Last week in class the topic of online debates was brought up. Many people brought forth very interesting examples of online debates relating to politics, gender discrimination, entertainment and other such topics.
One online debate that was circulating for a while and got me particularly heated in class was the question of whether famed singer Beyoncé Knowles lip-synced her performance at the presidential inauguration ceremony on January 22,, 2013. As it turned out the singer, known for powerful pipes, did admit to lip-syncing at a press conference, but not before showing the world that just because she lip-synced didn’t mean she couldn’t do the exact same performance live. She began the press conference by singing the national anthem loud and proud and later explained the reasoning behind the decision to lip-sync at the inauguration was due to technicalities and lack of rehearsals, which made her uncomfortable doing the performance live.
Just a few weeks later the star burned the stage up and caused a power outage during her Superbowl halftime performance. Audiences around the world were in awe by her post-baby body and incredible LIVE performance. Talk of her inauguration performance has died down, however, in the heat of it all I can say that the debates around Facebook and online blogs were quite intense. I can admit that I participated in some civil debates over Facebook as well.
However, in stepping back and analyzing the topic of online debates such as these via the comments on blogs or on social networking cites, it simply goes to show how incredibly rapidly information goes viral and how every individual who wants to, can give their opinion. No matter how informed or uninformed one is on a topic, everyone in this online public sphere has a voice. One’s post may be read by only two people or it may be read by thousands, but chances are someone at some point stumbles across it. Moreover, no one can technically silence anyone. Everyone is essentially equal. Obviously there are those people with more followers on their blogs or on twitter, and those more prominent opinion leaders in the community (some might refer to bloggers like Perez Hilton for that- personally I wouldn’t, but just as an example since the number of people that follow him is massive), who will always have a greater impact on society as a whole, but, regardless, each and every single online contributor (via youtube, blogs, twitter, etc. …) has a voice that can get heard, despite the number that hear it. Personally, I think this is one of the greatest benefits of the Internet itself and Mr. Habermas would likely agree with me on this statement.
The prominent artist and thinker Andy Worhol said it right…
“In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
Welcome to the future.