Swearingen Communications Insights

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Digital Media: Liberty and Freedom of Speech Unleashed

Happy July, and happy birthday America! As we celebrate the brilliant minds that formed our nation, the outspoken Founding Father, Patrick Henry, comes to mind. Henry was the first among his peers to call for revolution. The same fiery patriot who proclaimed, “. . .give me liberty, or give me death!” also championed the Bill of Rights. For more than 200 years, we’ve been guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and many other cherished liberties.

Fast forward from the spring of 1775 to July 2011. Thanks to advances in technology, we no longer have to gather on the town square before taking our message to the street. We can peacefully “assemble” on blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a mushrooming array of virtual platforms. We can exchange, catalog, curate, facilitate, and distribute billions of bits of information in mere seconds. Digital Media is empowering the freedoms we hold dear like never before.

I have to believe that Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and many others would relish this democratization of communication.

Perhaps one of the best ways we can honor these liberties is to respect them. To use them wisely, both online and off. How do you think our predecessors would have leveraged today’s digital capabilities?