Social Media and Freedom of Speech – Terms and Conditions Apply


The “voice of the people” – in 140-characters or less, a wide open “space” where everyone has a voice – but with repercussions, “personal branding”…

With the whole world becoming more aware and conscious of what goes on in different parts of this berserk planet, most of us have taken to our our keyboards and screens to express ourselves.

Yet the Internet revolution didn’t just end at making information available, as it is us who write and disseminate the information, making public our opinions, sharing events and our thoughts in real time, with an urgency to communicate, to reach out, or even perhaps to question those very ideas.

And with social media permeating educational institutions and the corporate world, little of our lives are left untouched. This brave new dimension of free speech and self expression is now part and parcel of all our worldly affairs.

And that is a good thing, right? But now what?

dislikeSharing political news turns rapidly into massive Facebook wars. Posting a picture gets you unsavory remarks from family or a perv from school or a stalking co-worker.

But the scrutiny and feedback goes beyond our limited social circles. Here comes the corporate world.

More and more we get lectured about how companies use social media platforms to “screen” you. How you are obliged to limit your ideas, opinions and character to what ought to be globally accepted.

Or, in different, more extreme terms: Delete your accounts on social networks and shut up… like shut the fuck up forever.

You are not entitled to have an opinion anymore – not even about how your day was.

What happened to encouraging people to question, discuss and argue? Have an actual stand on something? Since when was my post of the day a reason for an entity to retaliate against me? Or an article becoming the nightmare reason I lost the pleasure of writing?

In the past three years, most of us have lost friends over political opinions. Sometimes even over the type of content posted on Facebook or the amount of game invitations they send you (yes, yes, kill them all).

Now we are made to submit to the fear that we may lose jobs or opportunities due to a post that someone might like – or not.

social media mistakeCan’t I even convey an idea? Or will that automatically lead to social suicide and being alienated from society and the big corporate world? How long until we’re all muffled, oppressed and coached with fear?

Hell, I didn’t say post drunk pictures. But do you really want to conform to the rules of a digital world that boxes you in and formats you into just another screw in the machine?

“Social media” is exactly what the expression conveys: media, means of communication. Socially in this case, not mass media, as in to a wide undifferentiated audience.

But it does reach a wide undifferentiated audience. And even very specific audiences that you did not invite into your social circle, but who feel entitled to be privy to your posts.

Social media allows our voyeuristic bosses and bosses-to-be to sneak into our circle and judge our abilities to comply with and conform to their expectations of our behaviors.

And that is the opposite of having an opinion. And being free to express it. Among friends. Or at all for that matter.

I believe in self exposure. I believe in the fact that if companies fear outspoken individuals, then they may have something to hide. And I will never type up a conventional post to gain acceptance and be just another passive person.

If I’ve learned anything from my country’s turmoil, it is to have character. And it is that very particular character one develops that takes you places.

Did you know who you were… before they told you who to be?


WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss “10 Ways to Cure Your Social Media Addiction“.