February 1, 2016 by Student 24/7 Blog
There are days, when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or stub your toe while getting ready for the day, or just feel like the world is against you. It may be nothing; or something a good cup of coffee couldn’t solve, but instead of trying to calm down… you happen to find yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it.
Then it happens. Almost as quick as a blink, you see something on your page, you read a comment (or write a comment), post a thought or picture; and press enter. You forget to think twice, you didn’t check your spelling, you forgot to pay attention to the background, or you just let your emotions take the better of you. In that split second, your whole world could change. It could become the best thing since sliced bread, or have your world (and reputation) crashing down around you to a point where you will never be trusted by those close to you (and the world) ever again.
You may laugh, and think such things don’t happen, but they do. Social Media Law Expert, Emma Sadleir explains that “people have found themselves in trouble because of what they say on Social Media”. Just because you have the platforms to say whatever you want, and about whoever you want, doesn’t mean that you should. You need to remember, that such platforms are public; and yes… What you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law if needed.
Emma Sadleir gave a presentation to not only first year students, but seniors and staff alike on 25 and 26 January 2016 at the North-West University Vaal Triangle Campus (NWU Vaal), with her topic: The Retweets and Likes: Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media. While Sadleir made it clear that she did not want to scare anyone away from Social Media platforms, she did emphasize the importance of being careful of not only what you say on your own Social Media pages, but also what others share, post, or tag you in.
Why? Well did you know, that after posting on a platform, even just a second or two later, it has already been seen by at least one person? And did you know that this means, that what you have posted can already be used by the law if found to go against certain legal considerations? And don’t think that if you delete it within a few seconds after posting, that you are safe. It is already out there in the world; maybe someone took a screenshot from their phones of it, and you know that it has more than likely been backed up by the Social Media platform into their files (very X-Files like – Big Brother is always watching… and reading). As Sadleir states, “When something is digital (be it a post or a picture) it is available to everyone; and you don’t know what they will do with it”.
The crowd was listening, some taking notes, and others you could see were waiting until the presentation was done (while others not) to quickly have a look at the Facebook and Twitter pages to recheck what exactly they have on them. So; be careful with your Social Media pages, treat them with respect, and try not to post something that you may regret later. As Sadleir put it well, “The voice on Social Media is loud. Don’t think no one is listening”.
Keep a lookout for the next blog post, as we will go through some tips and information that Ms Sadleir gave to make sure your Social Media pages are something you can be proud of (and not get you into trouble years down the line).
Written by: Kinga Siejek (Chief Editor – Student 24/7)