Dr John Gunther: PNG’s colonial 'driving force'
Radio Days: Journey into management

The power of responsible Facebooking


PORT MORESBY - So we have smartphones, data and plenty of time. What do we do?

Facebook offers the opportunity to interact with other people and in Papua New Guinea many spend time socialising - often unnecessarily.

They share photos of their meals, alcohol and buai, vehicles, babies, picnics, weddings and funerals.

Some share photos of PNG rural conditions or giving hints of crime.

Some use Facebook to vent their frustrations. The worst venting on Facebook is from women getting back at their boyfriends or husbands’ female friends.

For the last 10 years Papua New Guineans have become active in criticising government and cheerleading their favourite politician.

The gold award is for sports commentary.

The amazing thing about Facebook for a country with a crippled education system is the opportunity to learn, do business, create meaningful networks and more.

For small business start-ups, financial institutions and service providers offer online help and announcements for training and information events.

For people seeking healthy lifestyles there is a wide variety of information about food, basic self-care home remedies, fitness and mind training.

For people going through difficult moments emotionally there are a lot of groups online offering free counselling services and tools.

It is heartwarming to listen to a woman share her story about how she learned the basics of Excel and knitting on Facebook and how a Bible group helps her emotionally.

Many of us get hung up on ‘breaking the news’ and we end up creating waves of rumour, allegation and lots of singing the wrong alleluia.

In the end all we do is manufacture negativity instead of promoting positive life changing ideas.

We forget the stigma we have helped create and ignore that we have stirred up something unnecessarily.

There is also an issue with confidentiality. How do we as a nation control the murk we spread on Facebook? How do we protect the vulnerable? What content do we allow in the public domain?

Political forums and provincial groups on Facebook provide avenues for citizens’ participation in the development of PNG. Democracies allow for free speech and expression.

Facebook has helped individuals speak themselves from their homes without having to go through an intermediary.

Two issues that have become common on Facebook – issues that affect ordinary people - are police brutality and the poor health system.

That said, many people spend time pulling down good work. The keypad on the phone is used, often unconsciously, to dismantle good initiatives.

Three interesting ideas on Facebook at the moment are the tailoring groups, the catering groups and the small farmer groups.

They offer opportunities to learn, make things and make life happy.

We can all use Facebook wisely and responsibly and help create a better Papua New Guinea.


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Baka Bina

I took to Facebook seriously in January.

FB is time consuming and the most time wasting thing I have come across and it is very addictive too.

And I've paid heavily as in four months since then I have done little and next to nothing in my other writing. My manuscripts are suffering because of it.

Yes there is so much negativity oozing from facebooking. It's greater than the positives.

I therefore threw the dare on my FB page and those who could read my page: the challenge to come up with flash fiction or short stories.

This was to provide alternate reading. We got some come to the dare but these are outnumbered by the other stuff.

During these strange times, we have too much religious stuff and I have no problems if the material is written by ourselves but having to copy-paste is having it a bit too rich and yet our neighbours are standing at our doors with a bowl and a hand a-begging.

5G and microchips and vaccination is a bit overboard at this stage when we don’t know how to wash our hands properly or do social distancing and it is amiss and totally strange not to hug your friends and wantoks.

The best negativity that is coming to the fore is the poor policing and the reactionary policing when the #harim tok is becoming a noken harim tok so the police go the extra mile to hammer that message in.

The second best negativity is the naivety that some of us post messages that corrects these negativity and it is overlooked and overread or read over with none of the underlying message to correct the misinformation changed at all.

You see posts again on the same negativity and wonder if people do read your posts like you read theirs.

The classic case is of asthmatic and asymptomatic. The message was lost somewhere and now asymptomatic has become asthmatic and the definition’s all become confusing.

I befriended other FB users to push my writing and stories but if they are pushing negativity, I guess it is a fair price I have to pay to put my stories in their faces.

Stephanie Alois

I'm impressed by everything written in this article, I really enjoyed reading it.

The paragraph that really caught my attention is: "Some use Facebook to vent their frustrations. The worst venting on Facebook is from women getting back at their boyfriends or husbands’ female friends." This is very true.

From my observation as a student I see that even most of the university students post about their anger towards their boy/girl friend.

I mean university students are the next expected leaders of the country and this is definitely not a good image of our country. Instead of showing other countries that we are matured and intelligent we are indirectly showing them that our country still has marriage problems and domestic violence.

The university is a place where you start acting like matured adults. Instead of posting about it why not call, text or go in person and settle that issue?

I hope more Papua New Guineans will read this article, get something out of it and change!

Philip Fitzpatrick

You've got me seriously thinking about re-joining Facebook Rosa.

I enjoyed your first article on PNG Attitude and this one too. Your innovative take on things, clarity of ideas and simplicity of style makes for a very attractive package.

I hope we see a lot more of your writing in the future.

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