Social Media as Today’s “Safety Valve” of Expression

Barrett raises a good point in her article about social media and how we tend to feel more comfortable articulating negative thoughts or making nasty comments on these sites instead of in person.

However, I think that it’s really important to keep in mind that social media exists as a sort of forum for personal expression. I totally agree that everyone should just suck it up and tell someone in person if they have a problem with them instead of hiding behind a computer screen, but I also think that it’s okay to express discontent or disagreement with a viewpoint or someone else’s comment on social media.

Our country was founded on the basis of freedom of expression, as evidenced by the first amendment of the constitution. And, as I learned in my Mass Communication Law class, Thomas Emerson has argued that this freedom of expression can act as a “safety valve,” giving us the ability to express our feelings and let out steam in a healthy way instead of resorting to violence later because of pent up frustration and internal aggression. You can read more about that idea on either of these two websites: or

So while leaving a comment that shoots down someone’s ideas isn’t exactly nice, as long as it’s only an opinion and isn’t damaging or threatening to another person, I think that it should be allowed. Social media in this case serves as another forum for discussion, to enable people to think about and develop and encourage yet also criticize their ideas to make them more well-rounded and viable.  


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