Recently I performed a Google search on myself, a task which I would advise anyone with an internet footprint (someone who has even one account online of any kind) to do regularly. What came up was a cluster of somewhat incoherent and scattered information, from posts on different forums to random Facebook posts etc. But something in particular stood out - an old twitter account.
The twitter account was out of use for almost half a decade, it bore my name and had a picture that only I could have posted. As I read through the tweets I was hit by the bombastic nature of the words on the screen; one tweet wrote: “Republican senator Lindsey Graham said Gaddafi "needs to wake up every day wondering, 'Will this be my last?'.Who gave America the right?” Another trumpeted: “The U.N is the mouth-piece of the west! France in Ivory Coast and NATO in Libya! ...No U.N resolution on Yemen though!?” A third proclaimed: “Moammar Gadhafi should not have to leave is own country! The west should leave libya and the middle east alone.” As I read through the tweets, grammatical errors and all, I balked at the notion that I was so bombastic at such a young age - all of the tweets were written in March and April of 2011. I was only nineteen (19) at the time. And mind you, I was the same way in person - one always willing and able to give opinion after opinion.
In principle, my opinions have changed little, but the way in which I articulate them has drastically changed. For example, to say ‘the U.N is the mouth-piece of the West’ is somewhat of a stretch. Most of the so-called ‘powers’ of the U.N Security Council have at some point used the U.N to serve their own individual interests. Rather it could be said that the U.N is the mouth-piece of the powerful, unless reform is initiated.
The fact is that as the first generation of internet ‘crazy’, computer obsessed, ‘selfie’ loving twerps, we effectively get to see ourselves grow up. As a young man or woman, technologically savvy, one must guard his or her every utterance online. Once said or written online, be prepared to stand by it on every other forum, especially in person. It’s called RESPONSIBILITY.
Mikhail E.D. Byng
28th April 2016