My Space or Our Space?
A discussion about free speech blossomed in class today after a post on my class's weblog dealt with the issue in relation to myspace.com. Students are finally realizing that administrators across the country are accessing myspace.com to check the activities of students. However, I believe that most only do so when they have been tipped off about something.
But my students, almost all of them, felt that, one, it is wrong for administrators to do such a thing, and two, if an administrator contacted myspace.com to have a site removed because of harrassing statements or vicious untruths, it was a violation of free speech.
I don't know that my students fully understood that, along with our freedom of speech is the responsibility to be stewards of that speech. That, just because you can say it, doesn't mean you should. And sometimes, when you utilize your free speech, you might hear something back in return that you aren't all that interested in hearing.
Ultimately, I struggled to convey to my students that, while the site is called MYspace.com, it really isn't theirs. Because once they publish it to the world wide web, it really is public space. So, yes, if an adminstrator, college admissions officer, or anyone else interested wanted to view their site, it really is within that individuals right to read public material. They just don't get that concept.