The recent scandal involving Sony and the hacking of their system which led to the publication of thousands of private e-mails and information to be released to the public has been the number one topic in America. Since the initial hack had occurred on November 24th, "Sony" has been trending on Twitter to this day. This means that for approximately 26 days, the number one thing being talked about has been this terrible scandal of a mass invasion of privacy and freedom. My initial reaction to these unfortunate circumstances was to leer and judge the employees of Sony who, in my mind, were dumb enough to send ill-mannered, unprofessional, and in some cases, racist e-mails from a company setting. After learning more about the reality of the situation, my views have changed.
Living in the year 2014, which is now creeping up on 2015, I as a 21 year old woman understand that nothing in this world is private. We live in a world powered by our electronics which gave birth to and facilitates mass media. Because we are so advanced in the field of technology, the rate that information is supplied to the masses has multiplied tenfold. The dangers this produces for this generation as well as generations to come are limitless. We are a part of a society that is capable of making anything they select go viral and trend for whatever purpose they choose. This capability that we possess can be used for good but, as we see throughout the history of this technological era, we as cynical human beings use it for evil.
The main problem with today's high-speed shifts on what's trending and what's not is the briefness of it all. Within the last few months, I can map out all of the short-lived important and news-worthy trends that took the internet by storm. Here is a timeline of, in my opinion, the past five trends that took over the internet starting with the Ebola outbreak in America and ending with Sony Pictures pulling the film "The Interview" from being released to the public due to possible terrorist threats on theaters:
According to my timeline that I have put together through my personal opinion on what has been at the forefront of news, you can truly see how abruptly these stories of importance came and went. This is because the mediums that we have today for mass communication find these stories that will grab our easily apprehended attention and indoctrinate us into thinking that these things will honestly effect us in our every day lives.
Don't get me wrong, these events do matter, just not as much as the news leads us to believe. The Ebola hype by the news is what troubled me the most. Yes, American's contracting this terrible virus was alarming, but it wasn't something that everyone should be fearing at all times when outside of their homes. Here is a video of Russell Howard mocking the news coverage of the pandemic in the United States while comparing it to the coverage in the United Kingdom:
The comparison is shocking. We as American citizens need to be aware of the propagandizing that our mass media outlets are committing on an every day basis. We also need to be aware that nothing in this digital age is private and we must learn from the mistakes of the unlucky Sony employees. If you write something in an e-mail or text, be aware that there is a possibility that the entire world may see it one day.
Yes, our technology sets our nation and generation apart from any other in history, but it is up to us to choose how we will use this terrifying new power.