February 2, 2016 by Student 24/7 Blog
On 25 and 26 January, Ms Emma Sadleir, a Social Media Law Expert, visited the North-West University Vaal Triangle Campus (NWU Vaal) to present: The Retweets and Likes of Life: Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media. While part of the first year Orientation Programme, all staff and students of the NWU Vaal were invited to join.
The presentation was one that made all who attended think twice about how and what they post on Social Media platforms, but also what others post that may be on their Social media platforms. Sadleir stated that the point was not to scare people away from using Social Media, but rather to be more aware of what it actually means in a more legal setting.
An interesting activity Sadleir brought up, was for each person to imagine a big billboard in a busy place. Now to imagine that a photo of themselves, with their name and contact details was on the billboard… as well as a comment that they were planning on posting on Social Media. How would this make you feel? For so many people to see what you write, not caring about the legal repercussions? If you wouldn’t want it on a billboard, then why would you let it exist in a digital platform? Social Media gives people a chance (and the power) to have their opinions and thoughts heard quicker, and to a wider audience than even just what was possible ten years ago. But many forget, that with such power, comes great responsibility and accountability.
Employers now-a-days may not only look at your CV to see if you are right for a position, but may also click on Google, type in your name, and find your whole digital life. From here, they may see if you are the type of person who will be a benefit or hindrance to their company. With how quickly Social Media has changed they way we express ourselves, it is also important to remember that what goes on the internet, stays on the internet. The delete button is no longer as efficient as it used to be, with the possibility of screenshots, sharing, retweeting, and tagging. So not only do you have to be careful what you may have written or posted on a page, but what may be found on your page that someone else may have written or posted. In other words? Take control back of what is on your Social Media pages!
Sadleir explained that there are numerous legal considerations that can be used against you or for you when dealing with a case that includes Social Media content. They include:
- Hate Speech
- Intellectual Property
- Sexual Offenses
- Crimen Iniuria
- Insider Trading
- Protection from Harassment Act
- Codes of Conduct
So what can you do? Sadleir explained a few tips to try:
- Know the policies and guidelines of Social Media of where you study and where you work.
- Understand the Code of Conduct of the North-West University.
- Be more responsible of your account – not just what you post, but what can be found on your timeline from others.
- You have the power to DELETE what you don’t agree with!
- Interrogate things you want to share… How true are they?
- Treat yourself like a celebrity – be careful what other people post about you, or with you.
- Goggle yourself – see what can be found about you – you never know if a fake account may have been started.
- Keep track of all accounts – find websites, that will help to make sure accounts you unsubscribe to actually delete you from their records.
- Create a Google alert for your name – this way you can be notified whenever someone has published something with or about you.
- Look after your reputation!
- Lastly – Always remember… What you put online now… will still be there in 5 years…