With Freedom Of Expression - Heightened By Social Media - Comes Responsibility
June 28, 2016
The freedom we have today is the direct byproduct of the determination our forefathers fought for to establish the United States of America as a free country in 1776.
That American Revolution was facilitated by a system of signals and word-of-mouth communication.
Today, revolutions are often facilitated by social media.
The ability to congregate online, form communities, and have real-time dialogue has given everyone a new voice.
Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas to anyone who is willing to receive them.
That right, however, is not absolute and is commonly subject to limitations, such as slander, obscenity, hatred, copyright violation, and leaking classified information, just to name a few.
Social media has elevated free speech and offered the ability to change cultures.
People no longer have to feel alone. We can share our stories globally.
That's the essence of this space - to raise our capacity to connect with each other. But with everything good, it can sometimes be overshadowed by questionable use.
It's as if social is viewed by some as an "unrestricted playground" - a place where you can do and say whatever you want - regardless of the impact.
Yet even when something backfires and the posts or tweets are deleted with a subsequent "my bad," it doesn't erase the cybernated slop from our reputation.
We have news organizations posting wrong information without verification, "Weiner-gate" type gaffes, and mostly people simply getting caught in the heat of the moment - tweeting from an emotional space.
Case in point:
Kacey Musgraves recent tweet that lit up Twitter after the Orlando tragedy:
Musgraves quickly deleted the tweet and tried to explain that she was coming from a place of frustration over gun violence.
But people cannot read tone in text. And as you can guess, it did not go well for her. Thousands of people trolled her for hours:
Choose your words wisely.
Everyone has the right to say and post whatever they wish.
But with the freedom of expression heighted by social media comes responsibility. And it should be no surprise if and when you are judged by others or lose opportunities because of your digital debris.
For those using social media as a catalyst for good, for information, education or simply helping someone laugh, you are the spirit of what our forefathers fought for - to make this world a better place.
Let freedom ring.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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