my year on facebook: 2014 in likes and comments

i have not bothered to open facebook’s recap of my 2014, which is really just a collection of the most popular posts on my page. it is an inaccurate review, because it measures the importance of a photo or status update based on the number of likes or comments it received. i have no control over how people will react to any of my actions on social media, and the public’s reception of what i post online has no actual link to its significance. something very meaningful could have happened to me, but i decided not to share it, or perhaps even if i mentioned it on my personal page, my limited audience failed to appreciate just how special an event was and had not provided my ego the kind of feedback i expected. to save you the trouble of finding out how facebook has interpreted the special occasions in my life, let me summarize which among my posts gained the most attention.

to tell you the truth, i do not know if there is a formula on how best to get people’s attention. not that i want to, since — and this might surprise many of you — i don’t really crave attention, at least not in the form of likes, so i am often surprised by the amount of responses anything i do online gets. what facebook doesn’t measure, however, is a post’s “penetration”. it may have limited likes or comments, but it was probably viewed by more people than i assumed it did. flickr tells you this, and so does youtube. but i’m getting ahead of myself. let me just summarize my year on facebook based on its own algorithm.

here are some photos which earned curious interest among my friends.

a photo of my shoes, with mount tenglawan’s carrot peak in the background earned 117 likes. i posted this just after our reconnaissance climb to bakun, and naturally, people who were joining the climb were excited, and they provided the bulk of the likes, although i did also get some reactions from non-mountaineer friends.

this photo, taken by my friend doc glenn, of me and a monkey, seemingly in conversation at the monkey temple in nepal had 118 likes. i guess when you joke about yourself, people react, since the caption says i was interacting with my kind.

this photo of me, the beautiful ail, and the handsome nico, earned 120 likes in just a day. i basically decided to wait at the hotel lobby and ambushed them as they entered. i find the number of likes here a bit strange, since the majority of them come from strangers: friends of either nico or ail, or of both of them. personally, i don’t leave my footprints on pictures of strangers, even if my friends are tagged there. it’s a personal choice, not something i think the world should pick-up, because i just feel it’s a little strange when strangers see my photos. but then again, most of my posts are public.

this photo was also taken in bakun, but during the actual training climb. it has 126 likes, which i think could be attributed to the fact that one of the people there was currently recovering from a bad fall that happened just a few hours after this photo was taken.

now this photo is clearly one of my favorites. it was taken by my good friend and photography sensei jay jallorina at tinuy-an falls. it earned 150 likes and a slew of comments, clearly because it’s beautifully shot. notice that the water lines behind me sort of spell-out the word ‘LIVE’.

before i go to my most liked photo, let me post 2 that gained a lot of reactions, not necessarily in the form of likes, but in the number of comments. first of all, comments are a less accurate way to measure a post’s popularity, since in most cases people are just having conversations with others who’ve commented before them, and they’re not necessarily saying something about the photo.

in this photo for example, most of the 49 comments focused on what good movies are being exhibited for the cinemalaya. i happened to have seen ALL of the full-length films.

in this photo taken at lunch time at the buddha bar on my birthday, many of my friends decided to leave birthday greetings, so the comments numbered to as much as 71. the photo also had 99 likes. i think i read somewhere that like is the new hello or thank you. of course i don’t only have 99 or 71 friends on facebook, but it doesn’t bother me that people aren’t reacting to my posts. i’m well adjusted that way.

my most liked photo for 2014 is the one below:

of course i’m just hamming it up here. it is true i had a bit of concern in my heart before we took off, but i was completely relaxed while i was up on the air, paragliding over the beautiful landscape of pokhara, seeing lakes below, clouds above, and some of the world’s highest mountains in the distance. something so unique naturally draws in many reactions, and this one had 180 likes in total.

a review of which among my non-photo posts, which include status updates and tweets, gained a lot of attention, is a little more interesting than my review of my year in facebook photos because there really is no way to determine how people will react. as will be obvious below, people tend to like posts that are funny, witty, and self-depecrating. but they also like posts that are charged with emotion.

the status update on the left concerns my acquisition of the iPhone 6 and what i think about its relatively bigger size. the discussion that follows is about size in general. the one on the right is about “sounding like a DJ”, which i hear a lot, but is a source of embarrassment for me since i hate the sound of my voice.

during our climb to bakun, we interacted a lot with the locals, and the one on the left is the result of that interaction. on the other hand, the status update on the right is about my experience in maginhawa during its food festival. most of the reactions came from people who were also there, but who also think that too many filipinos who grew up in the philippines needlessly speak english. i get accused of being “ingglisero” myself, which i deny, because while my english is okay, i don’t brandish it around, and only use it when necessary.

i’ve written about my injury many times before, but i have not written a lot about my running. the twain are linked, and it’s true i have managed to run decently since after having the cast removed, so i suppose the reaction to this post is to be expected. somehow related to it is my thoughts on ultrarunning. this was just before the TNF 100, and rings true for most things actually (by the way, my tweets about the TNF 100 results each gained upwards of 30 likes). someone asked if i had filched it from someone. no, i did not.

the two posts that drew the most attention are these. and they could not be anymore “unlike” (well, different). the first is about a taxi driver who mistook me for an actor. i get jhong hilario over and over again, and bernard palanca has also been compared to me, but raymond bagatsing? believe me or not but i’ve heard it twice. i’m serious. it’s not that i enjoy it or think i do look anything like him. i just find it funny since i have the most generic face ever and i get mistaken for this guy or that guy (basically any guy with a beard) all the time! on the other hand, the next status update took place just after typhoon glenda made landfall on manila: it is a direct condemnation of all this online whinging i read from people about daily but minute inconveniences. i challenge anyone to review my year and see if i’ve ever complained about small things. i’d treat you to a new year’s dinner.

so that’s my year according to facebook: a more in-depth review of what my year was like, based on your reactions. looking back, i have to repeat what i said at the beginning: that the public’s reception of my online activities does not reflect accurately what my year was like. hopefully, i get to do a year in review of my own, notwithstanding facebook. still, it’s been a great year. thanks for being a part of it.