Not long ago I skimmed over Friendster and Facebook user demographics as well as stats. Both social networks have uses to me: on Friendster I see cousins's kids posting chillaxation photos; on Facebook I find friends my age.
My usual means to connect with loved ones are still phone calls or text messages. The more blogging becomes regular, the less I might soon have to do with a host of other ICT gadgets. My T13 is a quick look back at how communication tools performed their role in the lives and deaths of people I know (Southeast Asia context / Filipino culture):
1. With the high cost of international calls, I am supposed to stick my nose to the pc and call only when it's important. But it was a bit different last year because a cousin succumbed to ear cancer and everyone trooped to the wake. The messages that keep coming up on my Chikka Messenger window described which aunt is chatting with which grandma, how long have uncles been glued to the mahjong and chikicha tables and so on.
2. The army band played. Before he died Edwin requested his band mates to play at his funeral; joked that if they played badly they would get a cold nudge from him.
3. I couldn't resist. I had to join in the fun. Not that a cousin's wake was fun but the slumber party going on at Grandma's haunted, world war II house was. I also worried that they're not snapping away and videotaping enough and I would end up not seeing any documentation afterwards.
4. As it wasn't an e-burial like a great aunt's earlier, I asked them to post snaps and clips on friendster and youtube. Mama's assignment was to read the obituary on Sunday morning. I asked her to ring me secs before she does so I could dial back and listen. I missed it because I overslept. Agh! But I still got to hear the minister with all the background noise of a people-packed church.
5. In a hush-hush manner the phone was passed from relative to relative and I spoke with one I haven't seen for almost twenty years. I was elated with the catching up minimal though it was, sad that Edwin was going, and then ... horrified. My bill!!!
6. Too late. Fast backward: on a Friday evening in 2007 a train accident took Vin's life. I didn't know him personally but his wife's family and some of mine are friends. Friendster did the job of informing people smoothly.
7. In a single click the news of Vin's death reached everyone around the world on sender Gab's friends list. While reading the news I remembered that at my father's funeral in 2005 Vin sang Crossing the Bar, and he's young, big and strong. Wait a minute, he couldn't be dead.
8. In disbelief I sent a text to my mother in the South to tell her. She informed Ruby in Cebu who forwarded the news to Tess in Lahore, and they both simultaneously asked Vilma in Bangkok if it was true or not.
9. An aunt in Seattle who is Gab's friend, came online so I told her. Since I didn't know any details of the news she rang Gab in Bangkok and moments later she was back online typing the details away. Gab and I live in the same city but I got the additional info not from him but from Seattle.
10. Human tendency to be unwilling to immediately believe something bad sets the purpose of ICT in wondrous motion and speed. All this info spreading took only minutes and it was confirmed the poor guy's not coming back.
11. A few days later I hurried to the temple after work to attend the cremation service. The Bangkok sun blazed like crazy rendering the surroundings bone dry but not mourners' eyes.
12. Vin's widow's six-year-old niece comforted her, "Don't cry, auntie. You'll find another husband soon."
13. Our Biernes Santo faces broke into amused smiles. In my mind I mused, "with the efficient help of today's ICT, that's possible, sweetie; but unlikely happening in 8 minutes."