Come, prune & trim away with me... Let's try to shape our world together!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The keyboard is mightier than the sword

I saw the movie The Social Network on its second day of showing about a month ago, soon after I started blogging.  Since I'm one of the minority who resisted the social networking bandwagon for quite a while (my FB account was just a little over a year then), I was looking forward to knowing how this phenomenon called Facebook came to be. It was a pretty good movie and I enjoyed it: professionally made but had a sort of a dark indie feel to it. A line in the movie affirmed a thought I've had about the internet that I've long been carrying in my mind and I made a mental note to blog about it.  It slipped my memory & only resurfaced a couple of weeks ago when a blogger friend made a short post about the movie.  I guess this post will not be as short.
"When  you  post  something  on  the internet, it's  not written  in  pencil  Mark, it's written in permanent ink..." 
These words were thrown by Erica Albright to the lead character, Mark Zuckerberg, who recently trashed her on his blog immediately after she broke off with him.  Mark's post contained stuff that are not much different from the things we read, see or hear on the 'local' net such as those about Manny Pacquiao and his indiscretions many many months ago, or the Hayden bedroom videos even earlier, or the recently resurrected audio clip of the foul-mouthed Filipina balikbayan calling the Citibank call center. 

How are the examples that I cited different from each other?  Well, anyone's guess is as good as mine on the veracity of the first one.  The second has been confirmed as true, even by the courts.  The last may well just be a fabrication of an overly active (and negative, not to mention, ksp) mind.  How are they then similar?  Just like Mark's blog about Erica, all three are destructive.  All three were written in permanent ink and has left indelible marks, not only on the subjects of the material but also on the thousands or even millions who read, watched or heard them.  In the cyberworld, we are not only what we post (or repost).  We are also what we read, watch and hear.

The internet is such a vast and wonderful venue for the exchange of data, information, ideas and opinions.  It's like one giant library.  One big difference though is that the conventional library is properly catalogued and sectioned under specific categories such as History, Autobiography or Fiction.  The internet is not.  It is where fact may sometimes be difficult to distinguish from fiction, where information can be clouded by opinion, where gossip and rumors can be peddled as truth.  True, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing... especially if it comes from the mass media, including the internet. 

Indeed, the keyboard  has now become mightier than the pen, even mightier than the sword...  The power of the written word cannot be more apparent than on the internet.  Its readership knows no bounds, no time zones or border lines.  Almost everything is accessible to nearly everyone.  It's one big marketplace.  What proliferates is what sells.  What sells is what proliferates.  Can you be proud to show what's in your basket?

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