Manila — I read somewhere that some people's addiction to Facebook shows up in their brain scans, especially those who can't stay off the site. The report said this affects grey matter much as does cocaine. So I imagine that the other equally addicting social media platforms -- Twitter and Instagram – probably work like heroin.
While the report may appear scientific and funny at the same time, I believe in the addicting power of interacting with our fellow humans through technology, aided by gadgets and machines. I'm thankful, though, that we still get to interact organically or face-to-face.
I've never touched what are known as dangerous or regulated drugs; I only read (and write) about them, but I guess my social media addiction, if it can be called one, is moderate. I am the kind who is more into following, looking, checking at other people's posts rather than posting about me and my activities. If I compare myself to others who make FB their daily chronicle, I would not even be moderate but lower than low.
I'm not comfortable posting my photos unless I'm in photos taken with friends. Most of the time, I re-post instead of posting. I have a Twitter account but I don't want people to follow me (so how's that?). I'm the one who follows others, but only a few. It's like attending a party but wanting to stay alone in one corner. But that's me.
While we all have our reasons for being glued to our gadgets all the time, we also have reasons to believe that our lives have changed; to some, for the better. My reason is to get my kicks out of the posts, aside from getting my information for the day. I love the friendly and intelligent interaction but also often get entertained by the polemics.
The one thing I'm not fond of is the penchant for hash tags and acronyms, such as "lol" for "laughing out loud." But I know they're here to stay. I know that when someone posts a joke or a funny quip, or comment on a post to express laughter, people prefer to react by saying "lol."
I'm saddened by the missing and disappearing instinct to open our mouth and let out a laugh. So online, I prefer to say "haha" or a longer "Ahahahaha" (and sometimes even longer and in all caps) to capture that very moment I giggle, cackle or howl hysterically in amusement.
To amplify the fun of lol, people use the hash tag, often with another acronym, for example, #lmao or "laughing my ass off" or "#crazy funny." Many normal conversations now are invaded by hash tags. "#squad goals" has been used many times among friends who want to shout to the world about their friendships and their exclusivity and loyalty.
I won't even go to the Twitter handle anymore when we greet "hi @skygirl" to someone using a different-sounding name, never mind if the name-user is indeed your human friend. And I wouldn't even go to other platforms such as Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and social apps like Snapchat.
The social space is endless. People's desire to feel the constant pulse of the world around them is insatiable. The preferences to converse in symbols such as hash tags, and acronyms such as lol, have indeed changed our lives. I don't want to take away the fun these hash tags provide because I recognize their importance in advocacy, which I engage in on issues I believe and stand for, and to others, perhaps, in their promotions, campaigns and movements. Who knows, one day the world will witness a revolution mounted by hash tags. I just hope we can lol at the thought of how difficult it was to make the world a better
Diana Mendoza is a freelance journalist based in Manila..
Click here to subscribe to the digital edition of our December issue