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On the Social Web, Do Words Typed Mean as Much as Words Spoken?
By: Christine Geraci
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Social networks are about to become more than homes for heated debates about the Trayvon Martin case: The characters both Martin and George Zimmerman typed into their social media accounts could be submitted as evidence of their true moral characters —and the perceived flaws within. 
 
Benjamin Crump, the Martin family's attorney, plans to cite a MySpace account Zimmerman maintained in 2005 as evidence that Zimmerman had an established racial profiling habit. The MySpace page contains disparaging remarks about Mexicans that Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, acknowledges his client wrote.
 
At the same time, the public court of opinion is using social media to point out that should it be OK to discuss Zimmerman's MySpace page, it should also be OK to discuss the late Trayvon Martin's Twitter feed, which contained profane lyrics from rap songs, retweets of dirty jokes and a picture of Martin wearing gold-plated teeth and looking significantly older than other photos that have circulated through the media would suggest. 
 
One quote from Crump in the article linked above really gave me pause:
 
"It's one thing to think something like that, but to type it?" Crump said of the remarks on the MySpace page. "You really gotta be racist. You really have to have ill will and malice."
 
I'm very intrigued by this idea, that words typed mean more than words said — particularly in such a notorious criminal case. 
 
In this day and age, where people communicate online just as frequently — if not more so — than they do in person, do typed words in the social space hold just as much weight as words typed on paper?
 
People and opinions change with age and experience. Is it fair to cite online writings from a person's past as evidence of a person's moral fortitude, or lack thereof? Just like people say things they regret, isn't it also plausible to type statements they will come to regret as well?
 
Personally, at this point in time, I don't know. I tend to agree with Crump's statement. I believe that a person who types their opinions on the Internet is OK with them living there forever. 
 
But I also know that many people do not think about that before they type. Kind of like when people don't think before they speak.
 
So, I'd like to ask you: Do you think there will come a day when words typed digitally will hold the same worth as words announced in the open?

Read more here.


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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