THE growth of social media should be a time for civic journalists to be active participants in reporting activities in their communities especially this coming election. 

The emergence of social media trustees and members of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) agree the emergence of social or new media have totally changed the landscape of communication especially in terms of interaction and involvement to socially-relevant issues.

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Citing statistics provided by media monitoring groups, Vera Files trustee Luz Rimban said the Philippines happens to be the 13th among countries in the world as the most active users of social networks.

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines ranks second only from Indonesia. 

As of September 2009, the Philippines registered the highest growth rate of 1,136 percent or 4.8 million active users. 

This rose further when on December 2008, the Philippines ranked eighth in the world with 8.3 million active users.


The most famous social network so far is Facebook. 

An average Facebook (FB) user has 130 friends. A Filipino FB user on the other hand, has more. 

Rimban said this trend changed the way people communicate. 

Before the emergence of social media, media communication followed the one-to-many trend. Now communication has emerged to a many-to-many form of communication. 

Social media likewise changed the way people have interacted with government. Today, Rimban said there is increased political discourse between people. 

As social media is increasing its involvement in the social scene, traditional media remains useful. 

Rimban said traditional media should embrace social media and maximize its potential as an instrument in engaging the public to be involved on socially-relevant issues.