I don’t tweet. Friends have said I should open a Twitter account but I have remained inanimate on the matter. Twitter registers very low on my list of priorities and while I get that one can actually catch the attention of a celebrity or someone in power, it remains an unappealing endeavour. I regard social media as a blessing and a curse. I like that we’re more connected but I dislike the fact that we actually care less. Social media has made us regard one another in a lesser light and this is because it’s made our social lives easier and the minute something gets easy, we undermine it. Look at the birthday card; once a staple of celebration and admitting that you had a genuine care for a friend, family member or colleague. Facebook has all but obliterated this once thriving industry and while everyone says something on your wall, not many really mean it. We’re sacrificing a lot in the name of the net and social media, and as it appears of late, not just our interpersonal qualities, but our livelihoods too.
I’m not sure that we’re fully comprehending the extent of our online actions. Our online footprints, while meant to create a digital map of what we like so that corporations can sell us things, can also be used for surveillance. Instagram has the right to make money from the photos you post on it without giving you a cent. The net has given us a power to wield and at the risk of sounding cheesy, with great power comes great responsibility.
In the light of the recent James Gunn incident, nothing screams online vigilance more than what has befallen this Hollywood director. Roughly 10 years ago Mr Gunn, in what appears an attempt of provocation, made some really unsavoury tweets. For those of you not in the know, James Gunn is most notable for his work with Marvel Studios and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Gunn was also known for his anti- Trump stance, something which has now cost him his job. Disney owns Marvel and once they got wind of these old tweet, uncovered by a staunch Trump supporter, he was fired.
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I’ve read the tweets and they are atrocious, but here’s the thing, why didn’t this information bug Disney beforehand? Only once unearthed, did the giant studio step in; the very same studio that employed Johnny Depp in light of his domestic abuse allegations by his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Gunn apologised years ago for those tasteless tweets and why should we not believe in the capacity of a human being to grow, evolve and change for the better within a span of 10 years. Should no one be given a second chance? I’m not here to defend Gunn. His tweets really are off-side and one can see why Disney’s actions were swift, but the complexity of the situation begs for revision.
Your Online Past & Your Future
James Gunn is but one example of being retroactively punished. Is punishment way after the fact applicable, especially when the person hasn’t physically done anything to anyone, and in addition has apologised? I think that what’s important to take home from all of this is that as an online user, you need to watch your step, especially in light of what you say, because once it’s out there, its digitally entrenched and if someone doesn’t like you, he or she can dig up that dirt, use it out of context to accentuate its already questionable attributes and this my dear readers can cost you your job, your livelihood and your reputation. So take care of yourself in the digital space and if you can’t think of anything good to put there, then best you keep it to yourself and then work on yourself.