Competent Social Speakers and Their Potential Influence

This week I was reading a part of the book “The Social Media Reader” which encouraged me to think more about three interesting things: “former audience”, social speakers, and “democracy and journalism”.

Jay Rosen, the author of the article “The People Formerly Known as the Audience” writes that influence of the traditional press and media has decreased because people now speak on the Internet, influencing digital content. However, our discussion in the class, Rhetoric 351, showed that authorities have been changing from authoritative and reliable sources to ordinary people’s opinions. Therefore, it is harder to find reliable information because of too many speakers. I partially agree with the author and with the results of our class discussion because I believe that competent social speakers can break stereotypes, reliability of certain sources which are created to mislead people, and promote new ideas. I would like to emphasize the word “competent” which means that people post and comment things of which they have certain knowledge and experience. However, the meaning of being a social speaker can be even broader.

I think that the understanding of democracy in the digital and political world could extend and explain what means to be a competent social speaker. Democracy means a lot of staff, but I would emphasize its understanding of freedom to speak. When many people hear the phrase “freedom of speech”, they think that they can write, post, and speak what they want. Yes, it is true. However, this also means that we, speakers, should express our opinions according to moral and ethical norms and follow the law. I like what Anderson, the author of the article “From Indymedia to Demand Media”, says about democracy, “A well-functioning democracy calls for a vibrant clash of democratic political position” (P. 91). This means that democracy will be effective if people have own positions and there is not very much emphasis on consensus. I think if a person has a position, he/she has an opinion based on some knowledge and/or experience. Consequently, follow norms and rules and have your own position to speak about. This requires arena to speak at.

However, the problem people faced with before was a lack of arenas for public speaking. The former system of communication was not effective because a person who had rational ideas and who didn’t have access to the traditional media or the government had very low chances to be listened and heard. However, now people who are competent enough to make judgments, conclusions, analysis, and solutions for the main political, social, economic, environmental, and daily issues can make a difference using the opportunities of new digital technologies.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and other tools help us to be active competent speakers. Therefore, competent social speakers who use the technologies effectively may break stereotypes, old-fashioned ways of doing things, influence public and government decisions, and provide better solutions.

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