THINK Forward 2022 is this year’s title of the report of We Are Social, identifying five important trends for 2022 and onwards. I am sharing these trends as a way for leaders and policymakers to design their projects and strategies, as well as citizen’s engagement and policy initiatives for this year and in the coming years.

The first trend is “in-feed syllabuses” or the recognition that social media and the internet in general is being “repurposed around the world as platforms for self-directed learning.” For more than two years of educational classes being disrupted and continuous experimentation with virtual classes, the world either with work, school and self-directed political learning, is gradually adopting social as an educational tool.

Unfortunately, the Philippines has only barely scratched the surface in terms of leveraging the potential of social media and other internet-driven platforms. The rigorous push for face-to-face classes without intentionally designing new ways of learning could be a waste of efforts and resources.

As shown in the report, the internet has grown to become a place of Eureka for learners around the world -- finding through the so-called "social" (a term used for social media use of Internet) what skills need to be learned to grow, to be employed, to be useful, to integrate with the rest of the workplace, to be productive, and to be efficient, among other purposes. And eventually, searching for virtual platforms to learn these skills and to earn certifications. The country needs leaders who will closely study these trends and utilize the virtual highway for education.

The second trend is the so-called “vibe economy.” The curation of moods and feelings have become a coveted creative skill. We Are Social says “a whole new genre of content and creator has moved to the fore: one defined by curating a specific mood or feeling.” Now we see the rise of peer influence as an effective way to advertise products and services. Feedback from customers becomes the best tool for promotion or can cause the downfall of a product. This trend is primarily driven by the new generation where feelings are transparent and exponentially exposed. By harnessing data from the so-called vibe economy, leaders would be able to effectively identify areas for improvement especially in the achievement of total human development in our country.

The third trend is “primetime,” where social has levelled up from its role as a second screen. The Think Forward 2022 report shows that more now than ever, social is the first screen, home to a whole new type of media consumption. Indeed, it was only a matter of time for traditional television and tabloids to be overtaken by the Internet, which is now the regular source of news and information. Leaders must keenly observe this trend and look for ways to maximize it in terms of driving information for public good.

The fourth trend is “social cynicism.” Creators are fighting to overcome tropes of social. Creators are pushing back against social’s status quo, using comedy and informed critique to manifest a more creative social landscape. Tropes or figurative or metaphorical use of words or expressions that shape social have either bad or good influence upon the public depending on the situation. Different types of sectors are now pushing their respective agenda in social media to provide a more balanced perspective about things.

The fifth trend is the so-called “new materialists.” People are investing in digital content and creativity. People have started to understand and appreciate the economic value of digital content. Investing in online goods has become the hottest way to earn clout, both online and off, according to We Are Social.

With all these trends, leaders and thought leaders in this country can develop a more realistic framework in re-building the country with the help of citizens. Just like in other progressive countries where citizens play a crucial role in putting their respective economies back to shape.

Let’s hope for the best!