99FM – Your Inspiration Station

Cyber Security and online Reputation in The Digital Age

The MYD Africa Show throwback series is a conversation with international speaker, lawyer, and social media law expert Emma Sadlier. 

Emma talks about the main dangers of social media and why it’s critical that we inform ourselves of our rights and responsibilities.

Hailing from  Johannesburg South Africa, Emma runs a social media law consultancy and says that a lot of what she does actually reputation management. 

“It’s a fascinating field, every single day is different, a lot of it just involves staying ahead of the curve, but most of the work that I do involves education …” she says. 

Touching on what interests her about social media law, she says that what’s fascinating about the field is that historically, media law only applied to the traditional media, to journalists or people who were on radio and television and then suddenly, with the social media revolution, everybody had a voice.  

She states that as soon as something exists in digital format, it’s out of the control of the person who posted it because “the screenshot is the devil you know.”

“Every single case that lands on my desk is because of the screenshot and it’s just turned what was historically was a fairly transient temporary conversation, something you and I would say to each other over lunch into something that’s potentially permanent and publishable, the internet is a very permanent place,” Emma further warns, while adding that  “ … once it’s out there it’s out there. It’s very, very difficult to get content deleted from the internet.

She advises social media users to remember that reputation is everything, and that there are legal and disciplinary consequences to everything shared on the platform. She quotes American business magnate who says; “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

For Emma however, it takes only five seconds for a social media post to ruin someone’s reputation.

Another one of her tips for staying safe and maintaining a good reputation online is; “If you wouldn’t put it on a billboard don’t let it exist in digital format. It’s the bottom line.”

If you wish to read up more on what Emma has to say about cyber security, get your hands on her book; ‘Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex.’ 

Despite common perceptions, she says that the book is not about sex but explores many areas of cyber security. “I actually erred in giving it such a risque title because I think parents don’t want to buy it for their children because it’s got the word ‘sex’ on the title. I promise it’s not about sex, it’s about a codification of everything I talk about.”

The book delves into the  laws surrounding this sensitive topic, how social media affects children, companies and businesses. It also touches on general topics like what happens to a person’s social media accounts when they die as well as safe online dating.