Discover the Tech-Savvy Culture of Filipinos Online: Insights of Alaine Obra
In 1989, the World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee. Shortly after, the Internet was made available to the public in 1993. Fast forward two decades, we now have supercomputers in our pockets. They technically are, right? Talking about the evolution of technology reminds me of times when my mom would ask me something I have no idea about, and she’d ask me to look it up…while she’d have her phone in her hand. We, the people of 2023, literally have the world in our hands. Now we even have everyone! Social media is a huge part of our society and habits at this point.
A Filipino Online
Everyone knows — or maybe you’ve noticed — that Filipinos are very active online. We go crazy with it. Priding as one of the countries with the most social media users, we make sure to keep all of them updated. It’s rare to find a Filipino that isn’t on at least one. It’s kind of cute, honestly, it’s like the innate community-centered mindset we have. I mean, what do you do on social media? You connect with people!
Filipinos use a huge variety of apps. The biggest one, though, is Facebook. It’s the first form of social media used by millions, may they be teenagers, or old grannies! Even my 80-something grandpa has one! He doesn’t know how to use it — he doesn’t even know how to answer my calls. Big sad. Tied with that is Messenger, which they split now, I believe. You can have a Messenger account without having to make a Facebook profile. Then Instagram, of course. Then Twitter, TikTok, Telegram, WhatsApp, and so on.
I was pretty active back in high school and early college in the Philippines. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time, social media helps pass time when you’re stuck in traffic for more than two hours…in a public bus…with over 50 people inside it. Sometimes it would even be the first thing I’d check when waking up — I know, unhealthy.
SocMed in the U.S.
Beginning my journey in the United States (studying and living), I thought everyone had the same perspective on social media. Or at least the same “habits.” After about two years in, I can say for myself that the differences in online activity are as vast as Filipinos. The most noticeable distinction is the kind of apps people use. Here, iMessage or texting is the best way to contact people. What if you don’t have their number? Too bad, buddy. Next up is Instagram, for the younger generation. I was surprised by the amount of times people asked for my Instagram before Facebook — turns out the latter is used more by the mature demographic. Like in class at TMCC, in a group work per say, numbers or usernames would be exchanged. Snapchat, too! I used to think “that’s so 2010,” apparently not! And even then, people aren’t as active as you’d think they are. Thus emphasizing the idea of individualism further.
Social media as we know today connects us all as a worldwide society, no matter where you are in the world. The apps used may differ, and we might not even use it the same way! Nonetheless, we still get connected to each other. And I’m thankful that even though I am not from the United States, somehow, I get to adjust with ease because of social media.
|Alaine Obra from the Philippines is studying for an associate’s degree in computer science at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.
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