It’s clear from this and many more sharp-edged manifestations—such as Tahrir Square and Occupy Wall Street—that Twitter and its online siblings do not merely reflect the news: they also create it.
Which is why many governmental attempts are being made, globally, to curb, control, and curtail. The US’s proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, was draconian. Canada’s proposed Bill C30 would have permitted governmental e-snooping without a warrant. Both aroused so much online ire that their proposers are currently re-thinking. But ordinary folks should not have to choose between theft and Big Brother: surely the hive mind is creative enough to write its own fair rules, ones that protect both creators’ rights and consumer privileges. If it doesn’t write fair rules and enforce them itself, someone, sooner or later, will write unfair rules for it.
And we’ll all be less free if that happens. For the e-forest is not a street, nor is it a meadow. It is not yet tame. It’s still the merry wild greenwood, where—as in the plays of Shakespeare—enchantments may happen. True, there are sometimes trolls: that’s what makes the woods wild.