Digital Frontier

With the advances in technology and the shift towards a digitized world of interaction through social media sites, it is important to recognize the amount of good and bad that can come from this, and how it is important to wisely utilize the freedom of the internet as there can be harsh impacts if freedom is not exercised wisely. The slippery slope of the digital frontier begins with the popular social media site Twitter, which is a way of interacting and expressing thoughts. Using the sports world as an example, reporters and analysts thrive on Twitter, since many athletes have accounts today and regularly post updates and opinions. Within the past year, there have been many instances of controversy in which athletes have made poor decisions with their digital freedom, which results in fines and other penalties.  For example over the summer last year, NBA superstar Amar’e Stoudamire of the Knicks was fined $50,000 for responding in an offensive and unacceptable manner to a fan who criticized him for his ability to come back from an injury. Because celebrities and athletes are supposed to act as good role models, there is greater responsibility that comes with using social media appropriately, as instances like this puts a bad image on not only the individual, but also who and what they represent and are affiliated with(the NBA in this case). This interaction also brings up another interest point about the digital frontier in how it can create an alter ego and identity. For example, B Forreal!’s criticism is protected by social media and in all likelihood if he were to ever meet Amar’e in person, it is highly unlikely that he would ever say what he said in his last tweet to his face because of Stoudemire’s intriguing size and status.

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Building off of the digital freedoms and digital identity, virtually anything put on the web can be tracked by employers and the government. This alone should provoke users into using the internet in a positive manner, but as seen in some cases, little things such as posting a picture of a beer or posting something controversial can create a nightmare. There are many insightful and knowledgeable sites and resources but discretion and responsibility must be used by the user in order to ensure a positive identity. In my opinion the negative aspects of social media outweigh the positives overall, as just one post could provide a damaging blow to a person’s future. For example, the Miss America pageant  generated race controversy after several racial tweets that were meant to be witty and funny backfired. This stirred up the Twitter community which bashed the posts by acknowledging how it will impact their employment in the future, and even some online articles pulled tweets to discuss the topic. On the flip side, maybe the digital frontier provides a way to weed out the irresponsible users and instances like this reiterate the importance of digital freedom. While it allows us to express ourselves, the freedom allows users to make a conscious decision to proceed wisely, as the impacts are apparent. The digital frontier will remain a significant part of our culture for a while, and the freedom will continually be monitored.

Miss America faced racists tweets online shortly after being crowned the 92nd winner


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