Social Media is Free Speech Gone Mad

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Social media is “media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.” The notion of freedom of speech is “the right to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content and subject only to reasonable limitations.” Social media rapidly travels virally, thus magnifying issues so that they are more exaggerated than they would be through conventional media. How do we ensure that this technology benefits society and does not create a scenario which is of detriment to us – how do we prevent “free speech gone mad”? Athlete’s use of social media highlights a number of issues in the use and impact of this technology, and what restrictions are likely to come into place as a result.

Developments in social media have an effect on how information is broadcast. In the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Canada information was permitted to be published on social media sites for the first time. The games in Vancouver have been dubbed the first “Twitter Olympics”. Today anyone can post updates on these events online, this medium has changed the way we share information and has revolutionised media.

Even in the most democratic countries, media has had censorship due to both television and the press having guidelines of acceptable journalism and broadcasting. There is editorial staff that determine whether something should be broadcast or published. Open forums on the internet like Facebook allow people from all corners of society to express their views without bowdlerization. Social media is incredibly spontaneous with opinions from a wide spectrum, who do not n...

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Robinson, Eric P. “International Grounding: Can Public Colleges Limit Atheletes’ Tweets?” Citizen Media Law Project URL http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2010/intentional-grounding-can-public-colleges-limit-athletes-tweets Last Edited: November 9, 2010 Last Viewed: June 26, 2011

Schroeder, Dan. “Should athletes have social media restrictions?” Strategic Social Media URL http://prosintraining.com/ssm/2011/05/should-athletes-have-social-media-restrictions/ Last Edited: May 8, 2011 Last Viewed: June 26, 2011

“Social Media at the Vancouver Olympic Games” Out-Smarts URLhttp://www.out-smarts.com/2010/02/15/social-media-at-the-vancouver-olympic-games/ Last Viewed: June 26, 2011

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

“What is an open forum?” wiseGeek URL http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-open-forum.htm Last Viewed: June 26, 2011

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