A Response to Umberto Eco

I just saw something that Umberto Eco, a writer I admire greatly, wrote on Twitter and, while I must admit that what he wrote was true, I still see things a bit differently.
He wrote “Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community. They they were quickly silenced, but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It’s the invasion of the idiots.”
First, social media has not so much given people the right to speak, which, theoretically, we’ve always had, as the opportunity to speak. In that, I must say, I am among that legion of idiots. It has given me a platform, this blog, accounts on Twitter and Facebook, and the several political and poetry groups I belong to. Sorry, Mr. Eco, that I don’t have a Nobel.
Admittedly, there are many idiots who have been given an equal platform. There are many idiots in the world. There are also many introverts, who now have a platform where they can’t be talked over, homebodies who can now talk to people all over the world, and political extremists of every stripe, the odd one of whom here and there might just have a valid point.
It has led to more communication, not less. Even if a lot of the conversation is banal, and quite a bit downright offensive, isn’t that a small price to pay for having this conversation, getting all this out in the open? It almost sounds as if Eco is advocating censorship, and I’m definitely against that.


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