The upcoming awarding of the first Tatt Awards coincides with the rise last year of #sentisabado.
At around this time last year, Manila was the center of world news as scores of tourists were hostaged for several hours, a terrible crime that ended with the death of the hostage-taker and, very sadly, a number of tourists. The entire country witnessed this via television and social media.
Days later, in a social experiment I started in my living room in Manila, Filipinos sought to demolish the bad vibes left by the incident with funny and fun-filled tweets marked by the #sentisabado hashtag. By the next weekend, a new worldwide-trending Filipino meme was born on Twitter.
Carlo Ople noted at the time:
#SentiSabado was such a welcome respite for the online Filipino community. Ever since the bus hostage incident social networking sites have been filled with nothing but negativity, frustration, and disappointment. I actually stopped checking Facebook for a bit because it was really annoying seeing nothing but bad vibes when you log in. #SentiSabado erased all of that! Even with the committee investigating the bus hostage being aired on the TV, nobody really paid too much attention and people were just happy reliving their moments from their childhood.
Tonyo’s timing with this was impeccable and I’m personally grateful for him because he made the online Filipino world a whole lighter with #SentiSabado.
The number of tweets were massive the following week.
Looking back, I also blogged about my thoughts on why it became an online hit:
Call it anything – a respite, a momentary escape. But whether #sentisabado would lull netizens into forgeting about what we must do with the ugly present are sorely mistaken. If we proved anything, what tweeps did last Aug. 28 and Sept. 4 was that we could unite online and have a long and fresh memory of the past.
At the core of it, #sentisabado is a collective exercise of remembering. In remembering, we try not to forget. In trying not to forget, we share a collective memory and we prep ourselves to act so the best of the past, the best of now, and what we intend to make the best of the future, would come together — and ultimately make #sentisabado as fun 10, 20 or 30 years from now.
Writing on his CNET blog, Joseph Nacino notes:
Whether it’s about owning Twitter as Filipinos or raising a collective Filipino memory, I like Cruz’s efforts to remind us that–whether Twitter or Facebook or whatever social network medium comes up–these things are meant to be used in reminding us what it means to be Filipino and human.
A year later, I could frankly look back and say that #sentisabado was the first grassroots-based Filipino meme on Twitter, that did not come from celebrities, brands or the news. The celebrities, brands, and news came later to join (and report) the fun. In saying so, I give credit to Filipino Twitter users for discovering #sentisabado and making it their own during those sentimental Saturdays last year.
[Click here to vote for Tonyo Cruz in the Tatt Awards’ #Thought-Mover category. Public voting is open until Aug. 24, 2011.]