Celebrating Freedom with Twitter

Partial flag pictureBy Melody Pickle

Did you know that the British Communication Act forbids electronic communication “for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another , , ,”

When I reflect on my tweets or emails to my brother, I suppose he could have turned me in for the annoyance factor if we lived in Britain.  Good thing we are in America.

As Americans, I think we all know that we have Freedom of Speech, but I don’t think that we understand how much people in other countries are silenced or arrested and thrown in jail over tweeting their opinions.  This is no small thing.

In recent days, multiple news sources have credited social media with giving people strength to organize and protest issues in their countries.   Social media has given people a voice for their stories and strength to pursue their freedoms. This is no small thing.  It deserves our thought, our reflection, and our attention.

Dennis Baron, Professor of English and Linguistics at the University of Illinois, explored this issue in depth on his Web of Language blog.  He is the one who alerted me to this issue and got me thinking about how much we should value our freedom of speech, writing, tweeting, facebooking, emailing, etc.

When we are helping students learn to write well, we are helping teach students how to exercise one of their cherished freedoms.  This is no small thing.

So, I am going to celebrate July 4th, by tweeting a little extra as I sing the American Anthem, eat hot dogs, and help my son learn more about what freedom means in the land in which he lives.  I want him to have a voice because he, like all children and people, has stories to tell a voice that needs to be heard.  Maybe I will even teach him to tweet today . . . Because a tweet may be short, but, it is no small thing . . .


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