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To tweet or not to tweet?
IIM Ahmedabad has taken a bold step by inviting the two Mumbai college students, who had made a 'controversial' statement after Bal Thackeray's demise, and were subsequently arrested, by inviting them for a talk. After the arrest, the Supreme Court made an intervention, and the Government retracted by having a re-look at the IT Act.

THE IT minister recently said that there has been an abuse of freedom of speech on social networking websites. The question remains: what is the prime objective of such websites?

Some say it is networking, others feel that it is reconnecting with old friends, with whom one has lost touch. Others use them for a parallel 'journalism' loosely put, where photographs, reports of events etc. are uploaded. Many others use them to uphold 'causes' garnering public support or signatures for what they think are justifiable causes. Writers and litterateurs use them to promote creative writing, and to share their events and writing. Academics use them to promote their journals, and invite authors to write. So do editors of magazines and literary journals. Some use them to express opinions on political and social happenings.

In the process, the aim of these websites is not specific, nor avowed. They become a mass of information, ideas, and titbits from day to day lives affecting personal lives. People also use them to share lighter moments like humour, mood swings or even unhapiness! For example, a study in the UK showed that young people tend to share their more depressing moments on such websites. Another study in the same country, revealed that Facebook discovered an astonishing generation of young poets, set apart from the established literati.

The question is: what to write and how to write without defamation and hurting sensibilities?

This becomes difficult, if not complex when controversial events take place, or when a social revolution as in Egypt or Libya, is in the offing. So such networking websites perhaps cannot be divorced from some kind of activism, and online activism is becoming popular to mould and gauge opinion. It is also used to gather support from intellectuals, where a Mallika Sarabhai or a Teesta Setalwad, are active, or are used as a vehicle by supporters who think on similar lines. So yahoo groups are formed and become popular, and members of these groups also access Facebook and micro blogging websites such as Twitter. There is thus an interplay of such websites, networked into broad argumentative forces, or platforms for disseminating ideas and information.

I think we are living in a technological world crafted by speed, new ideas, information, activism, academics, literature, photo journalism or for that matter journalism. That is the reason for the popularity of community journalism, and these websites have also become such networking sites - expressions of community journalism.

It will be very difficult to combat them, but yes if laws are invoked, they must be universal.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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