The internet. Plainly stated, it’s the greatest invention that I can think of aside from the kitchen microwave. Without it, the world would be lost and communication would probably cease to exist altogether (might as well take the most dramatic approach to a hypothetical scenario). The internet provides an avenue of communication for the globe, connecting governments and people of all walks of life to each other. It is vital for basic communication, cultural diffusion, and innovation across all fields. And most importantly, I look at it as a huge dry-erase board that wraps around the entire world, providing space for every single human being on this planet to express their deepest concerns and sentiments.
Free speech has never been stronger than now in the age of the internet, even though censorship among totalitarian governments such as China still prevails. Yes, not everyone has the luxury of posting as they please in all areas of the world, but when there’s a will, there’s a way. Free speech on the internet is not only an outlet of expression, but also a way of holding governments accountable for their actions and secrecy, in turn only making the democratic process stronger. We all know the benefits of free speech and the reasons why it should be further protected in this technological age, rather than being infringed upon.
But have you ever thought that maybe people take their right of expression on the World Wide Web a little too far? Have you ever found yourself scrolling through your Facebook feed of friends to find a status that states information that should be kept private? I have. And let me tell you. It happens. A lot. And to be frank, it’s annoying. People have abused their right to share in our age, using social media websites and their purpose as an excuse to be infected with Verbal Diarrhea. Verbal Diarrhea is the next cancer that has already began to infect millions of people across the globe.
Verbal Diarrhea is usually acquired in a social-media environment. Quite simply, people get too comfortable with the fact that the internet is their huge dry-erase board to scribble upon. There’s this idea instilled in internet users that they cannot be held accountable for their words. The internet (particularly social media sites) is responsible for stimulating a culture that is too comfortable and has no shame. There seems to be no boundaries with what should be shared from a personal standpoint and what should be kept under the covers. I know that this is the point of free speech, to have no boundaries and to say as you wish, but not every detail of your life needs to be accounted for.
My point is the following: the internet is not a shoulder to cry on 24/7. Sure, you will find those who sympathize with you and pity in your sorrows. But allow me to be conservative for a second and say that not everything needs to be shared. Not every conversation should turn into, or even have the possibility of turning into a social-media war or crying fest. Where is the threshold for sharing personal details? We are constantly being judged for the content we publish online by employers, friends, and even romantic interests. And once it’s there, it’s essentially a permanent record. A screen shot could be taken regardless of whether your post is modified. And if you have shame, morals, principles, or whatever you want to call it, you’ll be embarrassed. You’ll be ashamed of your emotional outburst that in actuality, not many people care about. So do yourself a favor and have some personal censorship. Be your personal totalitarian government and keep a lid. Don’t’ allow verbal diarrhea to take over your life.