Danger, High Coverage

Undoubtedly the internet is an amazing, useful invention, but the freedom with which people can post, disseminate and access information is a cause for concern. Everyone believes their opinions are important, and that other people should take heed of them. It goes without saying that my opinions are especially important, because they are mine, but I digress. So everyone has a blog, or a myspace account, or a facebook account, or their very own website. And there they post their thoughts on life, the universe and everything.

The problem with this is not so much their thoughts, but that pretty much anyone can access them. Users often forget that they're publishing material in a public domain, and suddenly a private conversation or an intimate thought becomes known to the world. OK, so if we were all truly liberal and freedom of speech was a wholly accepted concept, this wouldn't matter, but we aren't and it isn't. I am happy to state that I don't believe in God, but I also get slightly worried that this might get me into trouble. It shouldn't, as it is only my own considered opinion, and one which others are perfectly entitled to disagree with (although of course they're wrong), but if students of Aberdeen University go onto my facebook site they could start complaining to higher powers - the university authorities, not God. Elsewhere, a girl is "spanked" electronically by a male friend, and this is posted on a networking site. It is nothing more than horseplay, but she is a teacher and, like all pillars of society, teachers are not allowed to be real people. They have to be paragons of virtue, or else some stupid parent will declare themselves offended and demand their dismissal.

Does this all mean that we should actively avoid posting our thoughts on the web? Certainly not. But we do have to be careful where we publish them and what we say, before the litigious contingent call in the lawyers. And in that vein, if anyone ever reads this blog and gets upset, I'm afraid you'll just have to fuck off.