2018: The year is Social Media
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.