With social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram becoming more popular, freedom of speech and online etiquette continues to raise questions on issues surrounding Internet privacy.
Lambda Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated hosted the Free to Tweet event last night in Henderson Building. The goal was to “inform students on their first amendment rights and how they correlate to their freedom of speech on social media,” Emmanuel Ukpong, president of Lambda Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporatedsaid.
During the event, questions such as “Is it weird to be friends with someone on social networks and not in real life?” “How do you draw the line between the ‘real you’ and the ‘online you?’” “Should you be held responsible for what you say even though it’s posted online? What are the repercussions of these posts?” Were posed to the students to discuss openly.
Most students agreed that people should be able to tweet or post whatever they want.
Liana Lopez said that she felt that professional life and personal life should be separated. Employers checking social media accounts before hiring is not fair, she said.
Freedom of speech is one of the only things that people have, she said. When it comes to majors, classes and work, there are limits to what can and cannot be said, she said. Social networks are an outlet to express thoughts and feelings and without them it could be “detrimental,” Lopez said.
As a member of a sorority, she said that it is important for her to attend and support her Greek life community. The event is beneficial because some students don’t realize that when posting something on a social network, they are not just representing themselves, but also every organization that they’re involved in, Lopez said.
Ukpong said that they selected the date of the event around Martin Luther King Jr. day.
“Freedom of speech was something that he talked a lot about and was passionate about so we felt that having the event around the same time would be appropriate,” Upkong (junior-political sciences) said.
He said he also believes that it is not fair for employers to check social networks during the hiring process. There should be a separation of work and personal life — unless one affects the other, he said.
“You should be able to be yourself at home because you can’t be ‘professional you,’ 24/7,” he said.
Diag Davenport, vice president of Lambda Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., said the event is relevant because so many people and organizations are using social media to express themselves and share ideas. It’s crucial for students to understand that how they act online should be consistent with who they are in real life, he said.
“I think this opened peoples’ eyes to the threats of social media because so many people view them as strictly for entertainment and don’t realize that there are repercussions,” Davenport (senior-economics and business management) said.