Internet Freedom in Our World Today

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Let’s be honest: the Internet is one of man’s greatest creations. Surfing the web has brought humans so much information and research simply through multiple databases on one machine. The Internet has become an addiction to many people (myself included). The Internet allows people to connect with friends and potentially new friends through websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and other sites. Sports fans rely on the internet for their daily source of news on their favorite players and teams, as well as to have a small meltdown after reviewing their latest fantasy football loss. Businesses rely on the internet to attract potential customers and clients. Newspapers are slowly becoming obsolete, as the internet provides the news on a variety of different outlets, and news can be updated as more details are released on the web. And of course, there is the ever popular Youtube. In my opinion, Youtube has dominated the web. People can relive past events in history through video, watch their favorite users create their videos, learn new tricks, listen to music, and many many more beneficial things. In fact, without Youtube, popular stars such as Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black would have never been discovered. Clearly, the internet offers a huge amount of beneficial services. However, these benefits are often abused and users are completely unaware of it.

On popular outlets, like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, a user is allowed to post their current thoughts, chat with friends, upload pictures/videos, and other things. At first glance, this seems okay. However, a post such as this one can get a person into serious trouble:

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Are we truly free to post whatever our heart desires? I think one can argue both yes (technically) and no. In my opinion, I think we are free to post whatever we want on the internet. At the same time, I think one has to be mindful of the consequences of a post such as this one that potentially threatens the president of our nation. Often, employers now look at the social media sites of certain users to see their true identity outside of a job interview. If an employer sees inappropriate photos or posts, then he or she may be less likely to hire the potential employee. Did Alyssa Douglas lose all potential job opportunities simply through her Tweet that shows she is not a fan of our government? As human beings, the internet has become a daily part of our lives. As a result, our posts on the internet can greatly impact our futures.

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Wikipedia has been the student “go-to” website when researching a specific person or event. I think Wikipedia is a great tool. However, in the past, it has been incredibly abused as many have decided to change information on the site itself. Since there is a huge amount of daily traffic to the site, it is almost impossibly to filter out every misleading post. Consequently, 60% of articles contained factual errors (as the graph shows above). Wikipedia has allowed its users to freely add and alter information. However, offering misleading information offers no benefits to other users besides a laugh and a potentially poor grade on a project.

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As stated previously, users are free to browse Youtube to listen to their favorite artist’s newest music. A tool known as a Youtube to MP3 Converter was created to allow users to listen to music on their media devices for personal use only. The legality of this tool is still still being argued to this day. It is the new way of pirating music, and it takes money away from famous and up-and-coming artists. We are still free to use this tool, but isn’t this technically a form of piracy? In the end, it’s your opinion. I’m almost positive that there has not been any arrests for the use of this tool.

I believe that people have the freedom to post whatever they want. Of course there are both positive and negative consequences for this action. However, do I have the right to post whatever I please? Do I have the right to say that Obama needs to be assassinated much like the Twitter post shown above? Do I have to right to mislead others with the manifestation of false information? Do I have the right to technically pirate music? I can’t say for sure where I stand on these questions as the meanings of a right and a freedom overlap greatly. Does absolute freedom on the web exist? I can’t say for sure. As long as the internet is used responsibly, I think absolute freedom on the web undeniably exists.

Digital Humanities: Exploring New Media’s Influence on Scholarship and Digital Media

To me, the idea of digital humanities involves using computers and technology to conduct research about the cultures and behaviors of various places throughout the world. I think the digital humanities allow people to learn about topics and visit places without leaving the comfort of a computer or mobile device. One website mentioned by Prof. Urban that supports this idea is “an online exhibition his class created called ‘Chinese Exclusion in New Jersey: Immigration Law in the Past and Present’ now housed on the New Jersey Digital Highway webpage.” This website gives the viewer a museum like feel in learning about Chinese exclusion in the comfort of their own home. The website provides a vast variety of images regarding Chinese exclusion along with other information and analysis.

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When I went to Italy this past summer, I visited the Vatican. With a little research, I found out that the Vatican had an online exhibition for a great amount of all of their exhibits. Rome is a huge attraction, and tourists are magnanimous. At times there were so many people, I actually did not get the opportunity to see some of the exhibits. I relied on the online museum to learn even more about the Vatican as well as Italian culture to make the most out of my trip. There are pages upon pages of interactivity on the site, and one can learn a great deal about the Vatican without ever having to visit Italy. Digital Humanities allow people to access a great deal of information extremely quickly, and it can really be beneficial to those conducting research or just general curiosity.

John Lennon’s “Imagine” As a Social Commentary

ImageOn October 11, 1971, the song “Imagine” was released, and it quickly climbed atop the charts. It is often highly regarded as one of the greatest singles of all time. Despite its success, the song found itself surrounded by much controversy. In the song, Lennon proposes a world without a heaven, hell, a country, politics, hunger, and other social dilemmas. Many religious fanatics disliked the message of the song due to the idea of a world without a heaven. In an interview with David Sheff in 1980, Lennon talked about how a certain religion wanted him to alter his song:

The concept of positive prayer … If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion—not without religion but without this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing—then it can be true … the World Church called me once and asked, “Can we use the lyrics to ‘Imagine’ and just change it to ‘Imagine one religion’?” That showed [me] they didn’t understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea.

Subtly, I think he is trying to make the point that religion has brought more catastrophe and negativity into the world than chaos. People have this preconceived notion that one religion is better than another. People should not be separated and prejudiced simply due to their beliefs. He envisions a world of peace, and ironically this idea is opposed.

I think he is trying to engage the listener into believing that people should not be bounded by their country, politics, wars, etc. People should be “one” with each other and live in harmony. This song was also popular during the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement. Lennon may not have been necessarily attacking religion or the war in general through his song. However, he is challenging us to think about how the world would operate without certain constraints (social norms and man-made organizations such as religion or politics).

I think the song touches on two key aspects of “defining taste.” One can argue that the song has both explicit and implicit meanings. As stated previously, Lennon explicitly proposes a utopia without certain elements in our current world. Implicitly, one can argue that Lennon is jabbing at religion, government, and general greed. These things have often brought more bad into than world than they have brought good. In regards to the second aspect of who the song is designed to cater to: I think the song caters to everyone. The song really makes a person think about how peace can truly be achieved. Can we fully trust our religion and government that one day world peace can be achieved? One can argue that there isn’t a particular audience Lennon wants to address. Instead, he wants to address all people in the world.

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Also, I think the song title is highly significant. When a person imagines something, often it is something that seems impossible to achieve. In the song, Lennon states:

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Lennon knows that he is one of the few believers that people can achieve world peace. He hopes someday that you, the listener, can open your eyes and join his mission in stopping negativity in the world to achieve unison with all people. The song is a favorite of mine, and it has the potential to challenge your own set of beliefs and perceptions of the world.