Social Media: Changing the World Faster than we can Click

I opened my Facebook account and found a photo of a guy assaulting an MMDA traffic enforcer who was just trying to do his job.

The video of this bullying behavior has gone viral on the internet and Filipinos have come together to mock, and effectively, punish the perpetrator.  They went so far as to research who this huge bully is and posted his profiles on Linkedin and Facebook.

Mr. Robert Blair Carabuena did something completely unacceptable.  The anger he showed and his violent reaction was uncalled for.  In a span of a few days, his unacceptable behavior has spread throughout the online community.  Prior to the existence of social media, instances like this, no matter how heinous, would be unknown and forgotten with the little man left to lick his wounds on his own.

Instead, Mr. Carabuena’s reputation is slowly but surely being ruined online.  He has been exposed as the bully that he is…. his video played in households not limited to the Philippines but everywhere there are computers or cellphones and an access to the internet.   Having photographs accessible online that people deem cocky, better described in our local vernacular as “maangas”, doesn’t help his cause.

Last year, another guy became the subject of extreme ridicule by the online community.  Mr. Christopher Lao mistakenly plunged his car into deep flood water causing the car to float.  Helpful bystanders rushed to his aid, pushing his car to higher ground but he came out of his car acting affronted and huffy.  He accused the bystanders of not “informing” him about the flood and blamed them for his mistake.

Netizens were quick to turn him into a laughingstock, a subject of ridicule and, in some cases, mean name-calling.  Admittedly his actions were not as horrible as those of Robert Carabuena, in fact it was bordering on humorous and was obviously just a defensive reaction, but his gaffe was nonetheless posted online repeatedly for all the world to see.

With the rise of Social Media, people have an added incentive to be careful in how to act, how to speak and how to generally conduct ourselves in public because we’ll never know who’s recording us.  Unlike before, when being caught on camera is taken by unwieldy recording equipment, now all it takes is a cellphone.

Even drivers who misbehave in the roads are often photographed and their license plates posted on Facebook with their poor driving habits described in detail.

The same applies to our businesses.  In the past, mistakes businessmen or restauranteurs make are often easily swept under the rug, quietly corrected or, in some cases, ignored because “no one will know”.

All it takes is for an unhappy customer to photograph the hair in their dish, the rude waiter, the unpalatable food, or the faulty “i-think-it’s-disposable” product, post it online or blog about it.  The news will spread like wildfire and next thing you know, you’ve got a crisis on your hands.

Social Media forces people, and businesses, to keep on their toes all the time.  All it take is one instance of bad publicity to ruin you.

Inversely, one piece of good publicity can turn viral and be the hinge factor to blast you or your business off to fame.

For every 1 person or business ruined by Social Media, there are countless others who have been catapulted into fame and good fortune.

So… act with dignity… treat people with respect… don’t do anything rash… make your customers happy… and social media can be a friend.

Or a foe. Our choice, really.


As of publishing this post, the “Ipakulong si Robert Blair Carabuena” page on Facebook which was formed yesterday has 6,145 likes.  There are other similar pages.  The incident occurred on August 11.

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