I love WordPress and some time a bit of gold dust drifts across the screen when logged into one of my blogs. This video clip from the WordCamp Melbourne featuring Alex Farrar – who specialises in media and entertainment law, called ‘The Law of Twitter’ – is just such a bit of metaWisdom.
If you live in South Africa where we don’t often hold back on our opinions and if you are involved in social media in any way, shape or form (and outspoken like I am!) this is a must-watch:
I note that this talk was given in 2011 and there may very well be some changes, for instance the understanding of the legal professional in terms of Twitter. Indeed, there has been more development in Twitter, and our understanding of tweets as ”publication” online – with implications related to factual reporting. Blue Magnet Digital Solutions writes on their site that our social media comments could have several legal implications. Agreed. Slowly, we (and lawyers for that matter) become aware of some important legal applications related to rights and responsibilities in the Twitterverse. One is this fact:
If you would not create a billboard and post your opinion about someone onto it in fear of possible defamation claims against you, then do not tweet it! It amounts to the same and could indeed get you in trouble. We all remain individually responsible for what we tweet.
There has been some early-adopters of social media and twitter, like @PaulJacobson of @WebTechLaw or @EmmaSadleir who appeared on Carte Blanche some time ago. It is encouraging to see how Twitter users are becoming more cautious about their tweets. Yes, we have free tweets (speech) but it does not give us an excuse to tarnish a character with 140 more – or to damage a brand’s reputation without being willing to back it up with facts and experience. As the legal profession in South Africa increasingly applies our laws to social media, the way to proceed for now is probably to Tweet with Tact.