One of the wonders of social media in the digital age is the way that it puts publishing power in the hands of the people. Rather than the sanitized, PR-flack-approved images of the past, networks like Twitter and Instagram are filled with raw and unfiltered posts from influential celebrities and thought leaders.
The famous are allowed to post these images because social media — and the internet at large, really — grants posting power to anyone, sidestepping publicity machines of the past. There is no need to seek approval from the mainstream press, which used to be the gatekeeper of what ideas were acceptable or permissible, but fills that role no longer.
Of course, this has led to a bit of a crisis. What is the worth of a press devoted to covering the powerful when the powerful themselves no longer need the press to spread their message? The president can announce policy in a tweet; a Hollywood power couple can announce their conscious uncoupling on a blog. How does access journalism work in an age when the internet grants access to anyone?
These are questions we continue to struggle with as the internet reshapes not only our daily lives, but also how we separate fact from fiction, and what is important from what is frivolous. We don’t have all the answers, but at least now we know some of the questions to ask.
Also, the web lets us see Sir Anthony Hopkins, Oscar winner, do … whatever this is.