Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pinoy Nation grows out of the Internet: The User is still King

Technology has dissolved the barriers of nation-building. Every single day, we Filipinos are contributing to the rise of the Filipino Nation, whether we like it or not. We are slowly creating and defining this Nation in our own terms and in our own language. As we move slowly forward in the technological sphere courtesy of the Internet, we are consciously or unconsciously bringing forth, the birth of a truly distinct, Pinoy Nation.

This nation assumes a more definitive form, as I observed, in three occasions: one, when there is a disaster. Two, when there is a global recognition of a Pinoy talent and lastly, when there is threat to the patrimony of this nation.

For three disasters already, we all know how Pinoys unite and come out of their homes to help other Pinoys in extreme distress. One example was Typhoon Sendong. A blogger and social media practitioner, Mindanaoan, used her Twitter account to rally fellow Filipinos together to help victims of the vicious floods caused by Sendong. Previous to this, Typhoon Ondoy made it as one of the top trending topics in the Philippines, when millions online discussed their own experiences, shared their sadness and triumphs with other Filipinos and that urged others to come out of their comfort zones to volunteer for relief assistance. 

Three popular names come to mind in support of my second assertion. Manny Pacquiao, Charice and Jessica Sanchez became instant household names when they hugged the headlines and when millions of Pinoys, both here and abroad, talked about them. They became big because people rallied behind them, supported them, praised them and exchanged thoughts for them. Pinoys were there for them when they made their big splash. Pinoys talked animately about them during their times of trial and struggles, and did not abandon them even in their times of extreme distress. 

Lastly, you can feel, see and hear how passionately Pinoys love their country. When news spread about China's illegal intrusions unto Philippine territory, millions of Filipinos decried the act online. Fact is, I believe, if war do break out in the Western Philippine sea, millions of Filipinos will probably flood the internet with billions of devastating tweets against their fellow and long-time friends, the Chinese. 

Back in the old days, as an Historiographer and a theory-maker, I am deathly worried about the distinct possibility of uniting this nation into one community.

Take a look at History and read various sociological studies and you'll conclude that the term "Filipino Nation" is more of a construct rather than fact. We are a nation divided not just by geographical barriers, but by ethno-linguistic and cultural obstructions.

Patriots of the past thought that an ideology could bring us together. China, in 1949, did just that by uniting under the banner of Socialism. During the sixties, the seventies and even the early eighties, people of similar persuasion thought that socialism is the one construct that could rally people together and change things.

Now, technology is not dictating us where to go--we, as a People, are dictating technology's path. When the first cellphones came, analysts were worried that technology would dictate the very lives of people. 

The reality is, people are dictating the uses of technology and defining what kind of technology fits them, and not the other way around. Applications, for example, are being created out of the need or necessity of people, and not because of a whim or caprice of an individual or a group of individual.

There was also the concern a few years back, of a developing clique of technology pariahs who dreams of maybe someday, conquering the world. They hope to dictate to people what to think using technology as a tool.

Now, the reality is, again proving these fears wrong. Technology,rightly or wrongly, has become a slave of man. The Consumer is still the freeman, and technology a tool of human kind. The User is still King.

Back to the creation of the Pinoy Nation.

Using a technology as our communication platform, we Filipinos are dictating the path of our nation. Government, in the next few years, will shape its policies based on the people's sovereign will expressed in the Internet. Even the economy will be shaped by the online community speaking as one. Before, the phrase "people's will" was just a construct expressed in various Constitutions around the world. Now, the people's will is becoming a fact. That beneath the cacophony of a million voices, lies the true expression of the people. 

The people's will, if you ask me a decade ago, is a mere Idea. The people's will in the Constitution of a State is the will of the minority who claims and possesses power.

With the internet, people are slowly getting back the power they once surrendered to the elites of their societies. What is so miraculous about all these things is the fact that this silent revolution, if you will, is changing the landscape without force of arms or without spilling blood. We, the people, are engaged in an intellectual revolution without us knowing that we are its warriors and ideologues.

As I once coined the phrase "intellectual entrepreneur" several years back, I am slowly realising that that phrase is not merely a construct but becoming a fact. 

A day or two from now, we will be celebrating the "Social Media day". In my radio program, Ratsada sa Inquirer, I asked Juan Manila who invented this "day" and why that "day"--June 30. She wasn't able to explain it. It just happened that some people declared June 30 as, Social Media day.

This is the best description of how beautiful social media has become--that people are engaging themselves animately online and creating constructs and concepts out of a mere whim.