At its best the Internet is a tool which fives the voiceless a voice. Traditional forms of media tend to put out a limited amount of views and opinions usually opinions which are connected to large groups of people or institutions with lots of money or influence. In the olden days if you really wanted to get your opinion out there for the masses to see or your art then you had to get through certain gates and past gate keepers.
I remember how exciting I thought it was when I first found blogs and forums and basically saw so many competing opinions available for me to read. I would look at IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) and find that fifty different people had reviewed a film, they were all there talking about it without anyone to get in the way, no editors, no real gate keepers.
My experience of school was one were it mostly consisted of teachers telling you there view of the world while dismissing any thoughts or opinion you might have. I guess this helped fuel in me a desire to be heard, a desire to get my opinion across. Admittedly this desire frequently got me in trouble as I cared more about being heard than the rules.
Life was very different once I got to college and university suddenly I was being taught how to think, they wanted me to form my own opinion and learn how to present it. It was amazing to suddenly find figures of authority not only listening to my opinion but congratulating me on how well I could present it. When I finished my education I began to miss this. There was only two things my friends and acquaintances had ever really considered me an expert in and they were video games and films.
So here I was with a large amount of knowledge about several niche interests and a desire to be heard, this is where the Internet came in to the equation. It was very liberating to be able to have your own place online to write about the things you care about to be able to put your opinion out there for others to find.
This freedom is one which has met some issues now. We used to be controlled by the fact we could only read pre-approved content, now many people are being controlled by something else they are being controlled by fear. So many employment contracts now feature clauses basically stating that you can be fired if you share an opinion online which they don't agree with. Its more than that though some employers will even look at the social media profiles of perspective employees digging through there history and there friends judging them based on a snapshot of there social life and opinions. If people become scared there opinion might be judged then they might simply decide not to post any opinions in case they are made to suffer for what they think or feel. Maybe the Internets golden age has been and gone I guess all we can do is wait and see.