Is new media shaping our culture? What is fair game and what isn’t? Those are definitely questions we should all be asking ourselves in the digital age we are living in. This has been discussed in the media semi-recently when a comedian live tweeted a breakup of a couple from his apartment rooftop.
In an article, Tweeting Private Conversations #DirtyLaundry, by Paulina Haselhorst, she said, “But despite Ayer’s conviction that his tweets were innocent, there’s something that just doesn’t feel right about publishing personal conversations, especially ones that are not our own” (2014). Haselhorst has a nice moral opinion stated there, but honestly, can we really hold ourselves to this? Public is public. These people could have easily held this conversation in their apartment, but chose to go to the roof and then, upon getting up there, proceeded to carry on this conversation despite another person being up there.
Is it wrong to tweet this? The couple had every opportunity to not have this in public despite Haselhorst’s statement that “some compassion is in order…” (2014). I believe that when someone knowingly throws common sense and/or tact out the window then they are fair game for someone else who chooses not to show compassion. Is it really fair to tweet, blog, or YouTube someone who got pulled over because of a DUI? A case could be made that they, too, deserve compassion because it was a screw up and it’s not our drama, but it’s still getting reported through these mediums anyway. This is the culture we live in today and just going out your door every morning you see people constantly with ear buds in or reading their phones, tablets, laptops, etc. It’s to be expected that new media is everywhere!
Haselhorst also went on to say that users of Twitter can still have laughs, but should ultimately be choosy or selective about what they post to get the laughs. I don’t understand how this author can take this moral attitude without scolding all the comedians, journalists, script writers, song writers, or even everyday people who go about making a living by telling other people stories based off of something public that has happened or they experienced. Twitter isn’t the only place that this sort of exposure happens and something as little as this isn’t nearly as embarrassing as other stories that get told to thousands of people each day. All someone needs to do is to log onto YouTube and people are constantly posting videos of things people are doing. These videos can be moronic, dangerous, or heartwarming. The bottom line is that media is a major part of our culture and we are being shaped by it through its control over the population.
I don’t feel that we, as in the general public, should go about tweeting or sharing everything we see, but I also don’t believe we should censor everything either. While we might be disgusted at the sharing of public information, it also may serve as historical data for future generations as well. All of this is certainly up for ethical debate, but one thing remains constant and that is that new media is around us. We’re told all the time to be careful what we post, but we also know that people are watching us whether we want it or not. With access to all sorts of media at the click of a button, it’s only a matter of time before we begin to shape our culture as either socially awkward or everyone becoming “e-famous”.
Images courtesy of: 10 Of The Best Twitter Cartoons