In this essay I shall compare and contrast the different types of online bravery, which mostly includes the acts of bravery that are genuine and those that are simply a way of getting more publicity. I intend to show that there is a difference between the two.
Being controversial for attention is childish
Some people are brave online by posting things that they know is going to get them in trouble but they do it for the greater good. This sort of thing is marred by the online producer that creates controversy in order to get more attention.
Niccolo Machiavelli said that if you want attention then you publicly attack a person of status without leaving yourself open to attack. He meant attack their status and what that person stands for as oppose to physically attacking a person. This is now an old trick but it is still used. People cause controversy and attack people needlessly just to become more popular as a result. This is not a form of bravery.
The TV show and online favorite South Park will attack public figures and has become quite famous for it. However, it does seem that when it comes to creativity and comedy that it is okay to attack people of status. South Park does it to make people laugh and not necessarily to increase their ratings. They are already quite well known for the fact that they are not afraid to poke fun at anyone. This sort of feeling is also echoed with another online favorite called Family Guy (also on TV), and they too are brave for being willing to take a swipe at subjects and people who most others are too scared to attack.
It would be a very different story if Family Guy or South Park were simply attacking public figures for ratings. If they were doing it to attract people to their content then they are no better than the whack-job who posts racist things about the pope.
Making a stand against corporate mistakes will help us all
They make mistakes all the time such as the current YouTube problem where a bunch of copyright protecting programs have flagged and removed content from YouTube because of copyright infringement. There are actually few laws that consider posting videos on social media a bad thing because they make no direct income, but now companies want to take that data back. They have a right to their copyrights, but should they be allowed to dictate what people post on their social media profiles? At what point will it end? Will people have to create their own videos and images for every post on social media? The people who stand up and talk about this online are brave.
A person trying to get attention with controversy is bad. A person poking fun whilst using controversy is okay so long as it is actually funny and done for entertainment value only. We all should be brave online and stand up to those who would censor the Internet.