Social Media: Judge and Jury?

Over the past few days I have been reading my usual blogs and there is a story that’s coming across all of them. It’s about a PR exec who tweeted a very insensitive tweet referencing her trip to South Africa. Apparently millions of Twitter users totally blanked on her and she has lost her job. Sad story. I don’t know what she was thinking. Being a public relations professional you would think that she would know better than to say something so offensive on the WORLD WIDE WEB, but I digress. Over the past year or so there have been other incidents like this one. Incidents where people have done or said something that led to job loss and/or public outrage. Paula Deen was caught using racial slurs, Rick Ross (Ricky Rozay??) was slammed for lyrics, Lil Wayne was also called out for offensive lyrics. Now I remember back in the day, people were mad at Slim Shady for offensive lyrics. People were in the streets protesting, at concerts protesting, the whole shebang. But I don’t remember the situation being as serious as the ones I mentioned earlier. Sure there was some news coverage. Web stories. But he went on to sell millions of records, he continued making offensive records, sold out shows performing them, and I’m sure his bank account never felt the impact of his haters feelings. These days though, if people say anything off the wall, they are going DOWN. That being said, I have to wonder if the internet is to blame. It has unquestionably enhanced our lives in more ways than I can name. I personally use Google often and I am proud to say that I have acquired a ridiculous amount of useless information from Wikipedia. But the best thing about the internet is that it gives us little people a voice. The internet provides us platform to get our message out, to share our opinion with people we otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Especially on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–everyone is on at least one of them. Companies use these sites to reach us, and conversely, we use it to reach them. Such as the case with Rick Ross, people hit the keyboard so hard that he lost his contract with Reebok. I ask, if this was 10 years ago would that have even happened? In the song he spoke on something that happens all the time. I personally didn’t think anything of it. Just another rap lyric in another rap song. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way I do. A lot of people don’t, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But In a country where free speech is a law, should people be penalized because of what they say? Is social media the new morality police? Of course there are some things that should not be said in general, but have we reached a point where we must consider the feelings of every single person IN THE WORLD before we say anything? Are vegans going to start a petition against ‘why the chicken crossed the road’ jokes? Are we not entitled to an opinion because it may offend someone else? Now that we all have the ability to share our thoughts with the world, are we held to a higher standard in what we say? Or are people just a little too sensitive to the opinions and thoughts of others??

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