One Freedom of One: Voice

An old friend of mine called today, and as always, talking with her got me thinking. You see, she teaches Political Sciences, and has always been a source of solid information and well thought opinion of an area that remains as much beyond my comprehension as infinity. Of course I had to ask her about her thoughts on the primaries!

In its usual manner, my mind went on from there, contemplating the media's warped, selective presentation of 'news', and a few things clicked into hypotheses. Unless we spend all day, every day, sifting through all the 'stuff' the media puts out there as information, we won't come close to gleaning the truth of what is actually going on. We have to read between the lines and search hard for the truth to leak through.

Back when I was teaching computer and Internet courses, I used to talk about how the Internet is the power behind freedom of speech. Though that particular freedom has always 'been on the books', only few had the ways and means to be heard by many: authors, journalists, reporters, anchors, DJs and such, within the confines of books, TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. Then the Internet comes along, is culturally adopted faster and more completely than any other invention in man's history, and along with it is an open, free, accessible medium of communication for everyone capable of hitting the "on" button. For the first time in history, just about everyone is able to be heard by many.

This is an incredible freedom - and an incredible responsibility.

Of course the traditional media is online with massive, expensive sites containing the same warped, selective presentation of news, along with more massive and expensive technologies focused on advertising. (It took Amazon.com to convince the world that the Internet was a viable, profitable medium.) It is a natural course for capitalism, and perhaps The Final Frontier for market expansion. Perhaps too, the majority expects the familiar presences to feel safe.

But, you no longer have to know how a computer or the Internet works to use it, just like you don't have to understand combustion engines to drive a car. It's very easy today with groups and blogs and YouTube etc. The feeling of safety is built right into these simple applications.

That should free up the mind from thinking about the tools and become focused on writing, right? It's not easy to write, it takes effort, and now that many people can read what is written, the writing should be as purposeful and clean as you can get it, right?

Beyond basic sentence structure and articulation, it is the content itself that is the responsibility. Because it is written and widely available, individually, each 'author' is responsible for each reader's reaction.

We have yet to determine the full impact of this historically new freedom of voice. We know that the Internet has expanded the worlds of countless peoples providing access to more knowledge, support, resources and information than ever imagined. But, in order to preserve and maintain this incredible freedom, each contributor must respect it for what it is - a freedom that can impact unknown, countless others. It is a personal freedom that demands personal responsiblity.

What are your thoughts?

(Did you know that we won't know who wins the primaries until next June? Egads.)

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