Transparency. We hear that word so much these days. It is real, it is a force, and it is changing our view on every subject matter in seconds. In the pre-internet days, we relied on word of mouth as well as what was shown in print media. As students, we read the history books and we accepted whatever we read at face value. But now the rules have changed, and with this comes more enlightenment than Voltaire ever counted on.
I was watching an episode of Sleepy Hollow yesterday, and someone said something to Ichabod Crane about freedom of the press. Crane, trapped in the year 2015, after magic put him in a dark sleep in the ground for over two centuries, responds with “I don’t think the forefathers counted on a 24-hour news cycle.” They certainly did not. No one could have predicted that.
A state Department comes up with an idea. They work feverishly for months to plan it. The day comes when they announce their agenda to the world. They put it on their website, send press releases to the major print media, and it is out there. Someone shares the Facebook post, it spreads, and the next thing you know some blogger is tearing it apart. Within hours, the blog post spreads. People don’t know what to think.
Meanwhile, the blogger found out about this agenda months before, and has been planting seeds for readers warning them about the latest doom and gloom coming from this Department. The pony express is dead. Long live the digital age.
I was wrong. I fully admit it, and I laugh about it to this day. Twenty years ago, at Thanksgiving dinner, I was having a discussion with my eldest brother about this new internet thing. He was telling me how it would change the world and open people up to things never before seen. I told him it would be an invasion of privacy and would take away from what we already had. I proved myself wrong on that nearly every day since.
We do everything on the Internet anymore, whether it is on a secured or unsecured network. We interface with people thousands of times a day, and don’t even realize it. We have become a nation glued to a screen, and we see the world. The key to all of this is understanding what is real and what isn’t. As a blogger, I focus on Delaware education for the most part. I see what goes on backstage curtain while the audience is enamored with the play unfolding before their eyes. I find out, and I publish. It’s that simple.
We have never had more power in America as we do right now. Our opinions and views on issues can be relayed to the world in an instant. We publish, we comment, we react and we punish. We tell people when they’re wrong or allow others to go back and forth while we sit back and watch the show.
On the flip side of this, we take away. We delete. I have seen, just in my fourteen months of blogging, quite a few bloggers come on the scene and disappear months later. All that hard work, all the research and care, gone with a push of a button. When things get to hot or the pressure starts bearing on us like a freight train barreling at us, some of us make it disappear, forever. But we always leave a thumbprint. Someone does a copy and paste, or a screen shot, or takes a picture on their phone. Nothing is buried forever anymore. If it is, nobody ever saw it.
This is our world, and until the great worm comes and unleashes a virus that destroys all, it will stay that way. Public policy is weaved into a web that spreads until nobody knows what to think of it anymore. The haves and have nots go at it until they are digitally black and blue in the face. Welcome to transparency. Chaos and order, both sides win.