Recently, a company PR executive, Justine Sacco, was fired by her company over her tweet: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
Let’s examine this. First, she had a terrible thought. Then, she thought it was funny. And since she thought it was so amusing, she decided to share it with everyone who was on Twitter. And Twitter, being the private social network it is, her tweet suddenly exploded over the entire Internet.
Another occurrence happened earlier with Phil Robertson, the “patriarch” on A&E’s “reality show” “Duck Dynasty” – saying in a GQ interview that homosexuals were included with adulterers, idolaters, male prostitutes, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers and “the greedy” as ineligible to “inherit the kingdom of God.”
Yep. He had something to say. He thought it was something everyone should hear. So he told an interviewer of a popular magazine. And once again, people reacted by boycotting the show.
Now don’t get me wrong. Free speech is a good thing. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That’s a great freedom. But just because you have something to say never exactly necessarily means it’s a good idea to say it out loud.
In a way, social networks and media have revealed that, in spite of all of the advancements in our society, there is still hate, intolerance, ignorance, misogyny, and just plain awfulness in people. And a good portion of these people have a tool that enables them to override the perfectly rational need to keep it to theirselves.
Every day people post on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and every other social network they can get their hands on, what they eat, where they’re going, what they’re thinking, and even their most personal information.
Is the inner monologue a thing of the past? Do people no longer have the desire to maintain their privacy?
Is there such a thing as private thought anymore?
The great thing about social networks and media are that they are platforms where you can communicate your ideas to large groups of people. The bad thing about social networks and media are that they are platforms where you can communicate your ideas to large groups of people.
Just because you have the means to do something, now more than ever, doesn’t mean that you should.