Not even the cold weather in Mahikeng on Friday, 4 August could deter students, academics and guest speakers from sharing best practices on a hot topic: responsible social media usage.
Media law specialist Emma Sadleir, who has published a book called “Don’t film yourself having sex…and other legal advice for the age of social media”, had the audience captivated with practical examples of how irresponsible social media usage can ruin the lives and reputations of users.
Organised by the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Corporate Communication Department, the event, also attended by vice-chancellor Prof Dan Kgwadi, highlighted some of the social media challenges the management of the university faces, including defamation, crude language, serious threats and the like.
Prof Dan, Emma Sadleir and fellow presenters Amilia Moremogogo Malebane and Aobakwe Motsokwane urged those in attendance to desist from indulging in irresponsible social media usage.
The legal, disciplinary and reputational risks of social media came under the spotlight as speakers emphasised the need to observe restraint in exercising their right to freedom of expression.
The NWU is planning to host similar events to draw the attention of its academics, students and administrative staff to the benefits of using social media, as well as the potential dangers, including reputational risk, career-limiting repercussions and in extreme cases, dismissal or expulsion from the university.