Facebook Encounters

by Jan Geronimo on September 6, 2010

Guest Post By Gerson Garcia

With more than half a billion people worldwide converging on Facebook, this social networking giant is indubitably the largest online hub for people doing all sorts of things from playing online games to taking quizzes and rekindling relationships forgotten by time and distance.

It has been only lately that I have become more active on Facebook because of its strong impact on one’s online presence (especially for my blogs) and its power to bridge the distance with friends.

But Facebook is also full of surprises for me lately.  Because of the diversity of people and perspectives, this online hub can also easily become an arena  for gladiators and their pet ideas.

Many weeks ago, I had my very first Facebook verbal match with someone I don’t know in Facebook; actually on a friend’s page.  Yes, I survived the encounter although I rather wished it’s a worthy gladiator I tangled with and not by all indications a bitchy and presumptuous pugilist.

The story.

Well, my friend posted his thoughts on  about the  recent State of the Nation Address of Philippine President Aquino and someone posted a link saying that people should read and visit the article that castigates the SONA speech which my friend by the way finds full of illogical and unfounded accusations.  The owner of the page warned the guy that he is once again spamming the page for the nth time.

Being enthusiastic enough, I joined in the fray and commented that as far as I could remember, never have cynics and pessimists built or furthered a society or a nation but had rather the opposite effect; only dreamers move nations and societies forward.  The one who posted the link went back  and told me to shut up and said that I need to read first another article (and he posted a link again) in order for me to have the “right to speak up.”

What the?!

And the verbal tussle went on with me saying that no one in his right frame of mind should first impose to another person the thought of reading a commentary in order to have the right or freedom to speak up especially on a democratic society where the plurality of ideas is the cornerstone of such a society; and freedom is an inherent right of everyone.  To make the very long story short:  the guy got the rare trophy and distinction of being  the only second person to be banned from that popular Facebook Page.  Sweet revenge.

I am no online war-freak if that is what you think; Facebook I realize can  also be a very good tool to help others reconnect especially with close friends you have not talked with  for many years.

Past 12 midnight and I got the very rare opportunity of seeing one of my closest friends go online.  Ah, green light!

“Ding, dong!”

I haven’t talked with this friend for many years.

And he immediately responded:  “Hey.  Can I talk to you?”

“Of course. What about?  Gurlzzz?  LOL!”

And then my friend opened up to me.  He is into a very difficult situation, so difficult that after the conversation/chat I thought I had lost all my energy.  He confided to me, I listened and made him feel I truly  understand him.

It was like an online counseling session.  I have not helped him solve his problem and issues, but that was not the goal.  At the very least I hoped I had done enough to make him feel he is not alone on a journey that continues to leave on scars he could not yet accept.

We ended up signing out at past 3 AM.

Facebook can make or break us; can give you new perspectives and at the same time be a rare channel to give a helping a hand if you are open to the opportunities.  But Facebook can also be abused.

The short-form format of Facebook is a great way to stay in touch, but longer, more in-depth discussions would be better served by writing a blog or a book.

Just like a friend who only days ago posted an angry Facebook status update how he discovered most recently that some people he thought were friends had  spread lies about his wife on the social networking giant.

It is also a gold mine for discoveries.  Just like my mother who sat with me to look at some Facebook friends when she visited me here in Cavite.  And lo and behold, we saw some photos of my youngest sister during one drinking spree with friends!  Kabam, she then texted my sister who was left in the province and I did not dare speculate what happened next.

Being careful is still the key and being a responsible user is the rule when using Facebook.  In a virtual border-less world, sanity, common sense and respect in the midst of opposing views and most oftentimes compromised privacy should still prevail. Unless we still need to seek first the approval of self proclaimed experts or read a stupid article just to have the right to speak up our mind or post status messages on our FB wall.

Ah, memorable.

Off to you now folks.  Any memorable encounters on Facebook?  Feel free to share them here.

About the AuthorGerson Garcia also known as Elmot writes commentaries on socio-political issues and blogging at Pinoy Sounding Board in his signature breezy, irreverent writing style.  He also owns a blog about  celebrities in Showbiz Renegade, a must read for me when I’m in dire need of sating my strange appetite for showbiz  updates (read: scandals, shenanigans and wardrobe malfunctions).    You can also find Gerson holding court in Twitter as  when he’s not mocking politicians and celebrities in his blogs.


Facebook and My Kids

by Jan Geronimo on August 1, 2010

Guest Post by Roy Dela Cruz

Online social media can make or break any relationship, and yes including families. We all know how those tweets, status updates, and the likes can be picked up and blown out of context – those are the types that can break relationships.

In my case though, whether I admit it or not because I do not really like my kids spending too much time online, Facebook has provided us just another venue of communication. What’s funny is that we still live under one roof and that we’re actually using just one computer.

The ‘communication,’ however, happens when I leave the computer to my kids. Either I need to go to work or I have to attend to some matters.

Being connected in FB, as we should be, they can easily see what I have been up to, what was in my mind, or what could be happening to me lately.

A case in point was when I was in a “deep state of depression” that I carelessly shouted out that I no longer wanted to write, and that I wanted to quit blogging. It was picked up by my son Ralph, and he fired off an anxious but perfectly reasonable retort in his blog.

Whoa! Wake up call! I felt an alarm clock rang in my ears! The loudest I have heard so far.

Don’t get me wrong, we maintain open communications in the house. My children can say anything to me, they can tell me anything, and they can ask me anything. But FB sure is a good icebreaker for those topics that are tough to handle.

I, on the other hand, have been able to follow my kids without really acting like an overprotective father. I came to know who their friends and classmates are, and have seen how they communicate with each other.

Some of their friends even added me in their contacts. There’s nothing really better than knowing your kids’ friends. Quite reassuring I tell you.

Now that I know that social media can really be a good parenting tool after all, I look forward to put it to good use, and at the same time be mindful of my own rants… er, status updates.

About the Author: Roy is a prolific blogger, poet, short story writer and entrepreneur. He pens The Struggling Blogger and presides over a constellation of 12 other blogs covering his varied interests, as well as sometime guest posting on other website like this one and Blog Starter. Roy is a widower and practices brinksmanship daily as he doubles as a mother to his three kids.  It’s his latest revelation as regards his true identity, however,  that’s been causing quite a stir in Blogland.  Apparently, he’s Blogging Wolverine as well.


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Thumbnail image for Happy New Year, Guys

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