June 26th, 2015
A wider audience for public speech has created vulnerabilities – and
liabilities – for all involved. Social media is somewhat altering
discourse on free speech, said Gunkel, a Northern Illinois University
communications professor and author of numerous books and articles about
culture, new media and ethics. “The clearer we can be upfront
the better,” he said. “The real problem is that we are operating in a
vacuum and making it up after the fact.”
As corporations and
colleges try to manage their reputations, employees may feel the need to
censor themselves – lest they find themselves out of a job. It gets
more complicated when you add the concept of academic and intellectual
freedom into the mix, Gunkel said.
Universities in particular have
to be cautious when considering social media policy, specifically to
protect those intellectual freedoms, Gunkel said.