IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
By ALEX M. EDUQUE
Last Wednesday, October 23, I had the honor of speaking about “the use and influence of social media to promote positive human relationships” at the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc (PASWI) regional conference. The three-day convention was a gathering of social workers from the National Capital Region (NCR) and other neighboring provinces for learning and fellowship. This year’s theme focused on promoting positive human relationships as a vehicle to achieving positive societal change. I will admit, and in fact, the opening line of my speech was a disclaimer that I am by no means an expert on the topic. That being said, the perspective I was able to lend was simply one of an avid social media user – from a personal and professional point of view – and how I have dealt with cyber-bullying by finding the silver lining in the situation. Definitely a worthwhile topic that I gave a lot of though to, here are some snippets from my speech which I hope you are also able to gain an insight or two from.
It is quite ironic, if you ask me, how it is now unimaginable to think about a world where social media does not exist, when in actuality, most of us here today, myself included, were born in a world without social media. Whether or not we have a social media account, its presence in my opinion, dramatically changed the way in which, at the very least, we receive and perceive news – how we share it, how we talk about it, and how it has shaped our everyday behavior.
Day in and day out, my mom always reminds me that “with privileges comes responsibility.” And while, social media is so accessible these days, we must never take this ease for granted. It is still a privilege to be able to share news, sentiments, and tidbits in a “click” in the same way that it is definitely a privilege to be able to have access to news sources anytime, and anywhere. Just a few decades ago, this was not the case. But with that privilege, definitely comes the responsibility of not abusing it, and using it for the right reasons. And while we have the ultimate freedom to govern our own personal social media accounts, our integrity as a social media user is heavily characterized by what we choose to share, our accountability, and the persona put forth by what we choose to “like,” “comment on,” who we follow, as well as the topics we engage with.
We must never forget that social media is only capable of taking over as much of our lives as we allow it to. Remember that we, the users, are much greater than social media. And while we feel like it has become a daily necessity, the reality is that social media’s success is simultaneous with our usage, its evolution is heavily dependent on how much of our lives we allow it to be a part of, and its popularity is co-terminus with how long we use it and how far we take it. We should not allow social media to rule our reality because a big disconnect still exists. For one, and as I have mentioned earlier, physical human interaction is still much more valuable than social media interaction – how people converse on social media is, and can be drastically different from how they are in actuality. I have proven time and again that social media is but a curated, and heavily filtered version of real life. In other words, because you have the power to share what you want others to see and perceive your life to be, they too, hold that same authority. Never be fooled because while some people may choose to share more and care less, others take social media seriousness to a different degree and will only make known to others what they want others to think of them. Perception is not always the truth, and one must consciously make an effort to decipher between actuality, and the reality as put forth by social media. Use social media wisely – and as an outlet to create long, lasting, and harmonious relationships.