When did an opinion have to be everyone elses too?

Monday, 19 January 2015

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Last night I was having a chat with some of the FBL girls when a twitter-storm went off. I didn't really want to jump on a bandwagon and seriously considered whether to post this or not, however I felt quite passionately about the fall out over what had occurred.

The ins and outs of the situation, and the who said whats, are neither here nor there really, as that wasn't my concern. What concerned me was that one person voiced their view on something and were instantly faced with a torrent of abuse from various individuals via Twitter. The comment wasn't overly negative, it was just someone's point of view, but the effect was pretty massive.

But this isn't the first time this type of thing has happened. There have been various occurences of One Direction fans, for example, trolling people who have had the gall to voice their opinion on social media; and remember all that stuff over Zoella's ghostwriter a few months back?

If someone is just being unnecessarily nasty, then fair play for them to be called out - but what if you were just saying you didn't like something 90% of the population liked? If all you're friends were a huge fan of Dairy Milk, and you preferred Galaxy, would you expect them to threaten to hunt down your family if you said "nah I'm not all that fussed thanks"? Hopefully not! I might be over simplifying things but essentially this is the reality. So what if you don't like a particular band, or Youtuber, or book or whatever? So what if they have a gazillion followers who think they are amazing? It should be ok for you to say, without the fear that you are going to receive hate mail and of shit through your door, that actually you're not that big a fan - shouldn't it?

Recently the world mourned for those at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a magazine who dared to print what it wanted within the confines of the law. Yet someone took a dislike to this and responded in the most horrific and disgusting way imaginable. We are extremely lucky to live in a country that promotes, the  freedom of speech, "the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas using one's body to anyone who is willing to receive them." Why then, should that freedom of speech, only be acceptable if it conforms to the opinions of the masses? Yes, there are limitations of this within the law, in essence, anything that can be deemed offensive, but surely in the grand scheme of things, a handful of people saying they don't like something isn't really going to affect much? But why is it that some people do find this, in effect, offensive? I know there are many examples where the voice of one or two becomes the voice of millions, but in relation to a multi-worldwide selling star, I'm sure they aren't that bothered if I say " Hey, you're music isn't my bag and I'm gonna go listen something else." So why should their fans be? Why then, when someone says the same about a blogger or Youtuber, do they get a million and one tweets from a bunch of (usually) young teens hurling abuse for making their opinion public that they just aren't a fan, either of them or something they promote? I seriously worry about the 'pack mentality' behind some of this, and also wonder why their parents aren't monitoring their internet use, when in effect they are becoming cyber bullies.

Cyber bulling and trolling are massive deals. I know some would arguing they are "defending" others. but actually do they need defending? If you walked past someone you didn't actually know, but knew of, and heard someone say "I don't like you," would you stop, and hurl abuse at that person? No you would walk right on by. Despite Youtubers and Bloggers sharing so many elements of their life, we don't really know them. We know the parts of them they want to share, but that's all. Yes completely, if someone if just being plain nasty, then that's different, but just to say, "I'm not you're biggest fan" that's ok. And I have the freedom of speech to be able to say that.

Do you think blogging has lost some of its freedom of speech for far of repercussions?

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