OOPS, I goofed. Last Tuesday, I identified U.S. President Donald Trump;s wife as Ivanka. As two alert readers, Dr. Grace Avila and Canada-based Joey Gonzales, were quick to point out, Trump’s wife is Melania; Ivanka is his daughter. I knew that, too but with the prettier – and younger – Ivanka on your mind, I guess you’re doomed to miss Melania and discover your mistake too late. Sorry.


We’re no longer just the text messaging champions, we are also the number one social media users of the world, according to a recent international study. On the average, a Filipino spends four hours and seventeen minutes a day online. Almost an hour behind us, are the the Brazilians and the Argentines.

Significantly, in the United States, where almost all the social media platforms originated, average usage was only two hours and six seconds. The number could probably have been even smaller were it not for the huge presence of Filipinos - and Brazilians and Argentines, too - in the country.

I am not sure if the two are in any way connected but on the day Daily Inquirer carried the story on our social media addiction, it also reported that 3.1 million Filipino families experienced hunger during the last quarter of last year. Assuming that the average Filipino family has four members, this means that some 12.4 million Filipinos went moderately to severely hungry from September to December, 2016.

Is it possible that the number of hungry mouths would have been smaller if Filipinos had spent less time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among others? The Japanese log on an average of only 40 minutes daily, according to the Inquirer. Look where they are in the economic totem pole.

Or maybe, our pervasive use of the social media can be traced to our effort to escape from reality such as the pangs of hunger, for example? Remember how the Roman rulers appeased the poor by entertaining them with fights between gladiators at the Colosseum?

Indeed, if you look at social media, Facebook particularly, you will see a good number of users deceiving themselves or willingly submitting themselves to deception by others. This was particularly true during the last presidential campaign where “posts” that cried fabrication on their faces were “shared,” “liked” or favorably commented on.

In November last year, Farhad Manjoo wrote in the New York Times an article titled, “How the Internet is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth.” The internet “is distorting our collective grip on the truth,” he said. “Polls show that many of us have burrowed into our own echo chambers of information.”

A few weeks ago, two lawyers filed a plunder case against former President Aquino and some other officials in his administration. Their basis? A fake report that went viral on the internet.

Alas for the masochists who find gratification from delusion.