Erle Frayne Argonza
Magandang hapon! Good afternoon!
A gladdening news just filtered out recently about the Philippines having now capped the Top Friendster end-user notch. Accordingly, there are today 30 Million end-users in the Philippines of the top social networking platform, the Friendster, out of a total of 85 Million users worldwide. Just couples of months back, it was at 24 Million Filipino ‘ka-Friendsters’ that represented 1/3 of the world total.
This development reveals couples of very significant insights about my beloved compatriots, the Filipinos, as well as that of the host network, the Friendster Inc. In Max Weber’s language, there is ‘elective affinity’ between the economic structure’s templates (Friendster as economic service provider) and the Filipino’s ‘superstructural templates’ (values, value-relevance). In Jung’s language, the demands of the world structures have manifested synchronicities with the ‘symbolic structures’ of the Filipinos.
Let me then share some notes to you about what this topnotch end-user behavior of Filipinos exhibit in regard to the world’s top web-based social networking. I will sum up the revealed insights in two (2) categories, namely: (a) social, which refers to the economic and behavioral facts involved; and, (b) spiritual, which refers to those core elements of the human psyche & soul revealed by the behavior.
· 30 Million is 30 Million, it is awesome and potent a social force to reckon with.
· Internet Users Up: 30 Million ‘ka-Friendsters’ means that millions of Filipinos now have access to the internet, the minimum of which is 30 M. My estimate is that the figure goes up to 40 Million, which is double the badly underestimated statistics from marketing and state agencies (18-20 Million).
· Warm, friendly, hospitable traits of Filipinos. These are among the value assets of the Pinoys. They can never be underestimated. They invite as many contacts on the Friendster as possible, regardless of whether they know that contact personally.
· Internet Facilities: Telecom infrastructures have now made web accessibility higher among Pinoys. Combined facilities are: (a) New Generation for DSL & related services, in all cities and town centers nationwide; (b) Wireless Broadband, present in commercial hubs; (c) Rural Interconnectivity, platform for countryside, innovation by engineers from the University of the Philippines.
· Graphics & Writing/Reading Up: Pinoy’s mind is largely attuned to graphical-intuitive, that is why they’d love to view pictures and graphic creatives. However, Pinoys are also developing writing & reading habits, which the content blog spaces offer.
· Urban Filipinos, which represents 60% of domestic population, lead the locals in propelling the islanders to ‘global citizen’ status, thru web-based platforms. My estimate is that 85% of Pinoys on Friendster are urbanites.
· ‘Friend’ dominates the word ‘Friendster’, which jibes with the Filipinos deep devotional attitude. Devotion is the cementing force of society, and the first impulse to reach out to the Almighty Providence and Divine Beings.
· ‘Friend’ in Friendster jibes with the Water element among Pinoys. This element is manifested as love for building social networks, artistic-graphical creatives of Pinoys (Pinoys are Asia’s top musicians), and the healing prowess of the islanders (note our top healers, top nurses/doctors overseas).
· The letters F-I-R-E (Fire) and F-R-I-E-D (Fried), which signify the Fire element, another powerful element of Pinoys, is also found in Friendster, though is subdued. It is indicative of Pinoy’s conscious efforts today to do everything to tame their Fire element, use this for more beneficial purposes, and permit the Water element’s positive aspects blend with Fire.
· Public life in the Philippines is mired in Negative Fire: Insurgent groups, politicians, civil society all wanting to overthrow established authority. Pinoys, via platforms such as Friendster, would want to somehow balance this Fiery disposition with the more constructive, creative disposition presented by Water, though they also ride and direct the Fiery caldrons of public life.
· Interestingly, the Water element is also shown in the Philippines’ maritime prowess. 28% of international seafarers are Pinoys, while the country is beginning to manufacture ships as huge as 10,000 Tonners, and it won’t be a surprise if in 15 years’ time the Philippines will be a global ship-building power. Almost all Pinoy seafarers surf the web while aboard their ships, and many use patronize Friendster (including my cousin-in-law, a maritime engineer).
To the endeared readers, choose your wilds: social facet, or spiritual facet. I chose both, as I’m both (a) a social scientist and (b) a mystic-healer-Guru of the Teaching.
For the Friendster Inc, it has no other choice than to root itself more in Philippine life. The corporate honchos cannot afford to offend the Filipino end-users, no Sirs, for that would flip the Water side of Pinoys to the Fire side. Fire is the ‘overthrow syndrome’ of my kabayans (compatriots), they’re so good at it, insurgencies here can last as long as nine (9) decades such as Tamblot Revolt.
And, to the Friendster corporate people, please don’t ever offend Filipino women. Let you be reminded that we are the ‘6th Top Gender Empowerment’ country worldwide as of today. We’re known for Filipina warriorship prowess, and that warriorship is seen in our feminist leaders and advocates reforming policies with Firepower, and overthrowing corrupt regimes with blazing thunder. Inside Filipino homes, the Mother is the Boss, this is a fact of life. No Sirs, I implore you never ever to offend the women of this country.
Let me congratulate both the Filipino ‘ka-Friendsters’ and the Friendster Inc. for the stunning success of the Friendster platform. Mabuhay!
[21 November 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]