Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.
— Abbott Joseph Liebling, 1904-1963
The internet has changed society as we know it. In today’s world every and any individual has become a publisher. Today any individual has the power to say anything they want and be heard by the entire world. Freedom of speech has reached the masses.
The internet is having an incredible impact on the spread of information. Just as the introduction of the printing press changed the scope of how information is shared by allowing ideas of science, religion and classical arts to spread, the internet is also changing the way information propogates, on a much more global and impactful level.
Today knowledge spreads like a virus. The internet has enabled any individual to share their thoughts to the rest of the world. Today’s example of the mass emailing of the letter outlining allegations regarding the Bermuda Housing Corporation scandal and subsequent posting on sites like www.bermudasucks.com and www.facebook.com are simply acts that demonstrate how true freedom of speech and freedom of press have reached the people.
Whether or not the allegations are true, they have taken on a life of their own. Whether we like it or not, the future will never be the same. Googleability, “The ease with which information about a person can be found on an Internet search engine, particularly Google”, is upon us. The participatory panopticon is coming, the age where any individual with a camera phone can take snapshot evidence of human existance at any moment of time, published on the internet for the rest of time.
The future will undoubtedly bring a whole new world, for there is no putting the genie back in the bottle on this one. The face of politics is rapidly changing. Today’s youth have access and ability to ask the Premier questions in an open forum on the www.facebook.com website, something never dreamed of in the past.
Citizens are gaining more access to information and they desire it. The people want to know more just as they want to contribute more. They want to ask questions, they want to know facts and they want a hand in the decision making process, even if it is a small one.
The future shall bring a revolution in the way we approach governance of ourselves. Participatory democracy is coming. The people have a voice and they are beginning to embrace it.