Want a backstage pass to the world? If you do and you're not on social media yet, you should be.

More and more, we are seeing certain walls falling and getting a closer look at what really goes on behind closed doors, thanks to social media. Sometimes, it ain't pretty.


It can be as innocuous, in the grand scheme of things, as getting a peek inside your favorite sports team's locker room, or even getting the unfiltered version of powerful elected leaders.

If you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan (and I know there are more than a few of you out there in Carroll County), then you've spent most of the week listening to the talking heads drone on and on about star wide receiver Antonio Brown's use of Facebook Live to stream Coach Mike Tomlin's PG-13 post-game comments about the New England Patriots, whom they'll play this evening in the AFC championship. There was much angst about how this sort of behavior is a distraction and how the team provided bulletin board material for their opponent (not to mention the irony of team captains insisting the players "lay low" on social media this week).

Personally, I found the live stream kind of refreshing. It was fascinating to get a raw peek at what's really said in an NFL locker room after a big victory. Even when NFL Films gets "behind the scenes" and into the locker room for its various programs and documentaries, everything seems so sanitized, for obvious reasons.

Not to mention, professional sports exist for entertainment purposes. The players, coaches, owners and particularly the executives — especially in the National Football League — will try to convince you otherwise with very buttoned-up, holier-than-thou responses when a player violates the so-called "sanctity" of the locker room and team privacy, yet the goal is to entertain (and make money in doing so). Getting a live, behind-the-scenes look-in was just that: entertaining.

Consider, too, that the advent of social media is also giving us a backstage pass into the White House for at least the next four years. For all the grief that our new President Donald Trump will take for his late-night or early-morning (depending on your perspective) tweeting, it's also incredibly uncommon access to the leader of the free world's unfiltered thoughts.

Just think about that for a second. Whether or not you agree with the message, you have to respect someone in that high of a position continuing to put himself out there. Yes, one can make the case that Trump's tweets are self-serving and are designed to ignite his base. What politician doesn't do that in some, way, shape or form? They also open him up to immense criticism, some of which is certainly deserved.

Since November, there had been some debate about whether Twitter should ban Trump because of some tweets that, it could be argued, violated the platform's terms of service by inciting harassment. Legally, Twitter as a business is free to suspend or shut down the account of whomever it wishes. Even for the president of the United States, or president-elect at the time, the First Amendment has limits.

Ben Wizner, a free speech expert at the American Civil Liberties Union, argued to The New York Times that the world would be worse off if Trump were banned from the social media outlet. "[W]e're all learning very important things about Trump from the way that he behaves through this unfiltered medium, so our discourse and our democracy would not benefit from removing that outlet for Trump, so that the only version of him we saw was one that was approved by his handlers."

Certainly, the ACLU isn't exactly a fan of Trump, but Wizner's point that our discourse and democracy is actually improved by this is true. Agree or disagree with what the president puts out on social media, but it is an unfiltered — at least it has been — version of the country's leader. It allows us, the American people — whom Trump touted in his inauguration speech Friday that the county will be returned to under his leadership — to hold him accountable.

Now that he's been sworn in as president, whether Trump's tweets stay as raw and unfiltered on social media as they have been prior to and immediately after the election remains to be seen. I, for one, hope that they do. If so, we're about to be treated to an unfettered, behind-the-scenes look at the presidency that we've never had before.

Wayne Carter is the editor of the Carroll County Times. Reach him at wayne.carter@carrollcountytimes.com.