OpEd: Freedom of Speech on YouTube
Have you ever sat back and wondered, “Is there a way that my opinion can be heard by others?”
As strange of an opening sentence that may be, I am hoping that this will not only answer that question to those who are asking it, but also provide insight or inspire an idea in the person reading this.
You see, we live in an interesting, and sometimes overwhelming, age of technology. We are able to share so many things and have our thoughts be sent anywhere around the world in virtually a matter of minutes.
One of the many tools we now have access to, are video sharing websites, one of the most popular being Youtube.
At some point, we have all come across this website, whether it is for research, news, or just wanting to pass the time with an interesting video.
But, if you really think about it, Youtube is actually an amazing means to express our freedom of speech; a forum or venue for expressing personal opinion that is not limited to the confines of a news reporter’s slant. I personally use Youtube quite often to learn and gather information on topics that are societal or political in nature which assists me in deciphering ideas to form a better opinion.
It is an opportunity for anyone, from multiple backgrounds and situations, to give, and sometimes humorously vent, their opinions and ideas toward specific topics. An added bonus is that viewers are also able to agree or disagree in the comments section below the video. Unfortunately, and sadly, this section is often used by opportunists to sell something or others to toss out profanities that are irrelevant to the subject discussed, just because they can.
One example, of an opinion-based channel, is Phil on Politically Incorrect. Phil, who expresses his passion/ frustration through the use of a very colorful vocabulary, tends to tell it like it is and is very straight forward with every point he makes.
Although he drops the F-Bomb in nuclear proportions while expressing his opinion, I am drawn back by his overwhelming honesty and realism in life. There is just something about a man sitting in his car expressing his thoughts and feelings, to the point of visible, high blood pressure swelling, near aneurismal yelling regarding the next bill to be passed or how fast food prices have risen, and then calmly lighting up a cigarette that can make viewers say, “Well he’s real, and maybe I should pay more attention to that.”
Another more comedic example is Danny on the Gradual Report channel. Danny is a gentleman who attended law school for a period of time and is now meshing comedy with the day to day aspects of his life to get his point across in a not so subtle way. He will not only give his opinion on what big societal thing has just happened, but also wants to creatively find home-based science experiments to answer some of the more random questions in life, such as “How to Procrastinate”.
A third example would be Reginald on the DEMCAD channel. Reginald is a mid-west Prepper who, unlike Phil and Danny, is very careful and concise about expressing himself. He tends to talk about what he hears on the news, and how it may make him alter or adjust his life style of prepping, while also sharing those ideas with fellow preppers.
What is interesting about Reginald though is instead of taking things in a more humorous way, he tends to make viewers think and ask themselves questions. He expresses himself in a more logical, yet light-hearted way.
These are only three out of millions of people making videos, and sharing them every day.
There is a music group I am a fan of, and ironically first heard while looking on Youtube one day, called Thousand Foot Krutch. Their album The End is Where We Begin has a consistent message the listener is always reminded of which is, “If you don’t stand for something, you might fall for anything.”
If we are not able to hear all sides of a story and understand them, how are we really able to make our own choices and opinions on topics of interest?
Without knowledge and the ability to be introduced to what other people’s thoughts are, we can very easily fall for the first thing we hear on the topic.
Youtube is a means of hearing all the sides of the story. Through Youtube, we are able to hear, understand, learn about, and decide on what we stand for.
Then the cycles begin all over again, and with a simple camera and computer, we are able to share our feelings on the topic and possibly inspire or at the very least let someone be aware of another way of thinking.
Yes, there is a way for your opinion to be heard, and yes your opinion does matter. Not only are you confirming what you stand for by making that video and sharing it with others, but you may even be inspiring someone else and helping them to confirm what they believe.
So, turn on your device, look up Youtube, and check for yourself, cause if you don’t stand for something, you might fall for anything.
(by Atticus Shaffer)