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Social Media: revelation or revulsion

Posted by: Pumelela Nqelenga

Tagged in: Twitter , social , meida , london , Libya , Facebook , England , Egypt , blackberry , bbm

Pumelela Nqelenga

Calls for government to stop social media practice in London are the beginning of constitutional violations of freedom of expression and privacy.

No democracy government should stop the free flow of information and communication but what happens when we use our freedoms as weapons against the state.

In this year alone we have seen how social media has influenced the political and social landscape of many states.

In fact, what I have gathered from Egypt, Yemen, Libya and England is that Social Media tools this year have been used for revolutions, revelations and revulsions.

But to what extent can we blame or place accountability on social media?

It has come to my attention that we should start taking responsibility of our virtual identities that are in cyberspace. Like our real identities we need to be accountable for our virtual identities.

With the Eric Miyeni  saga, it was not the Soweton that had to stop publication but the individual who was abusing their right of freedom of expression at the expense of another individual.

The same should be done with social media where people who have access to social media tools should be banned from the network.

Social media such as Twitter and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) were the driving communication tools during the London riots and they were used by rioters who wanted nothing but havoc.

Yes, there has been debate over the riot/uprising, but coming from South Africa where we have history demonstrations; no protester who wants a better living hides their face especially in a democracy.

Freedom of expression comes with responsibility and we need to take that responsibly.

The problem with virtual identities is that they do not stay in cyberspace but have the capacity to influence our lives and society.

If this is the case then we need to be careful in how we use these identities so that they do not infringe in our real identities and social life.

The riots are a clear example of how virtual realities have the capacity to affect our daily lives and have the power to cause harm to real identities.

We should shift our minds in trying to understand people and how they use social media rather than speaking of social media and how it affects people.

There is no point in closing down Facebook, BBM, MXIT and Twitter when we have seen that these social tools do no harm by their own but by the people who use them.

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