New media has opened many doors, created many new opportunities, and allowed an infinite number of people to receive live news feeds via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. New media has also blurred the lines of personal and public information. Case in point, “Spanking Judge” William Adams is taped by his 16 year old daughter Hilary, spanking her for illegally downloading music and games from the internet (Heinz, 2011). Seven years later, when Judge Adams attempts to confiscate his daughter’s Mercedes after she was misbehaving, Hilary posts the video on YouTube to teach her father a lesson (Heinz). Although his daughter has since stated that she regrets posting the video, the damage that has been done to her family is irreversible (Heinz). Considering examples such as this the question arises as to the creditworthiness of new media versus traditional media sources.
Despite Judge Adams remorse over his actions and his apology to his daughter, he has been publically rebuked and humiliated. Posting video content via YouTube is a painless and easy process, one that took little effort for Hilary Adams a few clicks and her families private life became public knowledge internationally. Although abuse should never be tolerated, social media sites transparency prevent individuals from being able to recover from bad choices. These media sites can publically replay situations that were meant to remain in private, ones that would never have been witnessed otherwise. “The highly decentralized nature of the Internet makes it tempting for us to think that the social activity in cyberspace is totally autonomous, free from the kinds of conventions that guide the production of traditional media forms” (Croteau, Hoynes, & Milan, 2012, p. 148). As public viewers, the lines between when we should watch and when we should not are often crossed due to the availability of news on social media sites such as YouTube (Cloud, 2011). Ironically in the spanking situation, Hilary Adams requested via another media site, Twitter, that people stop “making fun of and hurting her father” over the video she posted on YouTube (Cloud, p. 62).
YouTube videos are posted by individuals wanting to share something with the world. This site can be used for documenting breaking news such as the hurricanes in Japan, or precious moments, such as the example of a father and his young daughter singing together (YouTube, 2011). Unfortunately, sites such as YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter can easily be used as public smear campaigns by individuals seeking to harm others as the Adams incident and bullying incidents have pointed out. Never before has news traveled so fast and impacted citizen’s lives as deeply over traditional media methods. These social media sites also do not follow the rules or regulations that traditional media outlets follow.
Even though there may be a sense of standards of behavior by website creators and contributors, there is no accreditation...