Is Technology Liberating?
By Christen Plyler
Well, it most certaintly can be, but will those at the helm let it be liberating? Technology, or anything for that matter, can be anything someone wants it to be. The Internet is what you make of it. It can be dangerous for children, an informative guide, a leisure activity, a job tool, etc. It can be all of the above, and there lies the danger with the world wide web. It can be everything. Yes, even a tool used by regimes to repress. Currently the internet (social media) is being seen as a miracle worker for repressed countries and an outlet for freedom.
In an article in the Feb. 6 issue of the New York Times titled, “Twitter Can’t Save You,” Lee Siegel writes about the dangers of the Internet and uses Evgeny Morozov’s book, The Net Delusion, to assist in his explanation.
This article felt like an enormous breath of fresh air in a cloud of sterile, unrealistic dust particles. I’m not saying it is a perfect argument, but it did give my mind a brief vacation from the Twitter and Facebook fanatics that roam the collegiate halls. The article’s argument was that social media is not a virtual world of complete freedom where a person can say anything they want and not be punished by some kind of authority.
Americans forget that the whole world doesn’t have what we call the First Amendment. Citizens of countries such as China, Iraq, and Iran can be killed or jailed for stating their opinions. We as American citizens can speak out against our government. However, on career and/or educational levels, American citizens can be punished for the comments. There have been thousands of people who get fired or fail to land a job because of some picture or quote on Twitter or Facebook; but the differance is that an American citizen will never be killed because of some rhetoric.
My opinion of what the article, “Twitter Can’t Save You,” is trying to explain is that there is no hiding on the Internet; is not free to access and it is no free of privacy. If I can see what an Iranian citizen is posting, so can the Iranian government. If I can locate that Iranian citizen’s residence, so can the Iranian government. And in those countries there is no beautiful concept like the 1st Amendment.
We act blind. We are letting the Internet push our morals into a corner and distract us from the context of the situation. And professional journalists are along for the ride, which creates more ingorance and/or blindness mainly because we believe what we read or see. The Internet (social media) is not the answer to world peace. Every human on this planet is putting themself in a position to be located, followed, and constricted. If we continue to be blind about the possibilites, humankind’s power hungry history is going run the same exact course, and negative actions will occur.
Lastly, the Internet– and yes– social media, is a beautiful thing. It communicates the world with clicks of a button. I can see what the cherry blossoms look like in northern Japan in 20 seconds. It is amazing. However, the world is a dangerous place with dangerous people. And if history has told us anything, it’s that peace and human rights are not free, but continue to be a struggle to retain against cruel blindless. So research, don’t just read.