Tag: social media

Using your phone for social media while driving could be considered reckless behaviour by an insurer, giving the insurer the right to decline a claim in the event of an accident, said a legal expert.
Maria Philippides, director of insurance litigation at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa, explained the legal implications as well as consequences for insurance cover where reckless behaviour is related to the use of social media.
She referred to a recent report in the UK where a woman was jailed for using Facebook when she caused a car accident. Philippides explained to Fin24 how a case like this could possibly be handled locally.
In South Africa, the use of a cell-phone while driving is prohibited by the road traffic regulation. This is not just limited to talking on one’s phone, but also holding a phone or other communicating devices when driving, explained Philippides.
If caught by authorities when doing these activities, one could be liable to pay a fine. In the instance that this behaviour leads to something worse like an accident causing death, one can be charged for culpable homicide, she said. “If convicted, it would carry a jail sentence.”
Insurance policies are designed to cover the insured for their negligent behaviour. But there are policy provisions which explain when insurers do not pay out claims. This is either when the claims arise from a criminal offence, such as using your phone when driving, explained Philippides.
The other instance when a claim is not paid out is if the policyholder does not act with “due care” to avoid an accident or loss or damage, she added. In this case the actions go beyond negligence and are viewed as being reckless, she explained.
A court would test for recklessness in terms of the person being aware of the risk that would result of their conduct, and still continuing with the action regardless. In that case the insurer will be able to reject the claim, she said.
“If you are operating your cell-phone, which you know is illegal or an offence … and your attention is not on the traffic and the road ahead of you, [with your head] looking down. That can be termed as reckless.”
Drivers have an imposed duty by the national road traffic act to be engaged with driving, explained Philippides. If you are engaged in an activity “so removed from your duty to drive properly”, no matter what it is, including applying make-up in traffic, it is reckless, she emphasised.
Wearable devices
When asked about how operating wearable devices, such as smart-watches, while driving may be viewed by insurers, Philippides acknowledged that the law was struggling to keep up with the pace of changing technology.
“Law can’t keep up with every single device that gets created… There is no specific prohibition on a person using a smart-watch,” she said.
However even though there is no prohibition in law for using a device, insurers can reject a claim if the use of the device can be classified as reckless, she explained.
Philippides pointed out the innovation of smart windscreens, where a navigation panel comes up on the windscreen when driving. Even if this innovation is legal, it is possible that insurers may view the use of this navigation while driving as reckless.
Proving use of social media
If a policyholder does not accept that their claim was declined, the matter can reach the courts. It is up to the insurer to make the allegation and prove that the policyholder was using their device when driving. Philippides explained that the insurer would have to get evidence of the use of the device. This could be witness statements, the police report and possibly cell-phone records to prove the use of the device coincided with the time the accident was made.
The records could show when data was used, or when phone calls were made. Activity logs from social media, with permission from the policyholder in the case that he or she has privacy settings, can also be used to prove use of a device, she added.
Failure to submit this information can lead to an adverse inference by the courts, indicating that the insured possibly has something to hide.
Something as simple as liking a page at a time that coincides with the timeframe of an accident could implicate the policyholder, said Philippides. “It shows attention was diverted from driving.”
“The ordinary person on the street does not realize that what they are doing while operating on social media is accessible to anyone. If it is publicly available, anyone can use it, the right to privacy is basically waived.”

By Lameez Omarjee for Fin24

The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) and the Democratic Alliance has lashed out at State Security Minister David Mahlobo, who at the weekend said the regulation of social media in SA was being discussed at government level.

At a justice, crime prevention and security cluster media briefing on Sunday, Mahlobo indicated that the African National Congress-led government was contemplating regulating South Africa’s social media space.

In a statement on Tuesday, R2K said this would be an abuse of power that undermined democracy.

“R2K has already raised concerns that South Africa’s state security structures have abused their surveillance powers and shown a disregard for democratic process.”

R2K said members of the state security cluster had tried to paint their critics as “threats” who must be targeted.

“Now, out of thin air, we have state security proposing to ‘regulate’ social media. This is a clear move by state securocrats to try [and] clamp down on freedom of expression and increase their powers to censor the internet.”

Cyber bullies

R2K said the call from Mahlobo came on the back of a range of existing and “deeply problematic censorship policies”.

“Regulation of social media already exists. [Platforms] like Twitter and Facebook have added self-regulation measures to empower users to take action against online harassment and cut down on the spread of fake news and propaganda.”

Meanwhile, DA spokesperson on telecommunications and postal services Marian Shinn said the call from Mahlobo was “worrying”.

“Such statements pose a direct threat to media and internet freedom in SA. Instead of making such irresponsible threats, our government should rather distance itself from the continent’s despots when it comes to developing policies and regulations for internet behaviour.”

Shinn said Mahlobo’s concerns about false news and scams needed to be looked at against the backdrop of “the pending 2019 general election and the increasing denial of digital rights by African governments feeling threatened by the citizen empowerment that the world wide web facilitates”.

Shinn highlighted how the SA government, “along with cyber bullies such as Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and India”, had voted against the United Nations Human Rights Council’s declaration that access to the internet was a human right.

By Kaveel Singh for News24

CEOs need social media

Everyone today is on social media, but there is one group that is sorely under-represented: CEOs.

“We frequently get asked by our CEO clients how they should use social media,” says Sylvia Schutte, MD of Stratitude. “So it’s not that they undervalue the importance of it, they just aren’t sure how to use it to their advantage.”

Numerous studies have shown that when a CEO uses social media positively, it has a positive impact on the reputation of their company, attracts talent to the business and even impacts the bottom line with an increase in sales. CEOs who are active on social media also become more relatable and connect more with their employees, peers and customers.

“One of the biggest excuses we get from senior executives is that they simply don’t have the time to be active on social media,” says Schutte.

To keep pages fresh and to prevent connections from getting bored, Schutte recommends that opinion pieces are posted onto the company blog and then shared on personal pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, CEOs should share online articles and information that they find interesting, and then include their opinion on the issue.

“Privacy is another big concern,” continues Schutte. “People do business with people they know, like and trust, which is why we recommend setting your LinkedIn profile to be open to the public, rather than keeping it private. If people are looking for you on LinkedIn it’s because they want to find out as much information as possible, to see if they can trust your company and engage in business with you.”

The more information you provide about your professional background, who you are, and what you stand for, the stronger your credentials will be and the more trustworthy you will come across to potential clients, employees, suppliers, stakeholders and business partners.

“It’s essential that you pay attention to the language you use, which means you don’t craft every tweet or post as an MBA graduate. To come across as relatable you need to use conversational, everyday language. The key is also to make it personal, so feel free to share things like places you enjoy visiting, books you recommend reading, or ideas that excite you,” explains Schutte. “These things might not be related to you as a professional, but they say a lot about who you are and they help you connect with clients, prospects and colleagues in a more authentic, human way.”

When it comes to maintaining a social media presence, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. It’s not uncommon to have a team assisting a leader to keep their social media feeds populated. However, to get this right you first have to understand the objectives and brand that the leader wants to portray.

“Posts should be real and honest,” says Schutte. “We work with leaders to define their personal brand and what they want to project on social media. We then craft content that’s in line with their thinking and personality, but ultimately they should be the ones that are in tune with their social media accounts, respond when talked to and pass along content shared by others.”

In an increasingly social business world, it’s clear that CEOs should do more than just be on social media – they should lead the pack.

In an age of professional social networks, it might seem as if the design of your CV and depth of your LinkedIn profile determines your ability to advance your career. In reality, networking is still an essential skill that should be fine-tuned and perfected. Here are some important insights into this often-overlooked business skill.

Network first, Facebook later
Decision makers still value human contact. Your digital profile is still considered a ‘cold call’ by the people who matter – they want to know who you really are, beyond a one-dimensional summary. Although it’s vital to play in the digital networking space, there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction. The perfect LinkedIn profile means nothing if you can’t win people over in person, even though the end goal is ultimately the same: to promote yourself and connect with the right people.

Know your game
It’s pointless to attend an event and blindly try to make an impact on everyone in the room. You have to know your short and long terms goals, and align your networking strategy accordingly. Be strategic: before you attend an event, research who will be there and a little bit about them. Know who you want to chat to, and make it happen.

Listen longer
The most vital skill in networking successfully is listening. Never approach a group of people and start running your mouth off because you feel you need to assert yourself and promote your skill set.

Ask questions, listen and identify similar interests. Pick up on these interests and ask more questions about them. Be flexible – if they’re not responding to you, change your agenda. Endearing yourself to someone as a person first makes it much easier to approach them professionally later. Always remember to keep it strictly friendly and familiar, never flirtatious.

Understand it takes time
Would-be-go-getters are often awestruck by the raw talent of successful networkers – this is a misconception. No one is a born networker – it’s a learned skill. Some people might be more naturally confident, but that certainly doesn’t make them a good networker. It takes endless hours of practice to fine-tune and master a fruitful networking style. So practice as much as you can.

Attend events that push you out of your comfort zone and try to leave with at least a few contacts. You’ve got nothing to lose, so be bold. Like anything else in life, the more you practice, the easier it gets.

Network everywhere
It may sound odd, but your networking skills spill over into your personal life too. Social occasions are equally important opportunities to network – but in this case, you’re looking to make friends, or just create a relaxed and comfortable environment.

The same goes for networking within your company. Just because you’ve landed the job you want, doesn’t mean you should stop networking – connect with people above and below you in the corporate structure. Offer support where and when you can, because one day you’ll probably need it in return.

Master the follow-up
You’ve spent a day connecting with the right people, swapped business cards – now what? Always think ahead and plan how you’re going to connect after the event. If possible, try and swap numbers and send a follow-up message the day after. Don’t be too aggressive and stalk them: asking for a coffee or lunch meeting to chat is okay, asking them to swing past your house for a glass of wine probably isn’t.

If you want to become a successful networker, remember you have to be self-motivated. The onus is on you to fine-tune your skills, because no-one is going to do it for you. It’s about being your own personal cheerleader, without anyone actually noticing. You’ll be surprised by how much it benefits other areas of your social life – and it might just land you the position you want.

By Tish Magongwa, franchise marketing manager at Nashua

An employer can dismiss a worker for inappropriate, insensitive and racist content posted on social media, even if it does not have anything to do with the employer or company, says Werksmans Attorneys.

Company director Bradley Workman Davies explains that this was because companies could face a backlash from customers, prospective customers and other stakeholders because of association, through the employment relationship, with the social media content of employees.

“As such, employers are entitled to be concerned about and to take action for inappropriate content posted by employees, as this has a potential to harm the business of the employer,” Davies says.

“Equally, employees should realise that in the digital age, with regards to the employment relationship, nothing posted publicly is private or irrelevant,” he adds.

In recent weeks, several incidents made headlines when employees were fired or suspended for their social media posts, which employers deemed inappropriate, insensitive or racist.

One of the more prominent incidents was that of media personality Gareth Cliff who was booted off the Idols show for tweeting on freedom of speech during the Penny Sparrow race debacle.

Cliff had tweeted that people did not really understand freedom of speech, which led people to assume that he supported Sparrow’s right to label black beachgoers as monkeys.

Cliff lodged an urgent application in the High Court in Johannesburg and on Friday M-Net was ordered to re-instate him.

eNCA news anchor Andrew Barnes was also given a two-week suspension last month after he mocked Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s pronunciation of the word “epitome”.

After receiving backlash on social media, he issued a public apology to the minister.

Action against an employee did not necessarily happen because of a breach of contract through their conduct, but because the employment relationship was based on trust. It could also be based on the broader category where the conduct could be seen to have the intention or effect of breaking the trust relationship between the two parties.

Davies explains that employers always had to afford the employee the right to make representations as to whether they were guilty before taking a decision on what action, if any, would be taken against an employee.

Davies says an employee’s social conduct outside of the workplace could also have an impact on the working relationship.

“This is a recognised principle of South African labour relations, which was acknowledged even under previous iterations of the Labour Relations Act (the 1954 Labour Relations Act, replaced in 1995), and applied by the Industrial Court historically.”

Davies used the example of an employee of Nehawu who was fired after being found guilty of misconduct after he consumed alcohol after hours while at a union congress.

“In this case, the adjudicator found that ’employees are considered to be employees 24 hours out of 24 hours at a congress’ and therefore, after hours consumption was as good as consumption during working hours.”

In another incident, an employer chose to fire colleagues who had had a fight outside of working hours.

“[This] resulted in a strained working relationship and the inability of a continued employment relationship,” Davies says.

He explained that the employment relationship was based on an inherent basis of trust and good faith and any action which caused a break in that relationship could justify the dismissal of the employee.

The same applied when an employee made a direct reference to his employer or colleague on a social media post.
Davies highlighted that the constitutional right to freedom of expression was not absolute. It was limited by Section 36 of the Constitution.

“It is important that when a person exercises the said right, she does not encroach on other person’s rights,” he says.

By Naledi Shange for News24

The importance of your reputation

 

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. ~ Warren Buffet.

If you’re in any doubt as to the cogency of this statement, just think Volkswagen, Malaysia Airlines, FIFA, SAA, Bill Cosby, Sony, Penny Sparrow, Chris Hart and Nicole de Klerk. All have taken an absolute beating in the court of public opinion. Some have limped to some semblance of recovery with the help of reputational communications and management specialists, others never will.

For corporate brands that lose their reputational lustre, the impact soon manifests on the bottom line and in the share price – consumers vote with their wallets. For individuals, prospects for employment after a public blunder on the scale of Penny Sparrow’s reprehensible racist rants, amount to exactly zero.

In the digital age, nothing ever escapes Google search or the speed of social media. We’re seeing employees sharing controversial opinions on social media channels that are increasingly putting employer brands in the spotlight. Employers now pay close attention to the company they keep – no job interview is likely to go by without a thorough interrogation of your online persona.

Social media and employees aren’t the only ways that inappropriate remarks can wreak reputational havoc. I have seen countless executives making the most extraordinarily stupid statements in media interviews, and no amount of media training can save them from themselves. Who can forget the ghastly vaseline remarks made by Macintosh Polela after the JubJub trial? The spokesperson for an elite police made an utterly ill-conceived tweet about prison rape as if this was perfectly ok. It cost Polela his job, his reputation and left the Hawks credibility in tatters. Anyone seen or heard from Mac lately?

Anyone drive a Volkswagen? In the heat of the emissions “dieselgate”, the once trusted car brand was forced to recall 500 000 vehicles and slapped with a potential fine of $18billion by the US Environmental Protection Agency (does this hurt yet Mr Financial Director?). VW issued all measure of statements with little solace. Volkswagen’s stock price fell in value by a third in the days immediately after the news broke, its group CEO resigned and it was claimed by Der Spiegel newspaper that at least 30 people at management level in VW knew about the emissions deceit for years – something that VW denies.

Amidst all of this, Wheels24 reported that Volkswagen SA was not “affected by the emissions saga”. VWSA said at the time: “South African VW/Audi vehicles are not affected. South Africa does not have a legislative emission standard so this issue does not apply locally. We meet the CO2 emissions as published in our official specification sheets for all our vehicles.”

Really! So the mere fact that a global citizen like VW lied to the public for six years and intentionally used a device in its cars to evade clean air standards, which are a threat to public health, should not matter to me here in SA? Reputation 101 – just like pandemics, screw ups on this scale know no geographic boundaries. And know that a multi-national reputation brings with it all measure of complexities and multicultural nuances to consider.

Given just how easy it is to send a hard-earned and expensive reputation up in smoke, it really is not surprising that damage to reputation /brand has emerged as the #1 risk facing companies worldwide according to Aon Risk Solutions. The global risk management business polled CEOs, CFOs and Risk Managers in it’s 2015 Global Risk Management Survey, providing comparative insight into different perceptions of risk.

The Aon report goes on to add that with the rapid development of media technology and heightened awareness of multiculturalism, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of ways a company’s reputation can be damaged. However, the tools and levels of effort business leaders use to manage their reputations are lagging, heightening such risk. Despite the fact that damage to reputation is cited as the No.1 Business Risk, the survey shows that 40% of businesses are unprepared to deal with a major reputational crisis.

While some brands may have cookie-cutter plans in place for dealing with a crisis of reputation, few have thoroughly interrogated and documented all the potential risks and scenarios they could face. In fact, few have made a distinction between crisis communications – the what is said, to whom, when and why and managing stakeholder perceptions – versus crisis management – the all-important logistics and background work across multiple departments to sort the mess out. Most simply view crisis communications and management as one big amorphous mass.

For those endowed with a greater appreciation of the power of words and communication, they’ve intrinsically known the value of reputation since forever. But it took a few monumental gaffs to make financial executives realise that there simply is no line item on the financial statements that can calculate the true monetary value of trust, which is after all what reputation is about. Until the paw-paw hits the fan, that is! Then the realisation that broken trust equates to lost sales and dismal turnover manifests faster than a VW can dodge an emissions test.

The reality is, in our hyper-connected society, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of ways a company’s reputation can be damaged. But none of these should come as a complete surprise. A tsunami might be a surprise because you were expecting fire and brimstone instead, but then, you would still have your natural catastrophe recovery plans in place which would work for either scenario. However, product recalls, data breaches, offensive language or slurs on social media, in the workplace or customer communication, fraud, money laundering, system crashes, inappropriate remarks or behaviour by company executives and supply chain disruptions cannot be on your list of unexpected incidents.

And yes, there is insurance cover available to manage such a reputational crisis, but insurers expect clients to have proper plans and resources in place at the outset. The reality is that while insurance can cover the immediate costs of resourcing the response and crisis management campaign, can you really quantify the value – current and in the future – of lost clientele, patronage and respect from public, shareholders and the media?

As Aon says in its risk report, companies need to treat damage to their reputations as understandable and even predictable challenges that one should expect in today’s business environment.

As a final parting thought, there are more than enough factors outside of your control that can impact on your brand’s reputation that will demand your attention and resources. So walk the fine line, keep your promises and always behave in an ethical manner towards your clients, suppliers and stakeholders. Do that and you will have removed at least 80% of the serious risks that can blow your hard-earned reputation to pieces. Behave like a rogue and no amount of reputation management is going to save you from a public execution.

By Teresa Settas, founder and MD of  Teresa Settas Communications

Twitter logo

Telling stories through tweets

There was a time when fitting your thoughts into 140 characters seemed virtually impossible, especially if you wanted to squeeze in a hashtag or five.

Slowly but surely we weren’t just able to fit fully formed thoughts into a tweet, but we were able to add images and links with ease.

Our adaptation to Twitter as a user base has been remarkable, considering that we were once revelling in the freedom of ‘unlimited’ characters on Facebook – but what happens when what you want to share simply cannot fit into one tweet?

No social media platform can avoid user-driven change, and Twitter is no different. We’re experiencing a consumption shift away from condensed tweets and seeing a growing demand for long-form content in a landscape we thought was defined by the opposite.

Twitter is entering an age of storytelling, and I’m captivated by the way users are fuelling the shift.

While platforms like Facebook and Medium allow for long-form expression, they are somewhat less accommodating to conversation threads.

This is where Twitter excels: being extremely conversational and making trending content accessible. However, this environment has always seemed impeding to users who feel restricted by the character limit. This has seen many users split their thoughts into one or two tweets, but of course, this split of content is hardly deserving of being called a ‘story’.

Storytelling on Twitter is not new – many journalists and reporters use the platform as a way to ‘live-tweet’ current events like we saw on the timelines of Barry Bateman and others during the Oscar Pistorius trial. As we all know, though, social media turns each and every one of us into content creators and finding ways to curate new content for your audience is at the top of our lists.

Lately, I’ve seen some ‘tweeple’ trend by posting entertaining stories in a series of tweets; sometimes in as many as 30, and ranging from wild tales of nights on the town to sobering stories of heartbreak and betrayal. The interesting insight from the reaction to these stories is that communities we’ve labelled as being almost exclusively drawn to short-form content are spending between 10 to 20 minutes reading. Many of us have spent years perfecting how to condense what we want to say in a single tweet, but there are users who’ve worked around the restrictions to sharing their content fully- with amazing results.

An ever-present challenge when sharing first-hand accounts on social media (or at least what may seem like one) is how quickly fictional content can spread as being an eyewitness account. T

his was glaringly evident with the most recent story trend on the hashtag “#RIPKamo”. Twitter user @JustKhuthi shared a story about a girl named Kamo who was abducted, raped and left for dead in a series of over 50 tweets which went viral. The Star subsequently published an article about the event only to find out that the story and victim were fictional – a revelation to the publication and the thousands of Twitter users who were shaken by the news.

The consumption of long-form content packaged in 140 character snippets will increase steadily in 2016 but could change drastically if the rumours are true. Looming on the horizon is the potential Twitter character limit increase- which could be a ‘make or break’ feature addition.

If executed well, it could cater more intensively to the demand for storytelling content that is so popular at the moment. This possible landmark moment could usher in a new wave of storytellers in 2016, uninhibited by character limits on a social media platform perfect for conversations, but if implemented in an obtrusive way, could affect the landscape and experience of tweeting away from the familiarity we’ve grown to love.

By Atiyya Karodia, NATIVE VML social media manager

In South Africa, digital advertising on smartphones and computers will generate 52% of the total increase in ad spending during the next five years, with over half of South Africa’s Internet traffic on mobile phones, making it the greatest opportunity for growth in the immediate future, according to digital media buying agency Atmosphere Orange’s media director, Chanel MacKay.

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