With freedom comes responsibility

The first amendment is something that college students should be very familiar with.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

You may not have had to recite it word for word in your high school government class like me, but maybe you’ve heard it mentioned while watching crimes shows, listening to political speeches or maybe even had it used against you in an argument.

“I have freedom of speech, so I can say whatever I want! Look it up!”

Have you heard that argument before? If so, you’re not the only one.

This amendment protects our freedom to express ourselves, but sometimes it can be called into question when people find someone else pushing into that gray area of what’s okay to say and what’s just not or shouldn’t be.

@NKUHookups, @NKUConfessions, @NKUCrushes and @NKUProbs are popular Twitter pages followed and talked about fairly often on our campus. Whether it’s for @NKUProbs’ relatable statements of the arctic wind tunnel that is NKU’s campus, or the woes of morning traffic making everyone late for their first class, these Twitter accounts represent our NKU community in an indirect way.

Heck, the Twitter handles clearly define the accounts as being NKU associated regardless of the fact that they are not administration pages.

So, does that make everything said on these accounts a representation of our NKU community as a majority, or should it be taken with a grain of salt as just a silly Twitter account pushing tweets to the interests of our community?

I find this to be a tough question to answer and I’m sure I’m not alone on that.

While I admit I follow them for purely entertainment purposes, I don’t see it as supporting these accounts as truth-tellers or as an NKU voice, but in a way, one might say that I am.

Here’s my problem with that.

I don’t support everything or hardly anything that is said on these accounts and I don’t want my name on the followers list to be a validation of support and agreement. There are often vulgar and downright nasty things said from behind their keyboards and to be quite frank, it’s really not okay.

As an NKU community, our image is important in more ways than one. If there is one person or a handful of people out there trying to break down that image, with the opinions and dark thoughts of a few, that can have a big effect on our community.

I sure as heck don’t want people to think that I’m a fan of marijuana which could feasibly be gathered by the amount of posting about it that is done on @NKUHookups.

From complaining about common harmless NKU problems to supporting new NKU developments, these accounts can bring our community together, but it can also bring us apart even more.

I don’t think it’s okay to sit behind a computer screen with the name NKU attached to it and drag someone’s name through the mud just for fun.

Don’t get me wrong. I have found a positive tweet here and there in each account that is as innocent as the thought itself, however, for the most part I haven’t found much worth using the NKU name.

And I know what you’re thinking, but I’m really not naive.

I know that sex, drugs and gossip sells and attracts. The evidence is all around us in magazine headlines, TV shows and internet histories across the country. So I understand why these accounts are posting what they do; it makes people want to read it and click that follow button!

However, for all of the reasons I’ve listed and expressed, I plan to unfollow these accounts. Not because I think that by following them they therefore represent my opinions, but because I don’t want to support an account that preys on people from the anonymity of a Twitter account.

Whether you choose to follow them or not, it’s up to you, but just remember that just because we all have freedom of speech, there are times when this freedom can cause more harm than good.

Sometimes the freedom of speech is more about knowing when to speak or not speak. It’s about using our right, responsibly. Just because you have a right, doesn’t mean you have to exploit it for what it’s worth. At least that’s my opinion, but as stated earlier, you’re entirely entitled to your own.