I was reading recently about some very strict laws passed by the Kansas Board of Regents regarding what professors at a University are allowed to say on social media. According to the NPR article, people are saying that by restricting what people can say on their personal time goes against First Amendment Rights. I agree! I can’t imagine my boss having the power to censor what I can say during my personal time- especially in the US!
As an international teacher, I have never signed a contract that included a section about social media, but I have been reading more and more about work place environments that are restricting what people are allowed to say. One argument I have heard is that people are signing on to work at a place with such an agreement, so they must not care that such an agreement is in place. However, as a young person, I know that jobs are hard to come by so one might overlook such a clause and then forget about it until you are on Twitter or Facebook and something gets said that shouldn’t have been said.
Living in China and Venezuela, I have experienced what it is like for the government to be in control of the message that gets out. I kept a personal blog in China and it was only accessible with a VPN! Twitter has been shut down. TV channels are taken off air . Very biased stories get printed in newspapers and broadcasted on radio stations . But what about personal blogs, Facebook, and Twitter- should anyone have control over what we post online?
Social media is everywhere. Personally, I try to be mindful of the way I present myself online. I was not always this way, nor was I aware of just how easy it is to find stuff online once it has been posted. Nowadays I try to ask myself, “Would I care if my second grade students saw this?” When I am about to post something on the internet I generally try to stay positive, honest, and true to who I am as a person.
Have you ever had to censure your comments or posts online because of a job? Have you ever lived in a place where freedom of speech is not a right? Please share your thoughts below.