Encountering death on Facebook: A digital ethnography of pandemic deaths and online mourning

Referred to as digital mourning (Babis, 2020), the use of social networking sites to mourn seems to have become more prevalent amid the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing observers to describe their Facebook timelines as resembling “virtual obituaries” (Cruz, 2021, para. 3). Using digital ethnography and computer-mediated discourse analysis, this paper illustrates the discourses on COVID-19 deaths as well as the digital mourning practices of Filipino Facebook users. The study found that Filipinos primarily tended to stick to their pre-digital cultural script and virtues when reacting to and mourning deaths on the social networking site (Wierzbicka, 1985). The discourses and reactions of Filipino FB users reflected and mimicked “offline” responses and reactions to death, thereby effectively mediatizing traditional death and mourning rituals. At the same time, newer mourning practices are also emerging in the digital sphere. Tied to the responses and comments regarding death were discourses on COVID-19 denial and folk medicine, as well as emotionally-laden articulations of alignment and disalignment with other Facebook users. These findings make apparent how Facebook news posts on COVID-19 deaths cultivate emotional exchanges and generate pockets of culture-specific networks of mourners and commiserators by circulating news of death, mediating discourses on death, and facilitating various expressions of mourning and commiseration. Through these networks, Facebook actively contributes to the reconfiguring and extending of offline mourning rituals in the digital sphere.

Sis, mamsh, kasodan: Belonging and solidarity on Facebook groups among Filipino women migrants in Japan

This article explores how Filipino women migrants in Japan have appropriated Facebook to create alternative spaces and connections for addressing their needs and concerns. Using thematic analysis of discussion threads and in-depth interviews with members of the Facebook group, Pinoy Tambayan in Japan, this study shows the nuanced aspects of the gendered dimension of online ethnic enclaves on Facebook. Facebook has allowed these migrants to create online ethnic enclaves that function as an alternative to kinship and community groups—groups that Filipinos consider an invaluable resource for managing families and strengthening ties to their identity. This social, intimate tie is epitomized in terms of endearment used by members: sis (sister), mamsh (fellow godmother), and kasodan (fellow seekers of information). These terms invoke relational ties, not by blood but by shared commonalities, between the author and group members. However, while online ethnic enclaves have become an increasingly vital source of support among Filipino women migrants, the limits of these online communicative spaces can be observed, particularly in terms of visibility. In mainstream media and the wider host society, the intimate gendered narratives of Filipino women migrants are rarely discussed, and consequently, these women are misrecognized and stigmatized.

Ang pagpápatawá bilang kritika: Isang pagsusuri sa kritisismo ng/sa seryeng Kung Puwede Lang (KPL) ng Facebook page na VinCentiments

Ang Facebook page na VinCentiments ang nasa likod ng mga viral short film tulad ng Kung Pwede Lang (KPL). Tungkol ito sa hinaing ng isang estudyante sa kaniyang guro na umani nang mahigit 16 milyong views. Kalimitang tinatalakay ng VinCentiments ang mga isyung panlipunan sa pamamagitan ng parodiya. Gamit ang konsepto ng Pantawang Pananaw ni Rhoderick Nuncio (2002) at Sociology of Humor ni Giselinde Kuipers, sinipat ng papel ang kritisismong nangingibabaw sa kanilang maiikling pelikula. Nilimitahan lamang ang pagsusuri sa piling maiikling pelikula na kabilang sa seryeng KPL na inilabas mula Hunyo hanggang Disyembre 2018: ang (a) KPL; (b) Resbak Kakak ni Mam; (c) BOSSABOS; (d) The OFW Rant.

VinCentiments is the Facebook page behind the viral short films, such as Kung Pwede Lang (KPL), a 4-minute video that features a student who is complaining to her teacher. This video reached more than 16 million views. VinCentiments usually tackles social issues in a comical and parody way. Using Rhoderick Nuncio’s concept of Pantawang Pananaw (2002), this paper explored the criticisms that transcends in their short films. The analysis was limited in the chosen short films that are included in the KPL series which were posted from June to December 2018: (a) KPL; (b) Resbak Kakak ni Mam; (c) BOSSABOS; (d) The OFW Rant.