The Gist


Fame, clout, monetization, clickbaits⁠—social media is a risky territory. But with health issues in its frame, one should not vlog lightly like some ordinary diary.

/ 26 August 2020

Vlogging is a risky business. Shedding personal lives in an entertaining or collaborative fashion, it’s more than just a display of clicks and views for money. As much as the internet is an open book for opinions and criticisms, social media comes with its own cons that can either drag or cancel a personality. Such is what birthed Cancel Culture. But as far as pressing issues are concerned, especially now at a dire health crisis, perhaps vloggers’ lenses should focus on treading a more informative approach than serving mere personal agendas.

In a vlog posted by Baninay Bautista on Aug. 19 titled “I AM POSITIVE” and retitled as “I TESTED POSITIVE”, she shared her personal experiences as a COVID-19 patient. Baninay is known for her Pinoy Big Brother Season 7 stint and has since continued serving social media with her quirky and fun attitude through vlogs. However, here in this video, she bares her vulnerable journey of being sick and in quarantine and informs her bunnies, her audience, how she’s being treated and the practices she does to keep healthy. She also states that the late upload was due to her isolation and as respect for her boyfriend, Bont Bryan who’s also a vlogger, because he has recently lost his dad from pneumonia and suspected COVID-19 case. As of writing, it has received 1.6 million views.

But the title caused confusion to the famous comedian, Pokwang, which led to her anger in a series of tweets. This is because Baninay recently came as a guest for Pokwang’s show and the vlog came out two days after. Baninay tested positive on July 21 and has received a negative result on Aug. 2. Outraged at the present tense “AM” in Baninay’s vlog title, Pokwang detailed how it stirred panic to her and her family that notably consists of her 2-year-old daughter and her 80-year-old mom, stating that it has not only affected them emotionally, but also financially. She goes on to stress on how vloggers should be more responsible in their content over monetary reasons.

Several people contributed to the discussion including Chino Liu, best known as Tita Krissy, who happens to be a part of Pokwang’s show. Liu expressed sympathies to Pokwang and stated that documenting experiences isn’t bad but it comes with responsibility. Bont Bryan also posted a vlog of his and his family’s experience as COVID-19 positive patients and also replied to Pokwang’s tweets on the issue.

The two parties have already settled the matter and the issue has brought in a lot of discussion on the responsible use of vlogging and the damages of heedless clickbaits.

Then recently, Buknoy, a beauty vlogger, was once again under fire for a video that shows her walking around the street without a mask or face shield even with the quarantine in place. She first was criticized for her belittling remarks on tricycle drivers in one of her vlogs. But then again, she earned ire for her negligence on abiding the protocols on which she apologizes for with a tweet that tells her plan of action.

In a tweet by fellow social media personality , Xander Ford, he shows a photo of him and Buknoy wearing a mask and face shield. This is to address Awra, a celebrity, regarding her remarks on Buknoy’s violation.

In this scenario, the practice of influence comes into play. With over 116.1K followers on Twitter alone, the act can be quite a pull from the efforts that the protocols are serving. The visibility of mere negligence, if not disobedience, can only garner more flak than entertainment. So while they are serving their own pleasures, having an audience also bears responsibility. Even if one refuses to carry the title of influencer, having a following is enough visibility that can influence people. Getting lost in the reverie of content creation and putting it out there in social media comes with extra caution even at the expense of one’s own satisfaction.

Another case on point is for Wil Dasovich back when he was in his battle with cancer. Even though it’s sweet and personal to wish for a million subscribers on Youtube, it wasn’t taken positively by some people in social media. Being sick and all, it wasn’t enough of an inspiration for some netizens thus the backlash that paints him as a clout chaser. There goes the question of clout or transparency in vlogging personal health status and the unavoidable dismissal of some netizens.

But then again, the practice of influence on social media is mostly attributed by some people to their need for views that equates monetization. Despite their claims on their practice as mere diaries or simply serving their audiences, the risk of judgment always comes with it. Especially with a health issue attached, caution is necessary. You can’t please everyone but at least you can avoid the judgment or risk other people’s lives. Bad publicity is still publicity but not applicable on health issues.