an e-newsletter for everything text media
Text Media. Text Media Everywhere.
This may sound meta but, what you're reading right now is text media itself. As this editorial was written too, text media was manifested. It is literally everywhere: from street signs, to books, to magazines, to newspapers, to handwritten outputs, and in communication via social media. We type or write manually, we read, we speak, we comprehend. We gather the knowledge and make meaning out of it through our subjectivity; the meaning of a text not merely defined by critics. All these letters, regardless of what language is used, make up text media.
It is powerful in its simplest way by forming words verbally or not. It revolutionizes, given world's history, and has evolved from ancient times. Cultures are exchanged, various opinions, and with that audiences are able to engage. Literacy is measured through such a media and it can be partnered with other medium as well, hence its unlimited usefulness. Information is stored, thoughts are delivered into understandable sentences and paragraphs, anyone can produce the media because of it being inexpensive, and aesthetic rules are followed to please one's eye. Even a single word can influence a nation, or a piece of article, and the rest will transcend from that point onward.
So imagine a world without text, without any symbols at all. Empty, isn't it?
Editorial Art by Nicole Catherine Chiu
Pope Francis: "Text messages and social media are a gift from God"
An article from Catholic Herald highlighted Pope Francis' view on the internet, text messages, and social networks. He says that these are 'a gift from God'. The Pope delivered his message entitled Communication and mercy: A Fruitful Encounter, for the 50th World Day of Social Communications released by the Vatican last January 22, 2016. He also met Apple CEO Tim Cooks as his message was released.
Pope Francis said that "emails, text messages, social networks, and chats" can be fully human forms of communication" as they do not "determine whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal."
Francis recognized that "social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society" but he also warned us that is can "lead to further polarization and division between individuals and groups."
The Pope said that the internet can "help us to be better citizens" but he also reminds us of our responsibility to treat our neighbors with respect and dignity, even though we may not be able to see them in the online world.
"The internet can be used wisely to build a society which is healthy and open to sharing." Francis added.
Text Messaging is the Dominant Form of Communication Among Teens
Social media plays a big role, online networks are crucial to how the next generation interacts. But when it comes to connecting, text messaging is their preferred method, with 55% of teens saying they communicate via text message daily. This is one of the findings of a new Pew Research report into how teenagers are using technology, providing insight into how the younger generation interacts. The study - the result of a U.S.-wide survey of teens aged 13 to 17 - shows that, among daily interactions, texting is the dominant option, with nothing else even coming close.
While the rising popularity of messaging is widely known – Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, in particular, are always among the lists of most downloaded apps – the margin of popularity, in regards to daily use, is somewhat eye-opening. At 55%, text messaging leads the next closest daily connection type by a margin of 28% - and that next option is Instant Messaging (meeting friends in person is the next closest, coming in at 25%). That’s a strong trend to take note of, particularly for those looking to communicate with younger generations.
In addition, the study also found that teen girls are more likely to connect with friends via text than boys, while boys dominate video games.
No real surprises there, but again, it’s the margins of variance that are worth noting – text messaging comes out well ahead of talking on the phone and social media amongst this user group.
The data is pretty clear - if you’re not utilizing messaging when marketing to younger consumers, you’re likely missing out. And if you’re not considering how that trend relates to the next generation of consumers, how those habits might translate as they move into the next stage of their lives, it might be a good time to start doing so.
Interestingly, the study also shows that 57% of US teens have met new friends online.
The most common platforms where teens meet new friends online are social networks - 64% of respondents indicated they’d made new friends via social, with Facebook and Instagram the most popular. Even more interesting, 80% of these online relationships remain exactly that, with only 20% of teens actually ever meeting these connections in real life.
This is a fascinating insight, and one which may shine a light on the future of connectivity and how we meet and make friends. According to this data, 29% of teens have established relationships with five or more people online, the vast majority of whom they’ll never meet. On one hand, this likely reflects more hesitation amongst teens to meet strangers in real life - which might be a good thing considering the amount of horror stories we hear about predators on the web. But it also highlights just how important internet connectivity and online relationships have become.
These connections would play a significant part in the social lives of these teens, as well as their social development and interactive DNA, yet they don’t need to meet to do this. While in-person communications used to be a crucial part of the connective process, these figures suggest that maybe this isn’t so important to the next generation. In terms of habitual evolution, this likely points to more work being conducted remotely in future and more business relationships being formed online. While face-to-face meetings will always be valuable, it’s interesting to see how teens are approaching connectivity, and how online relationships which never cross into the 'real world' are playing a significant part.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION
The report looks at social media habits among teens, finding that 76% use social media. Interestingly, the most commonly experienced use of social media among teens was ‘people stirring up drama’.
Among other notes:
- 83% of teen social media users say social media makes them feel more connected to information about their friends’ lives
- 70% of social media-using teens feel better connected to their friends’ feelings through social media.
- 88% of teen social media users believe people share too much information about themselves on social media.
The responses somewhat reflect the trend towards more personal connection via text message – while 83% of teens use social media to stay connected to information about their friends’ lives, the vast majority also feel that there’s too much info being shared – and likely too much drama as a result. 53% of social media using teens also noted that they've seen people posting about events to which they weren’t invited, and 42% noted that they’d had someone post something to social media about them that they couldn’t change or control.
Given these factors, it’s not surprising that teens are closing in their relationship circles and communicating in more intimate groups, as opposed to broadcasting via social platforms.
There’s a range of other insights in the full Pew Report, and it’s well worth reading to get an insight into how the younger generation views and utilizes social media and mobile technology for connective purposes.
The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens
An article by the Scientific American discussed how technology has changed the way people read. With the surge in popularity of digital and mobile readers, it is good to know if we are still able to comprehend information as effectively as before and if the brain responds in different manners to text on screen and on the page of a book.
According to the article, the brain interprets letters as physical objects to better comprehend them. The brain also interprets large amounts of text as some sort of physical landscape. It is similar as to when a person remembers what building he just passed by a while ago. This process helps in the retention of where certain information was read or found.
The physical characteristics of a book can help the brain create a mental map of the text; even the simple act of turning a page aids the brain in this process. In digital readers, these characteristics cannot be found and thus somehow impair comprehension.
According to studies, there is not much difference in immediate reading comprehension for digital reading and reading with a book but in long term memory, people tend to remember information better when they have read it in a book.
A theory as to why people retain information better when it comes from a book is due to a person’s attitude when approaching reading on screen versus reading with a book. When reading on-screen, people subconsciously think of it as a less serious affair, compared to when reading a book, people approach it in a more studious or focused manner.
2010 US Study: Philippines as text messaging champ
US-based technology and social media news blog Mashable.com released an infographic in Aug. 2010 detailing text messaging trends in the US and around the world, aggregated from various news sources. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Philippines continues to be the text messaging capital of the world.
Citing collated data from Reuters, the New York Times, CTIA.org, UPI.com, Pew Research, Kvue.com, Matzav.com, and Portio Research, the infographic showed that, in 2009, the average Filipino mobile subscriber sent an average of 600 text messages per month, or 43 percent more than their US counterparts.
"SMS statistics vary widely by source, but the trends and comparisons are generally consistent," researcher Shane Snow noted.
"The cost of a cell phone and SMS plan compared to that of a computer and a broadband connection has made texting extremely popular in developing countries," he further explained. "And 'unlimited messaging' plans have made it the communication medium of choice for teens everywhere (beating face-to-face conversation and e-mail in popularity)."
Digital or Print Books: Does it really matter?
The addition and increase in popularity of digital and mobile readers nowadays is one of the many wonders brought to us by technology. It is now easier to access books whenever we want and less bulky to have them around.
Books are one of the many materials included in text media. It may contain information that we might be able to make use of or stories for our entertainment and reading pleasure. Nonetheless, we must be able to understand a book’s content for us to make us of it. Literacy has always and will always be a criterion in the utilization of text media and a book is no different.
"Being able to read is good but being able to comprehend what is read is better."
Reading and comprehension differs for everyone. There are those who read slowly, those who read fast, those who need to reread passages to better understand, etc. Studies have shown that there are no considerable differences in comprehension as to when a person reads on screen or on a page of paper.
The choice in having either a paperback, or an e-book, or both, in my opinion, depends on preference. It doesn’t matter if the reader prefers the classic paperback or the modern day digital book, what matters is that the reader is able to comprehend what is being read. After all, a book is something to be read and understood no matter what form it comes in.
With the influx of internet 'memes' goes the proliferation of invented jargons and phrases that had absolutely come from nowhere. 2015 was a year full of ups and downs; meanwhile, on the context of Philippine internet, these ups and downs were accompanied by a lot of LOLs and a lot of keme in life.
"The use of these words is inevitable in our culture."
Jargons like beh/beks, pa more, char, kebs, and a whole lot of other witty ones dominate everyday conversations in text messaging, in social media, and even in real life. I find this funny, and although I speak like this in a constant basis, the idea that we continue to use these words vexes me.
I have a close friend named Jane, and she has this funny expression she uses for things she couldn’t exactly explain: keme. "Mga keme keme lang" and "I-keme mo na yung part mo sa thesis beh" she would say. I find bias on my part, because when she talks like that, I never find it annoying. When other people do it, though, my expectations of them downgrade a little.
I’m no language prowess (although I was a language and lit student once), but I say that while all this my reasoning seems shallow, the fact that this— the use of these words— is inevitable in our culture.
The Greatest Weapon We Never Used
Nicole Catherine Chiu
Information moves so fast nowadays. Everyone is always online. We could have used this fact to our advantage for this year's elections.
We, unsurprisingly, did not. I expected my Facebook feed to boom with statistics about different important things and with the credentials of the Presidential candidates. Instead, social media is filled with different memes that both mock and promote the candidates. It is filled with people's opinions and banter. It could have been filled with the candidates' detailed platforms and their track records which could help us to think things through and make a well-informed decision, one that is very crucial to this nation's future.
"Words can hurt. Words can heal."
We know that media is powerful; nothing is new with that. However, we still prioritize our personal interests rather than a greater good. We are slowly getting there though. There are numerous pages and movements that have started online to raise awareness for many different things such as mental health and environmental issues.
Sometimes, we forget though. It does not mean it is hopeless and useless. We could always start with ourselves. Let us be more mindful of the words and pictures we put online. Let us try to minimize the hurt we consciously, or even unconsciously inflict upon others, and try more actively to contribute to change and good.
Propaganda Ignited the Philippine Revolution
And that revolution, even after a hundred years, is still being fought up to this day.
The Spark, as I call it, was the ilustrados utilizing democratic means to ask for reform from the colonial ruler: Spain. Here we have immortal names such as Jose Rizal, Graciano Lopez-Jaena, and Marcelo Del Pilar, to name the most familiar; yet so many ilustrados existed, those who were fortunate enough to stay in Europe, just to seek reform. They wrote and they argued, wanting change and autonomy from oppression. They, having been enlightened by the European thought of a peaceful revolution, published essays and essays for the Madrid audience. This was the spark some continents away in Europe, in Spain: more civilized and respectable during the late nineteenth century. While back in the Philippines, the colony of the Crown, chaos and injustice ruled.
Propaganda ignited the fire long before, but the fire always did reduce to a mere spark. We had someone before Jose Rizal: Padre Jose Burgos. And someone before Padre Jose Burgos. These "heroes" came after the other, not really aware that they themselves were starting a fire that will burn wildly - only to last in a state of ashes. They may have not wanted to be precursors of a violent revolution, and yet what they wrote influenced not just the higher class. What they wrote seeped through the minds of those belonging below, the ones truly oppressed, and who could blame the oppressed gathering up arms? They could no longer wait, in contrast to the propagandists who were patient enough, for when was the right time? They were willing to die to let those born after them live.
"Who would've thought that individual letters weaved together could produce not only knowledge, but an identity of a people?"
This is our history: starting from puzzle pieces of words formed by the masses wanting to fight back. What was written was read; and what was read was given a meaning. And through that meaning, the idea of the revolution spread like wildfire. Futile though it was in the eyes of the tyrant, but it wasn't really. The Revolution wasn't futile at all for it is not finished. The Revolution did not end one sunny day in Kawit, Cavite as the Philippine flag was valiantly waved from a balcony; or as the President of the Republic swore allegiance to the United States; or when the Japanese retreated from the country. It did not end even when the Americans granted us independence on a July 4th. And surely, it did not end in EDSA several decades afterwards.
The Revolution continues. Today. In new means of propaganda. We have yet to be free as a legitimate nation. But the only difference now, we need to fight to be free from our own oppressive selves.
Books Over Movies?
I have just recently finished rereading the Harry Potter series. It’s one of my favorite book (series) of all time. I liked the movies too, but the books just give me a different sort of experience, a better one, I would say. Although this is has a lot to do with personal preference, I still always recommend that others should read the books before they watch the movies.
I’ve had a lot of people say that I’m just being a book "elitist" or a "hipster" when I say that reading the book is better than watching the movie. (I’m none of those) But it’s not about being a snobby, book-loving, movie-hating elitist (which I honestly, am not); it’s about going back to the very essence of a story. It’s about living the story the way it was designed to be lived and experienced. I’d never stop someone from the watching the film adaptation of a book/story, go ahead, watch it… but read the book/s.
Not only does reading books let s experience the essence of the story, it also helps us develop our creativity by maximizing the brain’s ability to imagine. Because we would only have words (though perhaps some books will have an occasional illustration or map here and there) our brains will have to think creatively in response to the descriptions given in the stories we read. Watching the movie before the book eliminates this experience, it eliminates the need to imagine your own version of a scene or a character. This, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I suppose some people actually prefer a little help when it comes to mental imagery and they get this by watching the films first.
"To truly fall in love with the experience of reading, a person must keep reading."
I’ve have friends who say, "Bakit ko pa babasahin yung libro kung may pelikula naman?" [Why would I read the books if there are movies?] and my inner book nerd gets so frustrated when I hear them say this. I tell them that they aren’t the same. The films would always change something (and let’s face it, it’s never the books that change the story) and thus the story isn’t the same. I tell them, read.
Truth is, reading takes practice. And to truly fall in love with the experience of reading, a person must, keep reading. It takes time and it takes a lot of good stories (I think sometimes people just don’t like reading because they’ve never found that story, you know, the one that changes something inside you) but once you get into it, you’ll find that reading would come naturally, and the urge to experience the story in it’s original form would become an innate desire.
So why such passionate talk about reading? Because I’m continually trying to convince people that reading is still better than watching (haha). Don’t let the screen do all the work for you, give your mind something to do. Read, people, read.
JOURNALING MADE ME HAPPY
Nicole Catherine Chiu
I started journaling around May last year. I kept on seeing people in Instagram and Tumblr posting snaps of their own journals and they seemed pretty and cool. So, I went to the store and I took an hour (literally) to pick out just one notebook. I picked out the one with unlined pages and a van Gogh cover. I was excited and anxious at the same time because I wanted to commit to this and eventually fill one whole notebook, which I have never been able to do before. I did not aim to write daily but I wanted to remember the little good things.
About 10 months after I bought that first journal notebook, I was able to fill every page! I was so happy with it so of course, I bought another notebook. Okay, not just one. I bought a couple more so I could have different journals for different purposes. I will not be stopping anytime soon and here's why:
1. It helps me remember the little things in my life. Like my cactus Kutcher. Or that mediocre but still entertaining movie that I watched. I realized that I may have taken my life for granted but by writing them down, I'm able to count my blessings and be more grateful.
2. It gives me some quality me time. As an introvert, I just love setting aside a few hours to take care of myself. I don't journal daily, not even weekly, but when I am able to have some time off from school work and all other hassles of life, I can unwind, relax, and reset by journaling. Setting aside time for this helps with my mental health too.
3. It helps me remember factual information or opinions from others. So I can pretend that I'm smart by spewing out random information to my friends. Kidding. Some trivia and quotes are simply interesting and they might be handy in the future.
4. It provides a space for me to be creative. I'm able to experiment writing with different colored pens. I attach pictures along with my writing. I'm able to express myself freely because no one will judge me (unless someone reads it without my permission and hopefully no one does). I now consciously link colors and font styles to different moods and emotions. I'm also able to write down certain ideas and inspiration that I could turn into something bigger later on instead of just relying on my memory to remember it (I don't even remember what I had for lunch the other day). There's just a lot of space for creativity! *heart eyes*
5. It raises self-awareness. I am able to reflect on the things I like and don't like, on my passions, on my views on different issues, on certain life matters or even existential questions. It helps me know myself more, where I stand and what to improve on.
Journaling might not be for everybody but I encourage everyone to try it. You can just start by asking yourself this question everyday: What was good today?
BOOKS AND DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
I remember as a child, my mother would always encourage me to read. It didn’t really matter what particular reading material I would pick as long as I was reading something. Since then, as long as I find some interesting reading material, I’d take a few moments to check it out and see if it will be worth the while.
Reading is an activity that isn’t necessarily for everybody. There are people who just find it quite tedious or just plain unnecessary. To me, reading is about gathering new information, seeing the world in a different light, and even creating your own imaginary world. Some of these are things we won’t be able to experience in our daily lives.
Reading can be a form of distraction or escape from current reality, or entertainment. But the first thing to remember before choosing something to read is that it should interest you. Reading something that doesn’t really mean anything or interest you in any way will be a waste of time. Don’t be afraid to put down or stop reading something just because you don’t have the heart to continue it.
Being able to sit down and read for a while and do nothing else is not something natural to all of us but it can be something we can grow into. Reading is an activity you want to do in your own pace to fully enjoy the experience. It might be boring at first but when you get to finish a good book and turn that last page at the end, you might also feel that feeling of satisfaction after reading that has always made me read more books in my free time.
Author of the Month: Chuck Palanhiuk
It has become a goal of mine to finish at least two books every month. By challenging myself I get to read though a lot more books and to get to know more authors.
For the past couple of months I’ve been reading Chuck Palanhiuk books. For those who don’t know Chuck Palaniuk, he is the author of the book Fight Club that was adapted into film back in 1999. This film was so well known it has a cult following. I’ve read the book and seen the movie a couple of years back and I have recently gotten hold of a Chuck Palanhiuk book collection and have marathoned his books since (with little breaks in between where I would read novels written by other authors).
Where am I going with this? Well, I’m recommending him and his books, that’s where.
See, through the course of reading his novels I have discovered that he has become one of my favorite authors. He has strange plots from time to time and the occasional WTF moments here and there, but I cannot deny that his writing style is one of the most unique I’ve ever encountered. He uses a different style in very novel, yet maintains a certain quality that lets me know that "hey, it’s still him writing this". For some reason, I never see his plot twists coming and I love the surprises he has hidden within his novels.
Also, he’s very humorous in his writing, using a mixture of dark humor and witty dialogue. Although, perhaps it would be a good idea to warn you, that his books aren’t for kids.
For those who are wondering what genre Mr. Palanhiuk writes in, he writes what we call, Transgressive fiction, which is basically, "A genre of literature that focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways. Because they are rebelling against the basic norms of society, protagonists of transgressive fiction may seem mentally ill, anti-social, or nihilistic. The genre deals extensively with taboo subject matters such as drugs, sexual activity, violence, incest, pedophilia, and crime." (The New York Times — April 23, 1995, pp. 49, 52)
So, whether you’re looking for a new read, a unique reading experience, or simply want to read something different, Palanhiuk is a great option. Happy reading!
Here, have a quote from Chuck:
"We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are. Sane or insane. Saints or sex addicts. Heroes or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are. Letting our past decide our future. Or we can decide for ourselves. And maybe it’s our job to invent something better." (Choke, Chuck Palanhiuk)
If you read that easily, chances are you’re familiar with the jeje-typing phenomenon sprouted back in 2010, known as the jejemon style of writing, and in most cases of the youth - a style of texting.
The jejemon style consists of replacing vowels with numbers and unnecessarily capitalizing letters in order to look ‘cool.’
According to a GMA News documentary entitled Jejemon and the Filipino Language, the jejemon language became prevalent simultaneously with the formation of gay and beki lingo, in which certain words and phrases are changed in a particular way that suits whichever lingo.
High school student Warlee Crisostomo, a self-proclaimed 'jejemon and swagger', said that jejemon-typing is what he’s known as the right form of writing.
"I add letter 'h' to words. For me, the words sound better with an added 'h'. When I write the letter 't' I always write it in small letters because it looks better that way," he said. "It’s just the way I’m used to writing them."
In contrast, DepEd literacy head Norma Salcedo argued that this 'should not be made as joke'.
"We have to inculcate to them [students] the right form, spelling, and pronunciation of words, so that it would mean something in a child and in a person," she said.
If you didn’t know, the word 'jejemon' won as word of the year in Sawikaan 2010.
Roland Tolentino, former UP CMC dean, had described the win as ‘an acknowledgement of the pop culture phenomenon it brought from the Internet to the rest of the country’.
Hence, the jejemon 'phase' says very much about our rich and diverse character as people— culturally and socially.
BAYBAYIN FOR DUMMIES: The Modern Reform
There are various standards on how to write in Baybayin but for convenience we will use the Modern Reform proposed by Norman de los Santos, not to be confused by other modern standards which is most likely made up by other enthusiasts. This standard has been published and approved by academics, linguists, and the community. To learn more about the Modern Reform, visit this site.
First off, the Baybayin is a syllabary—which means that the characters represent a syllable. At default, the characters represent a consonant sound and the vowel sound "a".
Traditional vs. Modern
Since the characters only permit one consonant and one vowel, additional sounds are deleted from the syllable. Thus, a lot of guesswork comprises the reading process because you would have to rely on the context to fully translate the word. The Spanish kudlit was then introduced to supply the missing letters and make reading easier.
Kudlits are symbols used to change the vowel sound. Writing above the character indicates the vowels "i" and "e", while writing below indicates "u" and "o". The Modern Reform also introduces further distinction between the vowel sounds.
The Spanish kudlit on the other hand, is used to cancel the vowel sound. It is usually written as an "x" or a "+".
There are separate characters for vowels that stand alone in a syllable.
There are special indicators to note the repetition of a syllable with the same consonant sound, repetition of a vowel.
The padalaw-a (:) is used for repeating the whole syllable, while the pahantig (•) is used for repeating only the consonant.
Ng is written as Ng+
Mga is written as M+ Nga