By NADZ RUIZ AND JASMINE SHEWAKRAMANI
MANILA: What makes a Twitter trend, well, trend?
As it is loosely defined, the trending topics show what is buzzworthy in a particular area at any given time. In this way, the 9.5 million Filipinos using the social microblogging site tell the world what is on their mind in ten keywords or hashtags.
This year, the Philippine trending topics have seen a lot of action. Besides fan clubs fervently trying to make their favorite celebrities popular, and people asking for #25factsabout you, Filipino tweeps have used Twitter as an avenue to discuss timely national issues and personalities, as well as to encourage action.
Here are some of the newsworthy Twitter trends that we won’t forget this year.
1. #ReliefPH and #RescuePH -- The “storm with no name” took Metro Manila and nearby provinces by surprise with almost a week of non-stop rain and consequently, a great deal of flooding throughout the region. The torrential rains were brought about by the habagat which was intensified by a storm outside the PAR.
During the week-long deluge, people used Twitter and Facebook as means to inform the media and other concerned government agencies of their situation as well as to ask help for their relatives and communities.
Government encouraged media and netizens alike to use the unified hashtags #ReliefPH and #RescuePH to better track places that needed relief and rescue. Non- government organizations also helped by creating databases that would track the status of requests made via Twitter using the hashtag. It just goes to show that even the smallest initiative--a hashtag--could do a world of good when used for the right reasons.
2. #SottoCopy and #Sinotto -- The hashtag #Sinotto emerged amid plagiarism accusations against Sen Tito Sotto. At first, the hashtag was used for tweets containing famous quotes or song lyrics that were translated from English to Filipino and vice versa as tweeps mocked Sen Sotto's alleged translation of parts of US Pres Kennedy's speech into Filipino without attribution.
As other variations of #Sinotto came about like #Sottocopy, #Sottonism, and others, the hashtag was then meant to refer to anything plagiarized or copied without proper attribution.
More than being a testament to Filipino humor and originality, the creation and use of #Sinotto showed how the online community can spur mass actions on controversial issues.
3. #PacBradley and #PacMarquez - There is a joke that when Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao has a fight, the crime rate in the Philippines drastically goes down for one day because everyone is glued to their TVs.
This year, Pacman faced off with Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in two epic fights that had netizens glued to their smartphones too, as they followed the flurry of live tweets.
This wasn’t Pacman’s year, however, as he lost both fights. As expected, dejected Pinoy tweeps took to the trending topics to show their support for Pacman.
When Pacquiao lost to Bradley via unanimous decision, #RIPBoxing took the top spot on the trending topics, with fans showing their disgust over what they called a questionable decision.
Meanwhile, the term “Manny Pacquiao” and the hashtag #FilipinoPride trended worldwide immediately after the bout with Marquez, with the latter staying at the top spot for hours.
4. #AMALAYER -- Maybe it was just bad luck that Paula Jamie Salvosa's public argument with a lady security guard at the LRT Santolan station was caught on camera.
The cellphone video went viral on Facebook on the same day and garnered more than 68,000 shares and 17,000 shares. On Twitter, the hashtag #AMALAYER, which came from Salvosa’s pronunciation of “I’m a liar” trended both worldwide in the Philippines for days as netizens reacted angrily to the incident.
A lot of discussion ensued afterward about cyberbullying, and if the video should have been posted publicly online at all, given that viewers will make judgments about what was filmed, without knowing the context of the incident. Paula Salvosa did air her side that same day, saying she was not treated well by the guard and that was what caused the confrontation.
Nevertheless, we all learned something from #Amalayer: a reminder to all how to conduct ourselves in public, in an age where anything can be uploaded online.
5. #MsPHILIPPINESforMsUniverse2012 -- Still reeling after the devastating effects of Typhoon Pablo as well as Pacman’s second loss, many Filipinos were looking for a morale boost--and they found it in Janine Mari Tugnonon, the country’s representative to this year’s Miss Universe Pageant.
Tweeps were quickly charmed by Janine’s grace and poise that was evident throughout the entire competition. The local trending topics were on fire with well-wishes for the 20-year old beauty, who seemed to have a great chance of bringing home the Miss Universe title. Even if she didn’t get the crown (and settled for a still-impressive 1st runner-up finish), Janine’s fans catapulted her to Twitter fame. Miss Philippines trended worldwide after the coronation and stayed on the trends for hours afterward.
6. Jessica Sanchez - For the first time in American Idol history, a Filipina came through to the Top 2. This Filipina-Mexican-American powerhouse became a fan favorite and a serious contender for the American Idol title.
Jessica Sanchez blew away the crowd and the judges, even impressing Jennifer Lopez so much that she saved the 16-year-old from elimination. Filipinos in the US and in the Philippines rallied behind her on Twitter especially on Finals night. While Jessica did not win American Idol, her fans made sure that the Twitterverse knew how proud they are of her as her name trended for hours after the competition.
7. Salamat Dolphy and Salamat Jesse - 2012 saw the country grieve for two Filipino icons. One was an exemplary public servant while the other was the Philippines’ Comedy King.
On July 10, 2012, it was curtains down for Comedy King Dolphy after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Tears were shed not only by Dolphy’s family, which lost a father, but also by the whole Filipino nation which lost an icon who had given so much joy in times of hardships. Words of condolences poured out both online and offline. During Dolphy’s wake and especially during his funeral, Salamat Dolphy trended on Twitter as Filipinos continued to reminisce on the Comedy King’s colorful life as well as offer words of comfort to his family.
A month after the Comedy King’s death, the nation found themselves once again grieving for a man who was the epitome of a true public servant. On August 18, 2012, media organizations broke news that the plane carrying DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo crashed off the island of Masbate.
For two days, the Filipino people shared the Robredo family’s anxiety as they maintained the hope of finding the secretary still alive. The Philippine government put into action intense search and rescue operations for the former Naga mayor whose “tsinelas leadership” earned the nation’s admiration and respect. As the nation waited for news on TV, radio, and print, netizens also turned to Twitter for updates as well as offer their concern for Sec. Jesse. When search and rescue teams finally recovered the plane wreckage along with the confirmation that the secretary has perished in the accident, tweets of sympathy poured out. “Salamat Jesse” and other related hashtags and key words trended on Twitter during his wake in Malacanang and especially during his state funeral in Naga City.
8. #RHbill and #SinTaxBill -- It has been a monumental year for the Reproductive Health and Sin Tax Bills, both of which have been passed into law before 2012 ended. It was a welcome gift to those who have been lobbying for its passage--not just the lawmakers themselves, but those who took to Twitter to express their opinions about the law, whether pro or anti.
The hashtags #RHBill and #SinTaxBill were mainstays on the local trending topics for much of the second half of the year. While politicians debated various parts of the law in their sessions, netizens also kept up the debate on Twitter.
9. #CJTrial - With a vote of 20-3 in the Senate, Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato C. Corona was convicted for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Philippine Constitution and was duly impeached from the highest position in the Philippine justice system.
The impeachment trial and the conviction were historic--the first time a chief justice was ousted. Such an important event was closely followed by the media, even broadcasting every session live on national TV. As people tuned in to their TV sets, netizens also saw the trial unfold on Twitter. Media organizations as well as political analysts and other government watchdogs captured the drama via livetweets, bringing the fiery exchanges among prosecution, defense, and judges to netizens everywhere.
Twitter buzz on the trial notably spiked on ex-CJ Corona’s testimony and finally on judgment day. Impeachment trial-related hashtags trended early in the morning, lasted for hours throughout the day and even after the Senate President has put down his gavel. Tweeps also hung on the words of every senator-judge, particularly Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago with her ferocious wit and humor and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s wisdom-laden statements.
The amount of attention (and the volume of tweets) generated by the impeachment trial not only on Twitter but on social media showed the increasing number of Filipinos who keep themselves updated with political and national issues.
10. #WalangPasok -- May pasok ba? is one of the first questions people ask when it’s raining hard outside or when there are news of storms and floods. Before, people would wait for announcements of suspensions on TV or radio, but with the changing times, many were waiting for official news via Twitter.
As a way for tweeps to easily keep track of these announcements, the PCDSPO encouraged schools, LGUs, and news organizations to use #WalangPasok as a unified hashtag for tweets on class and work suspensions.#WalangPasok was even eventually used as a way to track upcoming special and regular holidays.
11. #MalingMali -- What are the things in society that people deem wrong but still do anyway? It turned out there were a lot, according to tweeps who joined in trending #malingmali on Twitter, as they aired their grievances that ranged from relationship problems to rude MRT passengers to epal politicians.
The hashtag was conceptualized by GMA News as part of the Dapat Tama campaign, advocating the need for an informed voting public for the upcoming elections. It was a success, even taking a spot on the worldwide trending topics. GMA hopes through this initiative, voters will be reminded to do what is right this election season, and even influence candidates to do the same.
12. #itsmorefuninthePhilippines -- Why is it more fun in the Philippines? Locals, tourists, and netizens tell you why through breathtaking photos and witty captions.
Recognizing the potential reach of the internet across the Philippines and beyond, the Department of Tourism launched a campaign inspired by the virality of memes. #itsmorefuninthePhilippines trended as tweets and photos quickly popped up as tweeps outdid each other with their own unique versions of what is truly "fun in the Philippines". – KDM, GMA News