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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tweets To Talk About

Twitter is fast becoming the best basis of ‘current events’. A quick scan of any Filipino Tweeter’s timeline would tell you what topics are most relevant to the youth. What does this mean? It means that it gives columnists (because I dare not say I am a journalist) like me an idea of what people would like to read; what people are talking about; what people are interested in. Here are two Trending Topics on Twitter and my views on the matter.

Mark Mabasa Exits X-Factor, Viewers Protest

Alright, so here’s the deal. ABS-CBN franchised the international hit X-Factor which is now approaching its third week into the finals. Last episode, Mark Mabasa, a 25-year old crooner under the mentorship of Pilita Corales, got the boot and netizens have been complaining about it.

A lot of people are displeased with one particular judge’s decision to give Mabasa a negative vote. You see, in X-Factor, there are four judges: Pilita Corales who voted in favour of Mabasa, Gary Valenciano who voted in favour of Take Off—a boyband under his mentorship that was also in danger of being eliminated, Martin Nievera who voted in favour of Mabasa for the reason that he saw Mark’s career to have more potential longevity, and Charice who obviously preferred Mabasa more than the Take Off but decided to vote for the latter. Why? Because according to X-Factor rules, when the judges’ votes would result in a dead lock (2 to 2) the text votes would be the basis of the elimination. Thus, as if cleaning her hands in the elimination process, Charice voted to ensue a dead lock. The text votes were followed and Mabasa, who got the lowest votes for the evening, had to leave the show.

If the tweets are any basis, the reason why netizens are so irked by Charice’s decision to vote for a dead lock was that Mabasa was obviously better than the boyband he was up against. But we must remember that Charice only gave the power to the voting public. She chose the dead lock because any decision she’d make would put her in hot water. If she decided to vote against the boy band, Take Off supporters would turn against her. Thus, she tried to evade more hate (as she is seemingly the current apple of everyone’s dislike) by voting for a dead lock. Obviously, it still put her in an uncomfortable spot because she could have exercised the power to keep the more talented contender in the contest; and that is where all the hate comes from.

I think, the problem isn’t even with Charice. It was with Mabasa. The thing about Mabasa is he does not seem authentic; his moves seem too rehearsed, he has a way of being overly flamboyant, and he has an air of fakeness. I think he does not come across as genuine thus losing any iota of charm and charisma. Sure, he is talented; one of the best vocalists in the competition, but this is not enough to get votes. The bigger problem here is that the competition does not rely on votes; it is not one that plays on mass appeal as much as other reality shows these days. It relies on the decision of the judges, which apparently, could flip the whole game with a tie.

Although I do not particularly care for Mark Mabasa or Charice, what I dislike most is that people complain about things they could have changed. If you’re obsessed with the guy so much that it would push you to complain all over Twitter and make all your followers read tweet after tweet after tweet about how Mabasa is so much better than the boy band or how much you hate how Charice didn’t have the balls to pick her favorite, then why didn’t you vote for him? Oh right. You were too busy tweeting.

Donations for Flood Victims Tweeted

Twitter played an important role when the recent monsoon hit Luzon. People used the micro-blogging site to disseminate information such as hotlines for rescuers as well as information on how people could donate. Although this is probably the best use for the site, fame monsters used this in a way that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Unfortunately, some Tweeters (including some celebrities and personalities) posted photos of the donations they were making more often than necessary. It just seemed like they were doing this just to seem like a good citizen. I mean, I’m all for helping, and it is good that they took time out to help, but do you really need to tell everybody about it?

One comedienne was bombarded with hate tweets, for posting too many photos of her donations, from netizens who thought it was better to give with as much sound as silence. To her defense, she posted another tweet saying that she was doing this to show people the different ways they could help. Seriously, couldn’t you just have posted information on how they could do that instead of screaming to the world that you spent a fortune on your bountiful donations?

Of course, there are also companies that thought this was the best way to improve good will through positive marketing. A popular cosmetic company’s endorser announced that they donated hundreds of boxes of FACIAL WASH to the victims of the monsoon. Yes, because when you lose your belongings, have no food to eat, and water to drink, the first thing you would clamour for is facial wash that you can use while cleansing your face in flood water. Congratulations to the genius that thought this would be the best way to get on the good graces of Filipinos.

The sadder thing about this is even journalists are writing about it with headlines that read “(name of reality show) contestants donate from their own pockets”. Slow news day? I think someone forgot to turn their brain on while writing the news. First of all, would it really be considered their donation if it weren’t from their own pockets? Second, why would people want to know this? If that is news worthy, then why not go ahead and write about how a teacher from your alma mater donated some old shoes? Or how your yaya gave away her old clothes? Or how your neighbourhood sari-sari store owner donated money through donate-a-load schemes? I get that this is all a marketing strategy, but seriously, can you all grow even just a smidgen of shame?

We appreciate that people are donating, but we could only hope that it comes from a good place and not from a self-serving one.

For comments, suggestions, or more confessions from the columnist follow @zhaun on Twitter or go to Listen to Confessions of a Partyphile on the radio every Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9PM on 105.9 Mix FM.