I slept with a smile last night.

Appreciation is one thing that makes people feel good about themselves and a late appreciation last night just got me very excited.

I guess for most people who follow me over Twitter or Facebook are very much aware that I regularly post pictures over Instagram which I then tweet or broadcast over FB. These pictures are usually snipets of my day, a blasts from the past, or a picture from one of my travels.

I was later introduced to a group of “instagrammers” who conducts daily challenges for their followers to work on. These challenges cover a variety of themes to which followers work on and submit at 9p. It was aptly hashtagged as the 9pm habit. Four pictures are then selected from the submitted photos, deemed as the best from the submissions, and are featured the next day. There are no prizes given and it is all about the recognition for one’s creativity – bragging rights and feeling good about one’s work.

I started to challenge my creativity to be able to participate in these challenges. I worked on the theme on a daily basis. It just took one of my pictures to be recognized to get me hooked with the daily challenges. The appreciation that I got on one of my entries was enough to challenge my creativity on a daily basis and I have the moderators of the #9pmhabit to thank for.

One of the themes that was featured this week dealt with the topic on culture and it got me into thinking as to how social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram introduced a new culture or a new way of thinking among its users. Come to think about it, the introduction of these mediums among netizens was bound to introduce a new way of thinking and doing things. In the end, it will definitely give birth to a new behavior among its users.

Take the case of selfies, the proliferation of self portraits over the internet was unheard of a few years back. Pictures were usually taken by a photographer and, if one wants to be part of the picture, then you got to get somebody else to take the shot. Every once in a while, we get to do a selfie but this can prove to be a challenge as this would require a lot of attempts to get a perfect shot as it is a hit and miss thing.

But with the introduction of mobile phones with built in front cameras that allow you to take pictures of yourself with the right angle and precision…selfies became a household activity. More and more people became appreciative of their looks. The introduction of applications that help enhance these pictures clearly paved the way for self-portraits to be enhanced that gives it a fresher and a more desirable look. And to top it all off, social media networks like Facebook and Instagram have provided the platform for these individuals to show off their finished products. Hence, selfies became a household name and, whether we like or dislike it, it is bound to stay.

It is also amazing how social networking sites play its role on opening the minds of society. The access to these media are limitless and it is so broad that the transfer of information can reach thousands of people in a matter of seconds. Opinions and sentiments can be shared, in the same way that getting chastised can happen in an overwhelming manner. Take the case of the “I’m A Layer” video that went viral and the hapless student getting a beating for berating a security personnel. It opened the eyes of the community that we do not tolerate these public acts. We then have to admit that it made everyone conscious of their actions while in public for fear of being caught and be berated online. We have become a more understanding community, all because of fear.

We have also allowed ourselves to become public properties as social networking sites have given us a platform to give our friends and even strangers updates on what is happening in our lives. Your minute by minute account of how you are stuck along Edsa traffic and your frustration are seen by followers in real time as you tweet. Your upcoming events are posted on your FB wall for your guests to make their confirmation. Better yet, your Instagram followers know what you had for lunch and even what you had for dessert. All this information are on the tip of your fingers and ready for public consumption. Though some may disagree with some of these practices, the reality is that it is here for keeps as we start understanding that we have become a more open and transparent society.

Given the advancement of today’s technology, we have clearly redefined the world and how we see it. We are a witness as to how gadgets have made life easier for us with just a click of a button. We have accepted the reality that information can easily be transferred across continents in a matter of seconds and that the biggest threat that we face globally is the loss of access to these information. We have grown to understand that our gadgets that connect us to the world is an important commodity for daily living.

So how did it affect me?

It is bringing out the creativity in me. It has allowed me to become a photographer that I have always wanted to be and with my works appreciated by many. Just like the pictures that I have posted on my wall that were selected to be featured by different groups over at Instagram. A picture that was selected to be featured from my wall was enough to make my day yesterday. It was the reason why I was smiling myself to sleep last night.

My world is a lot different now as I am seeing it in a different light. As I have put it…everything is #instagrammable in my world. A coin on the floor or a spoon on the sink can now tell a thousand stories. It is just a matter of getting the right angle and the right filters to use so that I am able to share my visual stories.

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Rave: It was good to see that a lot of local officials seem to be more proactive nowadays when responding to storm warnings issued by PAGASA. Mayors have started making announcements of class suspensions a day before typhoon Labuyo was to hit the country. Such immediate response is a good measure for students’s safety and just gives every parent the peace of mind.

Rant: These issues involving Napoles is starting to involve more and more polticians. Now we have a list of Mayors getting involved in this alleged misuse of funds. I tried to read an article that was pcublished by the Daily Inquirer about an interview on Napoles but never succeeded in finishing it as I just got annoyed with her answers.

Rave: It was good to read an article ran by the Philippine Daily Inquirer about the response of Filinvest Alabang to save the three storey Art Deco Building of the BPS that was constructed way back in 1924. The plan for adaptive reuse of the building will save it from being demolished. This means another heritage site being saved from being erased from Filipino memories.

Rant: Flood control is still an issue in the Metro Manila. During heavy downpours, certain parts of the metropolis are prone to flooding which then causes traffic. The funny thing is that every year we do expect the rainy season but a concrete solution is never implemented by the local government and the MMDA. I think it is about time that we solve the problem once and for all.

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