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By Rich Mazon

Manny Pacquiao weeds out the distraction that is…Twitter!
23 Mar 2011

The pound for pound king’s first in camp distraction was terminated as easily as it was started.. by a press of a button on his cell phone. The boxer and current congressman of the province of Saranggani, who joined the popular social networking site Twitter just last month (February 20 ) deleted his account Tuesday (March 22) afternoon amidst a flood of criticisms he received from users of the site regarding his reaction to a nationally held debate that is ongoing in the House of Representatives.

It all started when he tweeted that he was monitoring the ongoing impeachment trial of Ombudsman Mercedita Gutierrez. After which he received numerous replies that questions him not being present in the said impeachment trial in Manila. Pacquiao is in the city of Baguio which is about a 6 hour drive from Manila preparing for his next match in May. An irked Pacquiao replied black in a not so gentlemanly manner prompting more criticisms and remarks from users of the microblogging service. The incident caught up like wildfire in this internet crazy nation, prompting Pacquiao to delete his account for good.

This has not been his first run in with users of the site. He was critiqued in the past for his grammar mistakes of which he clearly took it personally. He replied back by giving importance of the use of the national language in all forms of communication and lashed out on his critics as well. He threatened to delete his account that early but was persuaded by most of his followers to keep the account so he could connect to his fans. But that did not last too long. This last incident put him in a bad light and he quickly reacted by terminating his said account. It apparently did not stop there as news of it was broadcasted all over the evening news that same night.

I commend Pacquiao by acting promptly to this matter. Instead of fueling the fire by responding back to his critics in the site. He did what is always known of him to do, by staying quiet and ignoring it. I do not agree with the manner he responded at the criticisms thrown at him by the remarks he made, but I applaud him by ending what is becoming a matter of ridicule and mocking.

Jut like what he did when the Mayweathers, dela Hoya, Schaefer et al , accused him of taking performance drugs. He did not answer back in a hurried and emotional manner, instead responding without the use of clichés and street language. I wished he responded the same way with this one too. He clearly is very emotional about criticisms thrown at him, who does not anyway? And sometimes when emotions rule and you have a gadget that can broadcast it to thousands of people, you will never win. That is the danger of technology such as cell phones, and the Internet. It is easily accessed by all but is hard to control once you put something out there.

Facebook, Twitter and the like can be useful in promoting yourself and your cause but can also destroy you in any bad entry you make. As intelligent as this gadgets are, they cannot filter what one has to say with it and/or type on it. It is not smart enough to tell you what to and not to put out there. Such is the irony of technology.

Technology with its usefulness is also a major cause of distraction to peoples’ lives today. One need not to look far for evidence of such. Just observe people as they walk in the street with their cell phones in tow. More seriously, just look at the driver on the other side of the lane and you will find them not only talking through their cell phone but also text messaging and now even surfing the internet with the advent of these so called “smart phones.” I don’t need to point out its dangers for you to get the point. Technology has amused us but also has disturbed our normal way of living.

I do not say that people are wrong in criticizing Pacquiao for everyone has the right to do so. That is the benefit of the freedom we have in this country (Philippines). Some of their points have valid contentions but most of them are delivered in a harsh and unkind manner. Him being a public figure and a public servant puts him in that unenviable position. A target of criticisms and commentary by the public. I find fault in his replies myself but who has not made a mistake of uttering remarks when you are being berated, belittled and made fun of. It is but a natural reaction on all of us. It is unfortunate that his comments are being propagated for the whole nation and the world to see through the media and the internet. But that is the reality of today’s time. This is the other side of technology. Nothing can be private anymore. What once was just a conversation between two people can now be circulated en masse. What is an exchange between two arguing individuals can now be posted all over. And what started as merely an exchange of remarks between two persons is now a forum of debate and discussion for everyone to join in.

As happy as I was that I can easily reach him via a click of my cell phone through Twitter. I am also saddened by the unkind remarks that I read that is directed towards him. These remarks show the immaturity of some of us. He does not need this. We ourselves, if hurled by hurtful words from others, do not need this kind of agitation. And we deal with it the way we deemed it necessary. What more of a guy who has brought honor, and recognition to our country. I do not imply that he should be spared of criticisms, no one is. But critique and commentary can be delivered in a proper manner. That is one thing that Twitter and Facebook cannot guarantee though. One thing it guarantees are anxiety and bothersome moments in our lives. We all don’t need this. Not me , not you and not Manny Pacquiao. If something is causing distraction in our lives, our tendency is to get rid of it. This is what Twitter is doing to Manny Pacquiao and I am glad that he got rid of this distraction this early.

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