#internetfriendsday

A few weeks back my sister got home from school seething and usually I steer clear of her -or anyone that pissed- when I can but something about her screams ‘let me vent’ so I asked what’s she’s reeling about. She told me that in one of her classes a prof blatantly told the class that there is NO such thing as a friendship forged online.

They’re not REAL friendships.

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Let me tell you about my little sister, she’s a world of words in her head but she usually stays in her quiet corner outside of it. You have to be either really dorky, like me, or very close to her for her to even consider starting a conversation with you much more maintain it. When she started with Twitter and Tumblr, she met teens just like her- a little awkward and shy but very creative and witty and with so many stories to tell and talents to show. She grew more outgoing and trusted people more.

People may argue that it’s an unconventional interaction. You can choose to hide behind anonymity or refuse eye contact or whatever else traditional social interactions it requires to make the encounter a success. Really though, what are the rules of friendship? And who made anyone judge of it?

IDGAF

Because trust and honesty, they’re not founded on proximity or your ability to physically touch someone, Yes, it makes it infinitely easier to comfort your sobbing best friend if you didn’t have a few thousand miles separating you but where were these apprehensions when we force women into arranged marriages or soldiers falling madly inlove with women they’ve ONLY written letters to. THEY WEREN’T BECAUSE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE ARBITRARY AND YOU HAVE TO JUDGE THEM AS SUCH. 

My ability to be a good friend is not limited to a hug or hauling ice cream and a bunch movies to your place when you feel like crap. It also means that I’m here to listen to your rants, share in your eccentricities, reassure you of how much I care, confide in you when no one else is willing to listen and accept you for everything that you are and choose to do including SHARING A FRIENDSHIP WITH ME ONLINE. No one has the right to tell me what my standards should be for friendships.

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I CHOOSE WHO MY REAL FRIENDS ARE AND THEY’RE BASED ON SO MUCH MORE THAN THE SUPERFICIALITY OF PHYSICAL AFFECTION. 

I’m in no way belittling the treasure mined from friends I’ve physically met and spent lots of time with. They’re all amazing and I thank the heavens everyday that they put up with me. All I’m saying is the connection that I organically feel with them can manifest with anyone, in any form, anywhere. It doesn’t have to be 2 meters away from me. It can be behind a screen, 5 time zones away.

So I’ll end this with a personal message to every single person I’ve met online and established a friendship with. The means of our meeting doesn’t in anyway change my admiration, care and love for each and everyone of you and I’ll debate any prof who tells me otherwise. 

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and danie if you’re reading this, it’s for you love. -wink-

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we are one

As I’ve been exploring the blogging world the past year, I’ve met (and this is very relative as I’ve not really PHYSICALLY met most of them) the most amazing, intimidating and inspiring people and I’ve shared with you some of them in the past entries (like my fashion blogger friend who motivated me to start this blog).

Before I graduated college, a teacher discussed one of the more influential e-commerce/ social media gurus in the Philippines, Ms. Janette Toral. I promised myself that if given the chance, I’d dispense of all hesitation and introduce myself so I did. I also found out that she’d be speaking for a cause later today at Vista Center, UGF Worldwide Corporate Center, Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City. It’s a benefit seminar to raise funds for Yolanda Survivors. They’ll be discussing issues regarding youth empowerment especially as one balances personal and professional life. If you have time, drop by. It’s only for 1,000 bucks and you will not only get your money’s worth from the country’s diverse speakers but also you’ll be helping people from all over Visayas who are in dire need of aid. Win-win right?

Click on this http://trainings.ph/weareone-session4/ or this https://www.facebook.com/events/393339350799094/ for details.

From now on, I’d be be posting more seminars, speaking engagements and advocacies that she’s involved with to keep you guys in the loop too.

And to those who’ll be coming or donating, in behalf of WE ARE ONE. | One Nation, One Purpose, One Voice, a very sincere and hearty THANKS.

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deleting comments

Posting online takes a lot of bravery.

Granted we are protected by a veil of anonymity and very few if not none will be able to tell who we really are when we decide to hide behind the masks of our online names but it doesn’t make us any less vulnerable to judgements  made by our fellow netizens. The pang of anger and hurt we feel when we read derogatory comments about our posts, what we stand for or, much worse, who we are as people is not diminished by the fact that they don’t personally know who we are and that they’re not saying it to our face. It’s equally painful.

Yesterday I was posing a question towards a stance a blogger had on gun control. It wasn’t anything personal nor argumentative. It was a simple query regarding the logic of his parallelism. He then responded with a full on tirade about how I must be black or an immigrant of some sort who wishes to reek hell on US. At first I thought he was joking. It really did not make much sense how he attacked my character and how he stereotyped non-white races as pro destruction or violence. Although I found it extremely offensive, I wasn’t going to let him turn me into some conflict crazy monster who argues with everyone who has a different view so I simply told him that there was no need to feel attacked but he just wouldn’t stop. He then deleted all my comments and the comments of those who also had a different view.

It’s a blogger’s right to moderate the comments on his page especially if it hampers the image or the goal of his site. However, I hope that we’re all responsible enough to understand that presenting our readers with a skewed version of the truth lessens our credibility as bloggers. Just because you quoted a Harvard Study out of context, it doesn’t mean you’re handed the authority bastardize the dignity of discourse. Disrespecting those who have different views or are of a different race or culture under the guise of a pen name or an online profile is barbaric. Let’s not make the web an avenue for bullying, promoting irrationality and creating racial divide.

And by the way dear Sir, erasing my comments and the comments of all those other people on your page only proves that you think they have merit and you’re a little scared your readers will think the same. Let’s be dignified netizens and respect the influence we’ve been awarded.

the power (or curse) of anonymity

@thenerdhub

@pilyongBrentTzu

@livelaughred

@lasswhoreads

@FantasticThread

@callmetolay

More than half of my Twitter community aren’t using their real names. A good amount of my Facebook friends aren’t who they say they are. Most of my followers on this blog I have not met nor had a conversation with (but I’m thankful for each one, really). In the age where we live half our lives on virtual media, we ought to understand why people act a certain way online and act different off it.

Context changes a lot how people interact with each other. The cloak of anonymity and the lesser possibility of physical confrontation emboldens a person to pursue actions which he might not normally consider doing during face to face interactions. The premise is similar to the rush of courage we feel to go topless on a beach in Ibiza while we refuse to do same thing on the beach in our neighborhood.

It feels as if we have lesser responsibility towards our actions when people who care are not aware we are doing it or people who see us doing it don’t care about us at all. 

On the downside, more and more netizens are becoming unaware and uncaring of what they thwart about online. They believe it’s legitimate because it’s an expression of their freedom but ask them if they’ll do the same, use the same words, curse and not care when they are in front of the person they’re addressing it to. Chances are more than half of them will retract their words or would not show at all.

Granted we have the right to say what we want, when we want, the way we wanna deliver it but with that right comes the responsibility of standing by it, defending it and being quoted for it. If you have the nerve to call someone names and walk all over them, have the nerve to be called out and have someone trash you too. That’s how freedom of expression works, on and off the net.

It’s not all bad though. I finally found the guts to write again, anonymously at first. I was afraid, you see, to be judged and not be good enough or as good as most people thought I was. Slowly, my confidence grew until one day I realized I was typing in my name at the end of my work again. Had I not written anonymously at first I don’t think I’ll be able to take the pressure. I wouldn’t have posted my work at all. I know this rings true to many other people.

For some anonymity is like training wheels, they come off when we’re ready to ride on our own. For others they keep the art or thought pure, free of the bias others might have against or for the writer or artist. Still others find it important to maintain a mystery, an image. I am in no position to judge any of them for I too was once there and every now and then I revisit the perks of namelessness.

I guess the bottom line is you get to decide what role anonymity plays in your life. Will it be the hero that pushes you to higher grounds or the villain that drags you down? You have to make that choice because nobody else can dictate who you can be, whether it’s on social media or in real life. Just remember accountability is not mutually exclusive to people who have names plastered on their opinions. Remember, what you say about others says more about you than it does about them. 

Do everything as if it has your brand on it because it matters less that people know, what truly matters is that YOU KNOW.