The internet has become a very prominent part of our society and our generation as a whole over the past decade, so much that it is as much part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth or using the bathroom. I wake up, look at my phone, check my Twitter and Instagram feed, check the ESPN app for scores, then I proceed with my day. Judging from what I just wrote, you can clearly see I use the internet for more recreational purposes as opposed to practical ones, which brings me to my argument. The internet is no longer simply just a tool used to make life easier for us but instead it serves for more malevolent purposes these days. This is where I pose my question: How much freedom is too much?
For example, during Halloween earlier this year a woman by the name of Alicia Ann Lynch posted a picture of her Halloween costume which was her dressed a victim of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Obviously this was incredibly insensitive considering that a year hadn’t even passed since the bombings occurred, but there’s no Internet Police that can just take your post down and give some kind of sanction. Sure you can flag something as inappropriate on both Twitter and Instagram but for the most part you’re free to post what you please. So I ask, should there be some kind of self-regulation that we as individuals should exercise in order to prevent postings like that?
Now, due to the vast size of the internet and the infinite amount of outlets where you can post and share media like this, the image naturally spread like wildfire and sparked outrage all over the country. Most of these offended individuals also exercised their freedom to post in a very hateful manner that shows us the two way street that is internet freedom; freedom as poster and freedom as a critic. Some go as far as using the vast information of the internet to obtain her and her parents’ addresses in order to send death threats.
Do I think that self-regulation when posting is a realistic solution to excessive internet freedom? No. Do I think that some people should be completely banned from owning a camera and a twitter account? Probably. Was a line crossed by both parties? Completely. Situations like these prove that people don’t know how to conduct themselves when given too much freedom, myself included.
My next example is a website by the name of World Star Hip-Hop, as the name suggests it is a site where the latest hip-hop music videos and interviews are shared and posted. However, what this website is famously known for is its frequent postings of explicit content, often violent fights and most frequently “twerk” videos. I will focus more on the fight aspect. This website updates daily, in addition, there is a weekly fight compilation video posted where violent hits that usually result in unconsciousness are glorified and even made humorous with sound effects.
This website is best known for being the source of the infamous Cleveland bus driver video, in which a Cleveland bus driver punches and then chokes a woman that spits and curses at him repeatedly. This video went viral within a few short days because from this website it was shared to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. They just became mediums for this video to gain notoriety. The bus driver lost his job, the victim was on the news for a few interviews but now I ask: where are they now? The answer, who knows, including myself, after their so called “15 minutes of fame” that the internet provides for many “stars” of viral videos such as these, the two have gone back to being ordinary citizens while the internet awaits the next best viral video.