Editorial: Social media comes with great power and great responsibility

Social media is expanding every day. Breaking news, pictures and insight into one’s life can be shared all around the world on websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

While it is truly amazing how useful some of these websites and applications can be, they can also be detrimental if used incorrectly.

Social media has become a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows a pathway to freedom of speech, allowing one to get their voice and opinion across to many different people. On the other hand, say the wrong thing on Twitter or share the wrong video on Facebook and you’ll find yourself catching hell.

For instance, in a recent rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, two high school football stars were charged with raping an intoxicated 16-year-old girl. The two teenagers shared pictures and sent texts about what took place, and after those surfaced around the web, the prosecution was able to use them to find the two guilty.

Additionally, those who simply shared the pictures through social media could also be in danger of distributing child pornography, as the girl was a minor.

There is no denying the impact of social media and what it can be used for. Everything someone publishes can have a good or bad meaning.

In another incident, an Englishman named Paul Chambers was frustrated that the airport he was slated to fly out of was closed due to inclimate weather. He jokingly Tweeted that if the airport didn’t get their stuff together, he was going to blow the place sky-high. The following day Chambers was arrested by anti-terror police and was put on trial. Chambers eventually won his appeal in court.

This isn’t a plea to stop using social media or a message intended to scare those who use social media. Everyone has their freedom of speech and through social media that speech can be heard.

However, thought and consideration need to be used when posting on these sites. Just like every action you make, there is a positive and negative outcome.

If you’re self-conscious about what you post, then social media is a limitless channel to the rest of the world.

But if you don’t think before you Tweet, it will burn you in the end.