Unfortunately, Steubenville will neither be the first nor the last example of crimes that were caught on camera before being reported to the police. How is it that, in a room full of other students, no one thought to stop the act before it escalated or was posted online? It's not just the sexual assault that concerns me but the lack of morals that have risen alongside the increasing popularity of social media. People are so focused on wanted to be the first "reporter on the scene" that they're disregarding the safety of those they're videotaping. It's disconcerting that people are waiting until the last minute to care. Those two teens should not have been the only ones punished for the events that unfolded that night. If we expect people to learn the consequences of their actions, then anyone who witnessed the assault and did nothing to stop it and/or report it, should be punished to some extent. Although my heart goes out to the victim and I hope she does well despite this, I hope that this will increase a nation-wide awareness to sexual assault. The only way to make something better is to force people to talk about it, whether they want to or not. And something needs to be done to further protect future victims (and hopefully lead, soon, to prevention). We should not have to rely solely on the internet to catch a crime. That kind of expectation can jeopardize safety and create a digital shadow no one should have to live with.
This quote, although about specific incidence, is applicable to many users on social media. As the quote says, we are often our own accusers on social media – posting excessive photos and information that is completely unnecessary to the public eye. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms, users must be mindful of their privacy settings and their full list of friends. On a much broader level, consider inappropriate information unrelated to criminal activity – such as underage drinking, or provocative photos. While this information may be appropriate for some friends or followers to see, it definitely is not appropriate for everyone. This specific case highlights the magnitude of social and other media technologies. People are frequently thrust into public spotlight whether they choose to or not. Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond, the defendants in this case, exploited their own criminal activity through social media – thus, they should be held responsible.
This quote is so relevant to society today, simply because it highlights the importance, and danger, of social media in our everyday lives. I, as many other people I know, often tweet or post on Facebook without giving too much thought to the consequences of what I say. That being said, I do not ever commit heinous crimes, such as the one described above, but the fact that a social media post turned a man into his own accuser affirms its salience in our society. Additionally, it demonstrates the role social media plays in the lives of individuals. It is actually quite sad that a criminal felt compelled to post about the crime he had just committed. Was it an attempt to brag to his followers or Facebook friends? Was he remorseful or proud of what he had done? Either way, he should certainly be held responsible for his actions, especially after incriminating himself. This quote also highlights the importance of what one chooses to post online, whether it be something as serious as admitting to a crime, or it be something that may offend a friend.
I think this quote does a great job of confronting the dilemma that our generation and the following generation faces with social media. Social media is extremely powerful and in some ways fairly permanent. We have begun to treat mediums such as twitter and facebook as personal diaries that don't requiring any censorship or boundaries. But these causal forums come with potentially detrimental consequences. We tend to forget that what we say today can comeback to haunt us tomorrow. Mays and Richmond are facing the reality that identity and reputation is often and easily shaped by social media.