Last Sunday, almost half of Twitter’s worldwide trending list had to do something with the Philippines. What major event happened, you ask? It’s the FIFA qualifying match of the Philippine national football team and Sri Lanka! Fans who could not be physically present at the stadium became virtual cheerleaders by adding #goazkals to their tweets or by re-tweeting tidbits related to the game. While this goes to show the tremendous support that the Azkals have from their countrymen, it also is a manifestation of Filipinos' pervasive use of social networking.
To become a trend, the word or phrase has to be tweeted multiple times on the micro-blogging site. This means that many people are talking about the topic, enough to warrant it a place on the trending list. What’s so important with trending lists anyway? For one, it can be an indicator of what’s popular with people nowadays. More importantly, it is a way of sharing information with the rest of the world. One would be curious as to ask or find out what #youalready means or who Andi Eigenmann is. Curiosity leads to fact-finding, which then leads to knowledge. Aside from sharing information, the list is also a means for encouraging and generating discussion (much like what happened during the RH Bill debates), even if said discussion is restricted to the 140 character limit.
Twitter's trending list can not only be used to know who's who or what's hot, but can also be used as a tool for public participation in government. It can help spur government into action (for example, trending topics aimed at DILG or MMDA) or help effect change (like what happened in Iran). If we can affect worldwide trending topics like this with a sporting event, imagine what else we can do to put more relevant issues to the table.
Krystel Jehan M. Bautista, Entry no. 3