The internet today is a gold mine for information. Anything you need is within the reach of 3 or 4 clicks of your mouse. I actually just tried it, you just need 3. One to input your password on your computer, one for opening your internet browser, and the last one to open any link on what you’re searching for. Information is quick, and accessible. The people during the middle ages would be in awe to experience this age of information and would probably use it to their advantage by consuming as much knowledge as possible. For us today, the internet means a lot.
Social media has been an integral part of most people’s lives since it was introduced in 1997, according to a website about business trends. Right now, there are 2.41 billion users on Facebook. Of course, some of them may be duplicate accounts, trolls, or shitposting accounts, but still, that is a really huge number considering the world’s population is 7.53 billion. That’s almost representative of a third of the entire population. No one can assume what these people use Facebook for, but I’d like to talk about a specific feature of facebook that seemed to rise in popularity over the years: Facebook groups.
Out of the 2.41 billion users today, a study in 2017 stated that as of that time there were 1.41 billion users that were using Facebook groups every month. There is a wide variety of facebook groups that anyone can join. In the Philippines, some famous facebook groups are: What’s your ulam, pare?, Who’s your pupper, senpai?, subtle asian traits, Samahan ng Mga Hiwalay sa Asawa, and the up-and-coming, Best of the Best Manila. These local groups (not subtle asian traits) range from having 10,000 to 200,000 members, and have a pretty significant number of active members. These groups, used for sharing the simplest of things such as delicious food, a dog lying down on its back who became a local star on social media, a post sharing how desperate you are for love, or a post asking for recommendations on the best of whatever you can think of. These groups formed a community from strangers in the Philippines, thus I’d like to call the emergence of Facebook groups as the modern day Bayanihan.
Bayanihan, is derived from the word bayan, which means nation, town, or community. It means “being in a bayan”, and Filipinos turned that into the spirit of being one with your fellow countrymen towards a common goal. These groups have members who are interested in the common topics, and therefore each group has a unique goal. One to find delicious food, another to take the best care of their doggos, next to find love, and lastly simply to find the best of the best. As New Media suggests, these Facebook groups are highly interactive, you can choose to be a poster, commenter, or even someone who just reads and looks at the post. The communities formed from these groups can prove to be toxic, but I’d like to be an optimist and see the glass as half full.
In What’s Your Ulam Pare, you see the bayanihan when people respond to requests of recommendations for a certain type of food, or even sharing recipes through the group. In Who’s Your Pupper Senpai, bayanihan is seen when a dog owner posts about having a sick dog, and the community sends boops for the dog to feel better. Of course, a dog will have no idea what sending boops means for his life, but a happy owner will result into a happy pet! In Samahan ng Mga Hiwalay Sa Asawa, although it started as a shitposting group, I am fairly sure that someone actually used the site as a means of finding the love of his/her life, and found someone to at least date or hang out with. In Best of the Best Manila, you can find the recommendations on anything that you would want to find. Even the best of the best of corny jokes!
Whatever your interest, you will always be able to find a Facebook group suited for your bayanihan needs. Whether the hype of Facebook groups will slowly decay, or it even reaches a higher peak, we can never deny its current impact on how social media is used right now. We’ll have to wait to find out what Facebook has in store for its groups and their members, so as always, take care and look ahead!