Thursday, August 04, 2011

Threading the Trek of Trends

Despite being an avid Facebook user with a penchant for trying out various stuff on the web (like Google+ and other sites), I still haven't gotten the hang of Twitter.

"Trending" has become one of the most powerful words in recent years. Also referred to as domino or bandwagon effect, it is one of the most obvious and slightly unpredictable side effects of social media. From celebrities and idols to NyanCat and the meme culture, social media has epitomized the proverbial chicken-and-egg origin paradox.

Was it popular because it was trending? Or was it trending because it was popular?

Nowadays, it's quite tricky to differentiate between the two.

Let's take Rebecca Black's example – particularly, her "Friday" music video. When it was first posted on YouTube, scarcely anyone knew about her. However, as the dislike bar and trolling  pressed on, it attracted more viewers to the point that it got more than a million views.

(Unfortunately, the infamous video was already deleted.)

Thinking about it... if the discussion thread, like/dislike buttons and sharing were disabled, would she even be popular, much less noticed? Her apparent fame is can only be blamed to the thousands or millions of online viewers who also spread and trended her video. And ironically, most of these people only did so because her video was popular.

As for Nyan Cat... who wouldn't like an adorable, pixelated kitty with a hypnotic badger-type music background?

And of course, there's Christopher Lao – the hapless victim of 'lapse of information'. In fact, he overshadowed today's headlines: the resignation of Senator Zubiri (but then, we can attribute Lao's apparent popularity to the Pilipinos being tired of roundabout news about politics).

Nowadays, anyone can become famous instantly (and as quickly be forgotten). I think this only leads us to one lesson: It is okay to be funny, to rant, to troll, to make a firm stand – or any form of self-expression. But let us learn to be responsible for it, be accountable for both our accolades and gaffs... no matter how momentary, trivial or even seemingly unimportant our posts are...

Which makes me wonder: are we not trending the Gospel or Christ well enough? But then, social media is erratic and ever-changing; He is not. Or maybe 2,000 years and countless martyrs reposting His story with their lives deserves some sort of recognition as the longest running trend in social history?

What will it take to make people talk about Him again? What does it take for and from me?


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