Social media circus acts: Filipino ‘New Media’ gone traditional

Just when we think “civil society” has gotten up to speed with regard to the concept of regarding politics and our politicians with a critical mind, we are still arrested by the familiar sight of the lemming-like behaviour of people who merely follow self-described “heroes” and dance to the tune of those who beat the loudest drums.

For so long, the Philippines’ “thought leaders” have scratched their heads, wondering why despite the advent of “freedom” in the aftermath of the 1986 Edsa people power “revolution” and the implementation of governance infrastructure and institutionalised frameworks to channel this freedom into a systematic selection process of the nation’s leaders, we still see a nation muddling along in abject mediocrity.

Why, for example, do people still fall for no-substance slogans, unfulfillable promises, and the colourful songs-and-dances of charlatans?

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

The answer lies in the character of the average Filipino mind. We need to ask ourselves some hard questions. Are Filipinos trained to think, or are they conditioned to follow?


Perhaps this is the reason no significant change in the campaign style of Filipino politicians will be seen over the foreseeable future. The style quite simply works. Flash enough colours, dish out enough sound bites, make enough pompous assertions, and rack up enough media exposure and you will get the votes. Indeed, the very “activists” who mount indignation campaigns against politicians’ premature “epal” campaigns are in bed with fellow “activists” who mount circus acts that rival if not trump the spectacles of even the most flamboyant of the crop of candidates in any given election.

To every Kris Aquino in politics, there will always be a counterpart clown in the Philippine “activist” scene today and a horde of fans behind him just as starstruck as any fan of the Media Queen. Social media and its so-called “practitioners” make all that easy. Making it even easier is the multitude of characters who inhabit discussion forums in social networks eager to make a big enough blip in the radar screens of their favourite social media celebrity. Tagging and comment threads make that easy for the average wannabe.

It’s easy indeed. While all these social media “practitioners” crow about the power they’ve taken away from “traditional” media, little do they know that they’ve also acquired the same power to create the same celebrity abominations we love to laugh at in between morsels of chicharon and swigs of San Miguel Beer. So if there is a call to “traditional” media to police themselves, perhaps the same could be said of the Philippines’ social media scene. Look no further than the horde who now snap the Nazi salute at every “status update” made by one costumed “social media” bozo or the other. Even Kris Aquino would be at awe.

11 Replies to “Social media circus acts: Filipino ‘New Media’ gone traditional”

  1. I find it both sad and strange that in a country of 100 million there is such a paucity of critical thinking, innovative thought, and social debate whether in the mainstream media or in social media.
    And that applies across the spectrum of politics, business, art, and social issues.
    It all seems to dumb down to the tears and tantrums formula of boy abunda and the buzz, the reproduction of press releases, or simply avoidance of reporting news items altogether.
    The use of internet ( reportedly 29% of population – which most probably translates to 50% + of age group 18 – 30) in itself hardly represents an advance when the ‘ brighter’ members of society use it for games, inane twitter comments, and posting photos of their food, rather than exploiting its potential for education, job creation etc.
    Tv also adopts the path of minimum resistance and maximum revenue without even attempting more than a passing nod to raising levels, expanding horizons, stimulating debate.
    Most issues/problems all originate from the concentration of power which has an unhealthy stranglehold on the country in all aspects. Hence little art, music, culture, cuisine, innovation or creativity.
    Other 3rd world countries thrive in many fields despite, or maybe even because of their situation.
    Here thinking is just too much like hard work. Brains have turned to mush and the whole country is exhibiting signs of parkinsons.

    1. And when one considers that knowledge is power…perhaps only the powerful may gain knowledge, that their power over the people they claim to represent is further increased?

  2. checked raissa robles blog.
    not 1 political article for months. and campaign season!
    served her purpose, out of the loop and hence nothing to say.
    another bottom feeder who soon becomes irrelevant when not fed propaganda to peddle.
    so much for conviction and commitment. no cheque, no comment.

  3. Most pinoys prefer the mindless sound of the banging war drums over the calm and collected words of a wise man….

    Strange but true…

    Looking for examples? just take a look at the elections

  4. Ever notice how some monkeys make all sorts of noises when confronted with something that scares them?

    Ever notice what fliptards do?

  5. very curious.
    the philippine daily inquirer has stopped publishing comments to articles.
    team p-noy getting too much bashing.
    censorship by compliant press precedes vote-buying and vote rigging and made up surveys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.