Don’t judge a voice by its medium

Phil Hansen pours his heart and soul into the Internet. He reveals his innermost thoughts and extraordinary talent as a visual artist through his Web site,

Hansen’s work has ranged from a likeness of Jimi Hendrix constructed with matches to a picture of President George W. Bush made from the names of Iraq war causalities.

He could seclude his work in a few galleries or in his studio. Instead, he has the opportunity to share his creations with a worldwide audience in cyberspace.

Hansen is one of the many young people who have positively taken advantage of the outlet of new media. In a world of limitless technology, writers, artists and musicians are emerging with as little means as an Internet page and a dream.

Oftentimes, our generation is viewed as taking technology for granted and rarely being able to live without it. Older generations believe we use technology selfishly and foolishly without realizing what resources we have at our fingertips.

They call us the private generation, assuming that because we can use technology to hide from the world, we do.

Among Facebook horror stories and illegal downloading, it is easy for them to forget that multimedia has such positive potential.

People who may never get the chance to step inside an art gallery may view Hansen’s artwork without leaving their living rooms. Young artists can start bands in their garages and become famous just by posting music on Artists can make, produce and promote their work without paying a middleman or conforming to the status quo.

We are not a generation whose access to technology has made us stagnant. We have continuously found ways to recreate self-expression.

Often, our blogs are not just vain attempts to bore the world with our problems — they are new forms of poetry and prose for our peers to see.

Look no further than the phenomenon of “Post Secret.” The displays anonymous postcards made by those who need an artistic outlet but do not want to be identified. The postcards share secret hopes, regrets and problems with only two requirements — that the secrets be honest and never shared with anyone before. Contributors can say what they never dared to say outloud, without fear of judgment or retribution.

The Web site accompanies a book series with the same theme and has helped the book get a wide following. The site is updated every Sunday to help viewers connect to the lives of others through new posts.

Our peers often appear disconnected and uncaring, but our use of new media proves that we are anything but self-righteous.

We want others to see the artwork we create or hear the songs we sing, even if we don’t make any money by posting Internet galleries or MySpace samples. We use Web sites to hear about each other’s problems and offer solidarity and advice.

We want people from all social classes and income levels to have access to our work. We have a never-ending desire to share our knowledge.

We live in a disjointed world, and there’s no denying that part of that comes from the ever increasing availability of technology. But for every person who hides in the tangle of wires and servers, there is someone else using it as a stepping stool, a soapbox or a shoulder.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.