Our Beloved “Keyboard Revolutionaries”

as originally posted on Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles

For those who spend much of their internet time on social media sites, you have seen this more than once. While skimming through your friends’ latest selfies  or posts about their love-lives on your Facebook News/Twitter Feeds, you might see news articles either posted by major media or by friends who are cognizant about politics and current affairs. You might even see a news article you find relevant. You click on the link to read the article and once done, you look at what people have commented about the article or friend’s post.

Often you will encounter two types of people making comments.

The first are the casual observers who would occasionally drop their two cents and ideas. The second, the ones people see the most, are the passionate ones whose comments are sufficient to give your pet goldfish a bad day. If you see the latter more often, then you have most likely encountered what this writer calls a “keyboard revolutionary”

Notorious for being brash, flooding the comment sections and being argumentative, these keyboard revolutionaries are found making their opinions known on every major news article or political post. This type displays a bloated sense of self worth, with the strong belief that everything they say is right and their ideas are perfect and the only solution to everything. They are fond of forcing their opinions and ideas to the world with their self-righteousness and the delusion of knowing everything, while gloating and exhibiting strong Messianic Complexes.  They often  go after people who both question their stand on an topic  and are firm believers that anybody with differing ideas and opinions are wrong and stupid or both and must be relentlessly heckled.

These people often congregate in various social media groups where they try to convince random people with the alleged superiority of their ideas under the guise of “genuine reform”. Armed with Wikipedia entries, blog posts (usually their own), articles that support their positions (which they barely understand themselves), poorly made memes and links from other sites, they usually raid pages and user profiles often promoting simplistic platforms for reform.

social media engagement

Although the keyboard revolutionaries and their “platforms” vary from one group to another, they all share one thing in common: denigrating and maligning the ordinary Filipino classes, collectively known as the “masa”.

These self-proclaimed reform advocates who fancy themselves as experts on everything strongly believe that the ordinary and downtrodden masses are the root of all the nation’s ills because, unlike the keyboard revolutionaries, they vote for corrupt politicians, are the primary beneficiaries of government programs, watch too much local television and supposedly cannot think critically and intelligently.

They delude themselves into believing that by posting endless tirades on social media pages and their own blogs against the rest of society, they are fulfilling their self-appointed duty of “educating and enlightening” the ignorant masses and doing this makes them agents of social change.

Part of the keyboard revolutionary repertoire is using an entire lexicon of pejoratives on their tirades such as “bobotante, “tanga supporta”, “Yellowtards”, “Binaytards”, “Leftards”, “palamunins” “squatter”, “komunista” and “Yellowtard Communist Palamunin” to name a few.

Because many of the keyboard revolutionaries belong to the middle and upper classes of society who all seemed to have gone to exclusive schools, enjoy both the basic necessities and luxury comforts of life and are isolated from the rest of society in their gated villages and high-rise condos, ignorant of how the rest of society-the “real world”-works.

A common belief shared by these folks is that those in the ordinary and lower classes of society are unproductive, lazy and do not contribute enough to society. Therefore these are freeloaders of the taxpayer’s money and whose concerns and voices should not be considered.

Oblivious to the keyboard revolutionary is the fact that while they rant about the “masa” on social media using their MacBook Pro at Starbucks, the barista who makes their iced frappucinos belongs to the same class they love to hate.

social media

To add even more injury to insult is the complete disregard and objection against any relief made to alleviate the suffering of the “masa”. They complain about the presence of squatters and demand that they be immediately demolished not caring whether they have a place to live or not. Yet they are the first to throw a fit when government provides these same people with decent housing.

It is easy to call out the lower classes for receiving cash and aid in exchange for votes during elections unless you have no cash to put food on the table or have a family member with a debilitating illness and has no money for medical treatment. Posting comments and demanding that MRT/LRT rates must be raised is ideal unless you are earning minimum wage or a student living off a meager allowance.

As German philosopher Bertolt Brecht once wrote “Food is the first thing, morals follow on”.

This is not to say that members of the “masa” are immoral. But before the keyboard revolutionaries bask in their self righteousness, they should put themselves in the shoes of those who are struggling every day of their lives.

Unless keyboard revolutionaries and their self appointed leaders can come up with concrete and sustainable platforms to help the poor and working masses, they are in no position to criticize the government aid programs If the keyboard revolutionaries have genuine intentions and truly want reform, they should promote their platforms outside the internet to the ordinary people rather than simply maligning them.  True change does not happen by a click of the mouse or as fellow writer Alan Robles once said,  pressing Enter on the keyboard.


Stock photos from POC. Some rights reserved