The age of social media does not only give us a medium to virtually connect with one another. It also bestows power upon a person, institution or even just an idea. Trend setters, were suddenly able to spark a movement with their fingertips while sitting on the couch at home or in a café. Through hashtags, each one of us can collectively bind our thoughts and elicit actions, whenever applicable, and conveniently build a paved memory lane if we want to look back and remember later on. Ironically, or so I think, at this very unprecedented time, the hashtags worked in reverse. It seemed to me as if the universe took these trends too seriously and metaphorically smeared the future, into what is happening today.
(Hashtags included here are based on Philippine trends in the last 5 years.)
First appearing in our circuits in 2009, when one becomes “viral” (term), he or she becomes a celebrity, an internet sensation. Obviously, today it’s not just a viral post or video, it’s contagion in all its literal glory. Covid-19 took the world by storm and became a trending entity, in virtual, and more harmfully, in reality by affecting a whopping 2.9M documented cases (as of April 27, 2020) around the globe!
Initially used for then Philippine Presidential Candidate’s campaign in 2015, this hashtag which is a play on Pres. Rodrigo’s surname, Duterte, i.e. /Doo/ /thirty/, made its round frequently in social media, especially after winning the Elections of 2016 and within the first few years, even until today. Supporters and fanatics cannot stop themselves from adoring and mentioning #Du30, so on March 17, 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pres. Duterte mandated Luzon (biggest island of the Philippines) to #Du30 days of community quarantine. Eventually, it was extended to the 30th of April, then to 15th of May, 2020. We have done 30; now we’re on to the next phase, when we “do thirty”.
This term mixing “stay” and “vacation” first became a word in print back in 2005. Social media became its second home by being utilized by netizens to caption their still-glamorous vacations at home or in nearby hotels. Today, it trends again world-wide, together with its cousins, #stayAtHome and #staySafeAtHome in response to the government attempts to ease the virus spread.
(no classes, in Filipino)
Being a tropical country, the Philippines is frequented by tropical storms all year round, more so in the rainy season. In my time, my mother tunes in as early as 4 or 5am to the AM radio to await announcement of class suspensions. She has to wait for the suspension categories. Will the government include preschool, gradeschool, high school or college? It depends on the severity of the weather. The employees, always, are an exemption. They are considered to be sea creatures with gills and fins, for no matter how hard the storm hits, they are still required to go to work.
In this age, one of the perks brought about by the social media is news sharing. Now a mom to a grade schooler, I would just check my phone and use this hashtag to decide whether to wake up my still-dreaming child or to leave him in his slumber. A lot of storms and other nasty weather systems prompted class suspensions and #walangpasok came in handy, as always. It trended so much, it brought the world the mother of all storms, causing all the school children to finish the school year at home, and even the employees to adapt a new setup at home to keep their companies running. The frontliners, however, are not called fishes, they are our heroes, whom we appreciate so much in this very difficult time. Let’s give them a grand vacation, a #walangpasok just for them, after this storm.
(Team House, in Filipino)
Let me just guess that using the phrase “Team (your team)” originated from sports enthusiasts, then in politics, show business, organizations and, later in households, prompting people to take sides in disjointed situations. In 2015, probably earlier, it was used to indicate somebody who stays at home in lieu of attending an important gathering such as a basketball game, concert or a party. Of course, social media took it in its arms and it was used by people who were just happily missing out. They felt okay to announce to the world that they will watch the event on their TVs or phones.
Team Bahay has successfully, (I bet the government hopes), recruited the most of us in this pandemic. We proudly update our family and friends what we’ve been doing at home to keep ourselves safe and help flatten the curve.
This hashtag does not need explaining. Who wouldn’t want an endless summer?! And who wouldn’t share his frustration over an ending summer? For those who wished for it, it’s here now but in a whole lot different form! So, be careful what you wish for next time.
In 2015, by accident, a popular noontime show, Eat Bulaga, instigated, a not-your-typical-kind-of-love-story series in one of their segments. The couple name was that of Alden (Alden Richards) and Yaya Dub (Maine Mendoza) who developed a love storyline on separate sets/screen on TV, with the least of scripts, and a short daily chunk, initially, until it became a full-blown, much awaited, kilig (romantic excitement) generator love story of all time. In the end, they were tagged as the “Phenomenal Love Team.” Mobs and Hordes of followers made them the Guinness World Records holder for the most used hashtag of a massive 40M tweets within 24 hours! The particular hashtag used was #AlDubEBTamangPanahon (AlDub EB right time).
The fact that they haven’t met and a #LDR-depicted relationship gave it the right amount of mystery that got people hooked. Today, in this pandemic, couples are given a forced taste of a long-distance relationship, even when they live just a few kilometers away. I hope that they get the same amount of mystery and yearning to hold on to what they have until the tamang panahon (right time), when we are all free to see each other, face to face, once again.
I, honestly, am not a K-pop fan. But, I watched GOT. I remember this hashtag due to Game of Throne’s Arya Stark. Arya symbolized girl power in the series from start to finish. Upon research, however, BTS’s single came out in 90% of the results. Looking the lyrics up, boy was I amazed! If it gave inspiration (not to mention, kilig among its fans) then in 2016, it is much needed now, as well. Like Arya, refusing death today (in the context of the phrase) and BTS, in their lyrics, saying “Today, we will fight… today, we will survive,” this hashtag is worth using again, now, more than ever as we fight to beat the Covid-19 pandemic.
I was thinking more of Thanos and how he snapped his fingers in Infinity War when this pandemic officially became a pandemic. Today, world death tolls at 207k (as of April 27, 2020). It’s not half of the world, I know, and I am very thankful. I should have chosen #infinitywar since it also trended but I thought #endgame was more appropriate. Not because of its title but because of the movie itself. Many of us are suffering outdoors, risking their lives; and also, indoors, risking their safety (for those who are abused), and some risking their mental health (those who are anxious and depressed). It seems like an endgame for many of us. But then again, it’s just the title. Recalling the movie, I want to believe that this hashtag really predicted where we’ll be at today and tomorrow. It saw us getting together, helping one another, and forming a plan to beat what we are facing. Some of us will be down but we will stand together to lift each other up. And when Iron Man snaps, we may lose great men (May their souls rest in peace.), but we will prove to them that their works and sacrifices will not be in vain. We will be the Avengers in the Endgame. All of this will end soon.
This is current President Duterte’s catchphrase in his campaign when he ran for President. Also, it is the Filipino people’s hope for the country when he took the position in 2016. The arrival of this pandemic cannot be more attuned to this phrase! Change is indeed coming, brought about by this virus. There is fond remembrance of what was it like before and there are talks about the incoming “new normal.” However and whatever change is coming, let us all hope and pray that it is for the better. For the world. And for all its people.