If social media weren’t so fun, I would ignore it altogether. However, even ignoring can be hard to do. If you watch the news, anchors remind you to tweet in stories, reactions, pictures, etc. Commercials now show links to the company’s Facebook page. Almost every website, no matter the content, has “Share” buttons linked to several social media sites. Don’t believe me? Scroll down the page, I have them right there.
I know I’ve talked about being burnt out on social media, but it really does make me sick sometimes to see how it permeates EVERYTHING. Social media really has changed how we interact as a society. A big problem with this is that laws and courts don’t change as quickly as social media does.
We already have examples of how laws and courts have tried to handle social media in the past. Cyber-bullying was acknowledged as a crime. “Sexting” is now in the dictionary, and depending on the participants, it can get a lot of people into a lot trouble. Posting pictures of alcohol and drug use is a huge problem for underage college students (amazing this is still a problem when this article was published five years ago).
The current issue here in Missouri is a law preventing teachers from communicating with students privately via social network sites. Commonly referred to as the “Facebook law,” many people interpret this law as banning teachers from “friending” their students on the popular site. Though the Missouri Senate started the process to repeal this law (after a judge blocked it from taking effect), the state has still mandated that school districts each set their own social media policy.
In my experience, teachers don’t seek out these Facebook “friendships.” Most often, teachers refuse to “add” students until after the students graduate. Is this policy really necessary? From a legal standpoint, yes, probably. If anything were to happen (being very vague here) due to any Facebook activity, it is very likely the school could be liable, or at least put in a bad light.
Even though the law has been blocked (citing that it violates freedom of speech), I understand the benefits for districts setting policies about social media behavior. It’s the same thing with Facebook and the admissions process/companies. It’s your right to post what you want on Facebook, but it’s also the institution’s right to exclude you from its ranks because of it.