A version of this article first appeared in Jane Binnion’s column in the Lancaster Guardian
We are, without a doubt in interesting times when it comes to communication and sharing of news.
It has been a pretty varied and exciting week in here at JaneBinnion.com. I started the week working with an employment solicitor, to plan a workshop on social media and employment law and realised just how much recruiters could be stomping on thin ice if they are influenced by a candidates social media profile without being transparent about that. What is it that they are looking for? And who decides what is ok and what is a deal breaker?
Then more issues came up of people posting contentious information and pictures of others without their permission, including ‘revenge porn’, which subsequently led to Radio 4 calling me to discuss the new trend of putting a social media clause in pre – nuptial agreements. So whilst planning their wedding, the happy couple draw up a contract agreeing that they will not share certain things about the other one on social media, and naked photos in particular seems to be the big issue here. This is probably a good plan actually as some of the things that get posted as a result of hurt and anger in the heat of the moment , are pretty cringe worthy. I’ve never really felt comfortable being a spectator of someone else’s domestic squabbles.
On top of all that the police have announced that 50% of complaint calls that come in concern social media bullying or antisocial behavior and they are training up around 6,000 officers to deal specifically with on-line offences.
It seems to me we’re in very interesting times of change and we are still feeling our way through it all. We now (mostly) all have a voice, which is great, but because we don’t understand the tools we haven’t learnt all the rules yet. It sometimes feels like giving a hammer to a toddler – a very useful tool, but we had better expect a lot of damage initially.
There will always be people that bully and are offensive for their own reasons, but overall the rest of us are pretty clear what is ok to say and what isn’t. The problem is that we don’t always think about the consequences before we post things that concern other people.
A little while ago a teacher got sacked after being tagged in a photograph with a drink in her hand that had been taken at a party. It wasn’t a bad photo at all and the poor woman had no idea it had even been posted on Facebook. Similar things are happening with many well intentioned posts.
If we can train ourselves to stop and think “Who will see this?” and not share pictures of other people without permission – just in case.
I grew up with the saying, “it’s not my news to share”. I think that’s possibly a good rule for social media. If someone wants people to know their news, they will tell them themselves.
Let’s stay safe out there Jane x
Do you have any experience of the above? Feel free to leave a comment below. I always read them and reply.