Gadfly Rights: Entitlements to Speak in the Internet Age
Does the internet give us all a sense of entitlement? Connected to the world via our computers we become more than just a user. Post on a discussion board and be read by thousands all over the world. Suddenly a simple whim spirals to a post, which spirals to a thread, becomes a forum and via social media a tiny tumult in a teacup.
All ages determine the communicative power of its citizens. Before a system of letters the furthest one could “broadcast” his or her thoughts was determined by a strength of voice. Letters gifted relative permanence (if your slate was protected). Maybe here we have the dawn of “sacred texts” as major works were easily washed away or broken and in need of special categorization to warrant extra watch. Further advances in communication expanded distance and permanence and with both increasing abilities to have a say. With the dawn of the internet age the cadre of communication tools at our disposal gives us immense amounts of power.
Though we possess these tools, many do not take advantage of their true scheme. Just as with weapons only a small group of individual will take advantage of the items full power, communication tools have a limited use by some. One wonders whether a bell-curve distribution would reflect the use of weapons and communication tools? Do the majority of a population utilize half of the resource with smaller clusters using maximum and minimum values?
Furthermore, with the dawn of these new communication tools does a change result simply from their existence? In knowing that I can say anything to anyone do I secretly reserve it for my disposal? Is each of us a gadfly waiting for an issue to lure us to speak? Surely we all have issues that irk our blood and, if threatened in just the right way, prepared with both emotion and tools to convey our point. Herein lies the great dangers of all factors of society. Emotion + Ability = Hazard. This is perhaps the equation for all of history.