­tress.

Be­fore, when a group of peo­ple es­tab­lish in­for­mal con­ver­sa­tions, like, in­side the jeep­ney, they will share what they’ve heard on ra­dio and news­pa­pers or mag­a­zines; they will share what their cor­re­spon­dences de­liv­ered to them via post mails, and some­times what they’ve seen on tele­vi­sion, re­call­ing some episodes of pro­grams they’ve watched.

To­day, we may still rid­ing on the same jeep­ney but con­ver­sa­tions evolved by shar­ing what we see mostly in so­cial me­dia, from the cryp­tic posts of the peo­ple they knew and to the con­tents that went “vi­ral” to the pub­lic con­scious­ness. Even for peo­ple who work in jan­i­to­rial or house­keep­ing (house helpers), they are more in­ter­ested now in their mo­bile phones. Through free data, they share these con­tents to the peo­ple they know, and they talk about it on their free time.

And with that kind of di­ver­sity in users, it has cre­ated a very rich source for in­fi­nite pos­si­bil­i­ties in busi­ness and mar­ket­ing. Plat­forms like Face­book and Twit­ter, are no longer just mere “so­cial net­work­ing sites,” to con­nect to peo­ple, but even­tu­ally it is now a me­dia plat­form in it­self, and at the same time a dig­i­tal free mar­ket for busi­ness en­ti­ties and other or­ga­ni­za­tions to to con­nect to peo­ple.

As early as 2009, so­cial me­dia are con­sid­ered as hy­brid el­e­ments for pro­mo­tion mix, hav­ing the ca­pac­ity for busi­ness en­ti­ties to en­gage with po­ten­tial cos­tumers in a tra­di­tional dy­nam­ics yet through mod­ern means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“The emer­gence of In­ter­net­based so­cial me­dia has made it pos­si­ble for one per­son to com­mu­ni­cate with hun­dreds or even thou­sands of other peo­ple about prod­ucts and the com­pa­nies that pro­vide them. Thus, the im­pact of con­sumer-to-con­sumer com­mu­ni­ca­tions has been greatly mag­ni­fied in the mar­ket­place,” said W. Glynn Man­gold, au­thor of the “So­cial me­dia: The new hy­brid el­e­ment of the pro­mo­tion mix.”

More than con­nect­ing to the peo­ple you have missed for a long time, and fam­ily that you in­tend to stay up­dated; these so­cial me­dia plat­forms have be­come a mer­chant of vast ar­rays of things be­ing in­tended to sold to so­cial me­dia users - from tan­gi­ble to in­tan­gi­ble things; from com­mer­cial to ide­o­log­i­cal and po­lit­i­cal.

And now we are in 2018, at the eve of yet an­other mas­sive po­lit­i­cal cam­paign­ing for 2019. Since the 2016 elec­tions, we wit­nessed how so­cial me­dia be­came a bat­tle­front of di­verse be­lief sys­tems, to the point that it bred fake news and trolls, and even a cult fol­low­ing. Ex­pect next year to be­come more sin­is­ter, and so­cial me­dia will be­come a tool again for a larger scale of in­flu­enc­ing peo­ple and con­di­tion­ing the minds. To be con­tin­ued.

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