Social Media Violates Our First Amendment Rights

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It’s true…social media has become a form of censorship in the worst way…not only is a it a medium that one can’t be themselves in, it’s become a medium to bully minority opinions to join the vast majority. Here’s what I mean…

A year or so ago, I was heavily into Facebook. I would post about my passions, which at the time involved lots of exercise and clean eating. No hot-button topics there, and plenty of ‘likes’ for my pics of food and inspirational quotes. But eating healthfully and getting a workout in doesn’t define my entire existence, or even most of it. In fact, that’s just a sliver of my self and daily life. The bigger part of me–of anyone–is comprised of my humor, take on life, and ideas about what goes on around me.

A few times I would post a meme that most thought wonderfully cute and adorable…again, no hot-topic button being pressed. But in the rare times that I allowed my true sometimes off-color humor to show, boy did I pay for it. “I don’t know what this means” or ” 🙁 “.  I posted a particularly hilarious video–to me, at least–and it was completely lost on many in my newsfeed. “I don’t know…why is this funny?” Or my favorite: the chastising.  “CJ…I don’t get it? The guy is crying…why is that funny? Maybe he’s going through stuff”…and the Admonition Group grew…”Yes, I agree with _____. This is not funny. AT. ALL.” and so on… Really? I wasn’t thinking that deeply about it. I thought it was funny, I posted–more for me than for you, I might add–and now I’m a bad person with no compassion for a man crying??

And that’s just small scale. Celebrities come under fire all too often for posting their own thoughts and feelings on their personal social media accounts:  Trevor Noah, Matt Damon, The Duggars, and Demi Lovato name just a few who have most recently found themselves in the court of public opinion, trying to defend their cause or humor. Demi’s ‘controversial’ tweet was especially upsetting to me, not because of what she said, but because I agreed with her message. Should I be under fire now, too?

What I find most irritating about this is that I thought social media was meant to be a place where one could voice opinions and ideas. Why have we allowed such policing of ideas and personalities? Should we use social media to be vulgar or exploit women? No. Should we use social media to promote depravity or human suffering? No, absolutely not. What I’m saying is: why can’t I be me and you be you? What is the point of using social media as an outlet or as a tool for discussion when a hundred “keyboard thugs” are ready to pounce? Why must we think the same and post the same things in order to keep the peace?

In my opinion, social media has become a place where we must put our best foot forward at all times, the way one might feel when going to church. And yes, I am a Christian, though I don’t consider myself a conventional one. Why? I know that we are all human, with different ideas and feelings and views on the world. Even as a Christian, I have seen the hypocrisy of presenting oneself a certain way in church and yet living a completely different lifestyle (but that’s another rant for a different article).  Many non-Christians complain that they are judged and not accepted for who they are when they walk into a church  building. How is this feeling any different from how social media users treat other users today?  I’d like to think that rather than expect you to be like me, we can actually be interested in what the other has to say. #FreeToBeMyself #BeTransparent #StopTheHypocrisy #PeaceLove&Togetherness

 

Writer Bio

CJ Heath feels that she censors her own behavior enough and does not need others to pitch in. She is also genuinely interested in you, your ideas, your feelings and experiences and most of all, your humor.

 

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