Thursday, April 17, 2008

Everything From Youtube to MUD

The power of the internet is unbelievable. To have information and entertainment at the touch of a few buttons is absolutely remarkable. For example, the hotforwords host Marina has been able to combine two of America's favorite entities, sex and internet, in order to catapult her into cyberspace fame. By simply sexing up her appearance and posting videos on Youtube, Marina's philologist segments have received over 40 million viewers over the last eight months. Whether these viewers are really interested in the linguistics she discusses or her sex appeal, the one obvious thing regarding hotforwords is the immense power of the internet. Without the internet, Marina would not be known around the world as the hot woman who knows a lot about words and dialect. She would maybe have a few fans who have heard about her the old fashioned "word of mouth" way, but with the internet and Youtube, she is able to sell herself across the nation and beyond to audiences who have probably never even heard of a philologist.

Furthermore, the idea of Youtube is uniquely amazing in itself. On this site you can find a video on absolutely anything, from the latest gag played on your college roommate to helpful tutoring guides on a specific math equation. The internet gives us the power to create an audience that is willing to view our creative powers. There are other sites that simply show funny, crazy videos portraying the actual antics of young viewers or creatively comedic animated videos. Here on these sites (such as or we are the star and the viewers are our fans. Yet when is it pushing too far? When is the internet bad?

In Dibbell's article "A Rape In Cyberspace," a debate arises over inappropriate sexual comments that occurred in a MUD. Yet, should the individual responsible for these comments be punished? Where is the line drawn between this "virtual world" and "real life"? True, if the internet is censored in any way, than we are giving up our right to freedom of speech. But should we have to endure the hurtful and ill-chosen behavior of someone else, even if in a cyber world? Furthermore, does one's behavior in the virtual world reflect that behavior they adopt in the real world? Although it seems absurd to discuss such a minute incident such as this, it must be brought to surface. However, we must realize that if we are to censor the behavior of those who are bad or, on the larger scale, if we are to ban sites which some deem inappropriate such as pro-racist or pornography sites, then we may risk losing our freedom of speech and we may be subject to censorship, not only in the virtual world, but in the real world, as well. Therefore, we should steer clear of those things that are inappropriate. Although they may affect us in some way, we must learn that we too have the right and freedom to say whatever we choose. We may only act in a reprimanding way when the acts are taken out physically.

Now some may wonder, what if we can avoid the hurt physically by observing behavior virtually as a tip off to what may occur in the real world? But we cannot assume that all bad in the virtual world will become bad in the real world. If we want the luxury of technology at our fingertips, we must accept that some individuals might use that technology in an ill-mannered way. But they have the same rights as we do and until we are willing to give up our rights, we must learn to deal with the technologically evil.

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