Mindy's Musings: The Sociables

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WikiBarkada is WikiPilipinas' answer to the social networking mania.

We Filipinos know ourselves as an amiable, family-oriented people who start our day by greeting our friends and finish it by kissing our parents good night. We have strong attachments to our fellows, and this trait might be the reason why we generally have an upbeat and optimistic attitude towards things. Probably because we are assured that we have many someones to lean on in times of hardship.

It is no wonder that we have embraced technology so well, since it introduced a whole new level of staying in touch with our loved ones. There's texting, a gerund we almost invented, which refers to sending short messages using our handy digital cellular phones. Literally whenever and wherever your are (okay fine, wherever there's phone reception), you and your friends and family can exchange greetings.

Aside from texting, there is another successful platform for being connected: the social networking site. And there are two right now that Filipinos particularly adore – so much that we have put these two on the list of our most visited websites. They are Friendster and Multiply.

The first one

Friendster (www.friendster.com) exploded in the Philippines back in late 2003, a time when everybody finally started getting Internet connections, albeit dial-up ones. The premise was simple: you register, enter your basic information, fill up the favorites box, submit a photo, then voila! You have a profile page. Just like your elementary classmate's slam book! You are then ready to add and invite friends.

For a time the contest was who had the most friends and who had gotten the most testimonials. Then it became who had the most awesome profile layout, who had the coolest song on their playlist, who had the most blog entries. But the purpose remained: it connected, introduced, and at times re-introduced people.

Go forth and...

Then suddenly, Multiply (www.multiply.com) came out of nowhere. Armed now with much faster connections, people signed up for this new Internet community which not just connected people, but also defined relationships and set boundaries between family, friends, and even online buddies. It also tapped into another favorite Filipino activity: sharing. Photos, videos, music can be shared with your network, while private files can be exclusively viewed by your contacts only. In a sense it further strengthened the connections between people, especially those with relatives abroad, as updating their brothers and cousins overseas on what's happening back home became much easier. It raised Filipino family values on a global platform.

There are other social networking sites that are catching up, such as Facebook (www.facebook.com), a similar application to Friendster but with a smoother, classic layout, Twitter (www.twitter.com), which is a 140-characters-only blog that allows users to receive short updates from other friends, and imeem (www.imeem.com), which is like a merger between a YouTube-like website for music and Friendster. Thousands, if not millions, of Filipino Internet users are already members of these social networking sites, exchanging details and sharing profiles everyday.

WikiBarkada!

WikiPilipinas has its own social networking site for its members: WikiBarkada! With the same tagline of “Join the Philippine knowledge revolution,” this website invites its members to be part of the biggest online writing project in the Philippines, and in the process be friends with their keyboard comrades. Why, we have the same interests of propagating and preserving Filipino history and culture through words, so why not take it to the next level and become a solid community?

What I love about WikiBarkada is that it has all the important features of other social networking sites, and becomes this complete website that provides its members everything they need. You can share photos and videos, post blog entries, participate in the forums, create groups, and of course, get the latest updates from WikiPilipinas! Who knew social networks can make you smart too?

Now that you know, go create yourself an account! Login to http://wikibarkada.ning.com and start meeting your new set of friends. And oh, add Mindy first!

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Read more of Mindy's Musings by visiting www.wikipilipinas.org. E-mail your comments, suggestions, and whatever message you have to mindy@wikipilipinas.org. I appreciate everything! =)


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