#TECH: A connected Christmas

WITH the month of December being one of the busiest months of the year, it's not a surprise if people would turn to social media to celebrate the joyous occasion whenever they are unable to come back home due to the tumult of work.

From youngsters to the elderly, the new digital age has prompted everyone to use social media. So instead of sneaking presents underneath the Christmas tree, now, we sneak quotes and moments on social media to make the day jollier.


It can't be denied that social media plays a part in connecting with others, mainly family and friends, and creating camaraderie between strangers.

It is one of its greatest wonders that even Ivan Ong Hong Bing, 26, admitted based on his astute observation.

"I think social media is really important, not only for this year but for the coming years too. Furthermore, social media helps us to connect with friends and family who live miles away from us. But technology keeps us connected more than ever. For instance, Instagram has helped me stay connected with my friends who are staying in other countries like the United States and Mexico," he said.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Chen, 24, saw the cruciality of social media the most when the pandemic struck.

And despite the borders opening up, there are other issues that have led others to still depend on social media as a means to connect with others without being physically present.

"During the pandemic, those who worked overseas or in other states were not able to come home for Christmas or other occasions for two to three years now. Now that everything is opening up, there's the issue of recession and inflation that are making ticket prices soar. So instead of coming home, people turn to social media to contact their loved ones, especially during festivities," Chen said.


Although renowned social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok are more sought after, Ong believed that Whatsapp is the most ideal one to use to bond with his family.

He thinks that while Instagram is user-friendly, Whatsapp allows him to be a call away from his loved ones.

"I can easily call my family and friends who are miles away from where I am at. I can share happy moments with them by simply video calling. But for Instagram, I mostly use it for creating or designing posters, stickers, quotes, and collages for wishing occasions, especially Christmas, to them," he said.

Even for Chen, her favourite place to connect with her family and friends is Whatsapp. Although the celebration might not be that merry.

Chen said she would have video calls with her family and friends or send over pictures during Christmas when she was away from home. Unfortunately, sharing stickers, gifs and collages is off limits considering that her parents are tech-illiterate.

"I mostly use Facebook and Instagram for scrolling through the newsfeed for recent news or keeping myself updated on my friends' daily lives. I also use IG to follow k-pop idols and I rarely post online nowadays," she added.

And Tsuki Ong, 33, a lone Christian in the Ong family, would spread joy to other fellow Christians making her own wishing visuals using Bible quotes.

She would post wishes, and upload videos of carolling and singing Christmas songs on Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp to share with her friends.

"I've used Canva and Adobe since I can choose a variety of template designs for my wishes and posts. I've been using it for years and it is easy to use!" she said.


In spite of the holiday glee, some people might not agree that social media is entirely necessary to amp up the season. Others have a mild distaste for it too.

For instance, Tsuki deemed that template wishes on social media tend to seem 'insincere'.

As for Ivan, he mentioned how he had to go to great lengths to teach seniors how to use social media and guide them, which requires a ton of patience.

"The elderly might struggle in learning how to use social media. I am very proud that my grandmother is very good at social media. She is using Whatsapp and video calling me every night, chatting with me on Facebook Messenger, and commenting on my Instagram posts," he added.

However, Chen didn't see much of a problem with that. She said since it helps family members who are away during festivities the most, she doesn't consider social media to be a hindrance or has ever faced any challenges yet.


While we are in the season of wishing and gift-giving, Ivan has shared how he hopes to have more helpful updates on his social media.

"I wish Instagram would have a feature where we can simply edit our Feed or Stories without deleting them. If I misspell a quote from a Story that was posted hours ago, it is a hassle to delete the post, rewrite the correctly-spelled quote, and repost it again. Or if I wanted to add more pictures to a post on my Feed, I'd be great if I don't have to delete the post and repost new ones when people have liked the post already," he added.

For Tsuki, she wished that Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp could create a filter that is fitted with multiple quotes based on the festivities that are being celebrated.

This will save her time from scrolling through google just to find the right quote to copy and paste on her social media posts.

Finally, Chen hoped that Instagram would send out reminders just like Facebook does.

"Facebook would remind me of my friend's birthdays, and sometimes make a short clip of memories. These are the things I'd like Instagram and TikTok to have too," Chen added.

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