It’s a wonderful thing, the internet, an endless source of joy and wonder, of information, and – YAY! – entertainment.
Anyone can write pretty much anything, at anytime, any place, and someone, somewhere will give it a like.
The beauty of it all is that no one needs any kind of qualification, or silly old facts or figures, to step up to the mic and yell it like they think it is. This is a democracy, and every single last one of the 3.5 billion internet users in the world has as much right to say what they think as anyone else.
What could possibly go wrong…?
Well, quite a bit, as it turns out. We live in a time when the Oxford English Dictionary‘s word of the year is post-truth, born out of the recent ability of so many politicians – running, say, for The White House, or campaigning for Brexit – to make any kind of outrageous claim and then dismiss such deliberate misinformation once the votes have been counted up. This is also the year when fake news became a major concern for all the giant social media sites, with the likes of Facebook and Google recently coming under fire for not combatting directly these hoax sites that publish propaganda and disinformation on social media purely for financial or political gain.
Closer to home, the grand experiment of a million monkeys with a million typewriters has hit some turbulence too, with a very public spat continuing today (having started December 31st) on the Facebook forum Greystones News & Views between two of the three administrators, Basil Miller and Michael Martin. Largely a left-wing political site, Martin took a break from his almost-daily chemtrail rants to up his attacks on President Obama, claiming that his wife, Michelle, is really a man. Such posts didn’t sit too well with members, inspiring Basil to attempt a coup, arguing, after he published some private messages between the three, that Martin and the page’s other administrator, Davida Spinderella Bradshaw, should step aside. The latter because she had moved out of Greystones some time ago, and the former because, well, he might just be mad.
Instead, Martin resigned in disgust, and Basil got shot out of a cannon by Davida.
It’s all a bit People’s Front Of Greystones versus the Greystonians’ People’s Front, of course, and such forums can drive even someone as mild-mannered and love-filled as Matt Wilson – sole proprietor of the long-running, long-sufferingGreystones Open Forum – to shout the word “DICK!” at his computer screen every ten-to-fifteen minutes.
So, here’s hoping everyone can kiss and make up. And once the group hug is over, hopefully we’ll all be that little bit wiser too.
The trouble with freedom of speech is that even assholes get to have their say. To get the most out of this wonderful thing called the interweb, the trick is to try and make sure that the asshole is rarely, if ever, you.
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