Randy Covington teaches media ethics at the UofSC School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He also oversees the College of Information and Communications’ Social Media Insights Lab.
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Posted June 11, 2020
By Randy Covington, director of special projects
What you say will follow you, so be careful!
As a faculty member at the University of South Carolina, I am so proud of how our students are responding to the senseless death of George Floyd. Your idealism and commitment to making things better truly are the hope for our country.
The protests of the last two weeks understandably reflect strong emotions and when channeled constructively, that is a good thing. However, I think it is important to keep in mind what can happen when those emotions erupt without much thought to the consequences. This is especially an issue in that cauldron of emotion and dissent we call social media.
In my class Freedom, Responsibility and Ethics, I emphasize the importance of free speech, even if it is unpopular. Your opinions matter and you certainly have a right to express them. However, it also is important to exercise this right responsibly. Here are five things to keep in mind before you hit send:
As my friend and colleague Christina Myers, a Ph.D student in the journalism school says, words have power, so they should be treated with care. In the end, it always is good to remember the Golden Rule. Don’t say anything to someone that you would not want said about yourself.