Archive for the ‘Bullying’ Category

Defamation and your reputation

August 8, 2015


This week we had to deal with a potential defamation scenario for a client because of some of their online activity.

In this case they had received a solicitors letter accusing them of defamation because of something that they had posted in a personal blog post. This whole area is very interesting because it deals with the most valuable of assets,”your reputation” and it also had the element of online, which makes it even more intriguing.

Your Reputation

Your good reputation is one of the most precious assets that you have and it is in your interest to protect it at all costs. A good reputation is built up over time and it comes about from how you conduct all aspects of your business including the delivery of your products and services, how you treat your customers, your suppliers and your team and how you interact with the general public.

A good reputation will win you business, it will attract customers who will want to do business with you and it will give suppliers, banks, investors and landlords that necessary trust so they are happy to deal with you. If something does go wrong, as things often do then a good reputation will protect you because people will know that you are to be trusted and that whatever has happened you will sort it out.

A lot of the work we do with clients can be described as reputation management. We work hard to ensure that all the great things that our clients do are publicised and if potentially damaging incidents occur then we make sure that these situations are carefully managed so that any damage is limited.

A reputation often takes many years to build, but this can be destroyed easily in just moments by circumstances.


Because your reputation is such a precious asset it is only right that their is legal protection available to you, should anyone ever defame you.

We have found that defamation can be quite a misunderstood term as many feel that it applies whenever someone ‘says something bad about you‘  which is certainly not the case.

A few elements must normally be in place for something to be deemed as ‘defamation’:

Precise information – You must know exactly what has been said or publicised about you and be able to demonstrate this.

Clearly identified – The parties claiming to be defamed must be clearly identified in the offending publication.

False statements – It can only be deemed as defamation if what has been said is largely untrue. You might not like what is being said about you but if it is true this is not defamation!

Publication – It is only deemed as defamation if the publication of the remarks was relatively wide. Being overheard by a few people would not be enough.


Online dimension

The online environment makes this whole area even more complicated.

Does a post on a blog or on someone’s social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn carry as much weight as an article in a newspaper, some other publication or a comment on radio or TV? If I have 6,000 followers on twitter and someone else has 100 is a false statement by me a bigger misdemeanour?

It’s all a question of distribution and how many people may have seen or heard the false statements and then someone has the tricky job of assessing how much potential damage has been done by the false statement.

Another tricky dimension with the online environment is that if others make defamatory comments about someone on your ‘platform’ (blog/discussion board) then you could be liable as you did not remove the offending posts.

Defamation is a notoriously difficult area of law so even when all the elements are in place anyone considering a case in this area must have deep pockets and lots of time on their hands before considering legal action. (Check out some of the cases that have been tried in Ireland).

Our client

With the scenario that we had to deal with this week none of the critical elements were in place so our client had nothing to worry about and certainly nothing that would damage their own reputation – in fact it was quite the opposite.

In this case one of the people involved had written a blog post about the personal impact of an incident whereby they had been seriously wronged. They never once mentioned who the offending party were in their post and they were 100% truthful in what they had said.

Ironically the offending party ‘recognised’ themselves in the post and cried ‘foul’ and immediately ran to their solicitors who were happy to claim defamation, which it clearly was not. In this case the solicitor should have known better than to make such an incorrect and unprofessional accusation – is this a defamatory comment?

I’m always amused to see how it’s nearly always the ‘offenders’ who get most vigorous about protecting their rights!

Your good reputation is hard earned and it is a precious asset of huge value to your business. The best advice is to manage your reputation carefully so no one ever has a reason to say something bad about you.

If someone is making false, damaging accusations about you then you do have a legal mechanism but make sure that all the right elements are in place before going down this potentially costly and distracting road.

Your good reputation is everything.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Reputation Management and Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Do you need a fighter?

June 11, 2015

Dr Martin Luther KIng

I was part of an interview panel recently for a client and during the course of my pre-interview preparation I did my usual checks online with the various candidates.

This normally reveals a lot – you can see how strong their presence is online, you can see how good their communications skills are and you can see the things they care about.

Often what you discover from their social media activity can confirm what they have described on their CV’s, it can further illuminate who they are or it can even bring everything into question – is this a different person?

I love the LinkedIn profiles in particular and the great ones have genuine recommendations written for them supporting the work they did in particular roles, which makes it really easy to assess them.

You can also see other evidence of their lives, their blog posts, the websites they are listed on and even some media coverage they have been mentioned in…all very interesting.

Unfair dismissal

In one individual’s case I quickly found a newspaper article whereby they had taken and settled a constructive dismissal case against a former employer!

According to the article the case was settled on the steps (of course!) and both sides were quoted as saying “they were happy with the outcome” – no doubt a cheque was written and this person backed down.

The unfortunate thing about the article is that this person was the only person named (the organisation was named but not the individuals involved) and as a result they have this against their name for people like me to find on a simple Google search.

Their CV obviously didn’t mention this incident – how could you even go about presenting this information to a prospective employer in a positive way? The CV told a different, quite positive story.

My immediate reaction was alarm bells – is this person trouble and are things not so rosey in their garden?

And then I reflected – maybe this person was bullied, maybe they were one of many in the organisation who were mistreated and instead of quietly moving on just maybe they were the ones who were strong and brave enough to stand up for themselves and make sure that this behaviour stopped?

Maybe they did this to ensure the practice of bullying stopped within the organisation?

Instead of being a huge negative maybe this incident gave a huge hint that this person was a strong person with high principles who was prepared to stand up and fight for what is right, even if it had the potential to make them look bad. In this case you could definitely argue that it did.

Isn’t it possible that a person like this is a rare gem and not the ‘troublemaker‘ we first thought?

The unfortunate truth is that in most cases this person won’t even get as far as an interview because we do jump to conclusions quickly so what can that person do?

Taking control

They most take control of their ‘story’ online – make sure LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook tell a really positive story. Get those recommendations from previous employers and other people in business who will enforce the good stories.

The other big thing that person can do is to start self publishing online – start blogging, start guest blogging, push that expertise and passion out there and quickly that Google space will be filled with their own material and those old articles will gradually get pushed down the ranking and will not be found.

If they get to interview and the ‘topic’ comes up they should be prepared to tell the real story.

In this case the person had withdrawn from the process even though we were quite happy to interview them.

If they are a fighter they also have to fight for their own online presence and reputation!

A fighter could be the very person you need ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Ireland from our offices in Dublin and Cork




Fire the secretary

November 9, 2014

The FiringI used hate dealing with my boss. From the very first minute I worked there we never gelled and I couldn’t stand it.

Every time I drove into the car park and I saw his car there I would get a pain in my stomach.

I was the financial controller of this sizeable operation and while it was a great role for my career CV it was tough going at times.

The culture was very strange as the MD used have moles everywhere running to him with selective tales about what was going on. I’m not sure if he realised it at the time but many of the cute ones used this opportunity to manipulate things for their benefit – it created a really awful atmosphere for everyone.

His secretary was the worst of all as she ran to him with everything, even things that she overheard incorrectly. Before you knew it people were being hauled into his office to answer for things that had never happened. As a result this young girl who was totally manipulated was despised in the place.

I was summoned to his office ..what’s up now??

I’m no longer happy with my secretary and I want you to get rid of her. My wife will come in and replace her for a while” I was told.

I questioned what she had done that was so wrong as I felt this was a basic piece of information that was needed before we could do anything.

Just get rid of her” I was told.

The culture at the time was very ‘macho’ – if you were a real manager and had “balls” you should be able to do things like that in your stride.

I was in the horrors. How could I do such a thing without any justification? I just couldn’t.

I never fired her and thankfully some other opportunity popped up in the organisation that she was interested in soon after that – phew!

Thankfully those ‘macho’ management bullying days are a thing of the past ….aren’t they?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork



Reputation starts from the inside

August 18, 2014

You're Fired

I really was upset for my good friend after listening to the story of his exit from a place where he had worked for 15 years.

To say he worked there was an understatement – he was synonymous with the place. He was well regarded within the industry and anytime you heard the name of the Irish branch of this international blue chip professional services organisation you would automatically think of him.

He had a senior role there and had for many years. Work, work, work was his life regularly punching in late nights winning and working on some of the best accounts, one’s we would all dream about having on our client list.

The company he worked for have a really good reputation and are well known as being one of the best in the country and internationally within their sector.

We suspected that there was a change within the international organisation and our small but profitable Irish branch was attracting more scrutiny than usual” he explained

On a nothing Monday in April this year he was asked to meet with some guy he didn’t know from the UK at 4pm. “I have a client meeting at that time, can we do another time?” “No, get the client to meet you another time” he was told.

4pm arrived and this person from the UK he barely knew quickly gave him the corporate blurb about realignment of the organisation, changing trends and by the way.. “we are making your role redundant“.

The language was very careful: He wasn’t being made redundant but his role was and together they would enter a six week consultation process to see how best to accommodate his undoubted talents in the organisation. A senior role in a far flung destination was quickly mentioned.

Shell shocked after this out of the blue news my friend returned to his desk to punch in a few more hours work before heading home. To his shock and dismay his email had been disconnected along with his company phone!

4pm was ‘action stations‘ and the organisation was ruthless in ensuring there was zero risk to them just in case my buddy reacted badly to the news.

Confused and heartbroken he called some of his senior colleagues and good friends within the business to discuss what happened – the worst part of this story is that not one of them returned a call, a text message or an email. They had obviously been briefed.

Of course he took legal advice on-board and was told he had an incredible case against the organisation but it would be drawn out, upsetting and there was a small risk that if it went wrong in any way it could be costly. He also considered his own reputation and felt that if he sued his employer it could be the ‘kiss of death‘ regards trying to find another job in the sector.

A ‘chancer‘ wouldn’t have thought twice about a legal case.

Instead he decided the best course of action was to finish up immediately, avoid the 6 weeks of nonsense and he instructed his solicitor to make contact with the firm and negotiate a settlement.

To me the worst negotiation of all time took place and my friend managed to get statutory redundancy and six months pay on the condition that he couldn’t work in the industry for this period.

Ironically it was his clients that tracked him down and offered him best wishes for the future and hoped to work with him again. Even worse the business had to explain to new clients who had been pitched to by my friend that the person they thought would be doing the work was no longer there.

Sadly, there was no leaving party for my buddy, not even a quiet dinner with some of his close colleagues and friends.

I questioned him about this was this possible?

That’s just the way it is in big organisations and I guess we have to accept it. All of my close colleagues would have been nervous of their own positions by interacting with me. It’s just business”

I had a peep at the companies website and I saw words such as ‘pioneering spirit’, ‘commitment’, ‘our people’, ‘thought leadership‘ and the best of all was in one of the service offerings  ‘we help to foster strong relationships between management and employees‘.

There is always cause and effect ..

..his colleagues have learnt a new lesson about where they work, his clients have also witnessed something quite brutal with someone they knew and trusted and suddenly it is quite a different place. Who is next for the royal treatment? Somehow there is a sting in the tail coming down the track when Mr Karma works his magic.

Logically, rationally, humanely you can’t treat good, loyal, trustworthy people like that just because you have a change of heart about how you want to operate your business ..then again, maybe you can?

For all of us we need to decide how we want to behave and how we want to operate our businesses, how we treat people, most importantly our own teams, our clients and suppliers. Maybe it is more than just business?

Reputation starts from the inside ..

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Bullys and the funny thing about being different

May 4, 2014

Dare to be different

This week I was at a really great event organised by the Diana Award, which is the only charity bearing the name of the former Princess of Wales inspired by her belief that young people have the power to change toe world for the better.

The event was held at the European Headquarters of Facebook in Dublin and it was part of the Diana Award schools Anti bullying programme. In their very effective programme they organise activities in schools to help eradicate bullying and as part of that they quite cleverly appoint and train anti-bullying ambassadors in the school.

The ambassadors are chosen from the students themselves and judging from the results we witnessed in the videos the programmes have been very effective. We were invited to the event because of our Safebook poster, which has been used by many of the participating schools as part of their anti cyber-bullying work.

There was one huge common thread to the speeches and stories that I heard on the day.

Tessy Ojo the CEO of Diana Award spoke about being bullied as a child because she was so tall.

Brian McFadden of Westlife fame spoke about being bullied because he liked stage and dance when all his schoolmates were playing football.

Young actor Will Poulter spoke about being bullied because he was into acting.

We heard some of the young children speak in the videos about being bullied because they had red hair, because they had freckles, because they were chubby or because they were black.

The one thing that pretty much everyone being bullied had in common was that they were different in some way – being different in any way can get you bullied!

I was chatting about this event with my son, Brendan and he sent me on a link to a video produced by a really popular guy online, 19 year old Cian Twomey about how he has been cyberbullied. Cian is really popular, producing funny clever videos and on Facebook alone he has built up a following of over 180,000 since late last year.

In his video he explains how along with huge numbers of followers he seems to be gathering ‘haters‘ as he gains in popularity, which really hurts him in particular when they get really nasty. One person was so horrible they even referred to Cian’s father who had recently passed away. Is this another case of someone being bullied because they are different?

Being different

Ironically in our work at Fuzion with clients the first thing we do with clients is find out how they are different!

Being different is what makes you stand out, it’s what makes you interesting – whether its a product, a service or the individuals involved we aways look for how these are different and this is where the magic is, that sets you and your business apart from from the competitors. This difference will get you media coverage and attention from customers and will contribute to your success.

The most successful musicians, artists, models, designers, products and services are the ones that are different.

So …if you are being bullied because you are a little bit different just realise that this is what makes you really special and in time you will be the one getting the right attention.

Vive la Différence (long live difference) as the French would say ! 

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork





The social cost of questionable leadership at Facebook

October 23, 2013

Facebook Mission - To Make the world more open and connected

I stood there and I watched the faces of the concerned parents – this is a new era that has many of them confused, lost and petrified about the on-line dangers that could threaten any of their children at any time.

One of the parents relayed a story about her child who was being bullied by others on Facebook – in this scenario she spotted the danger, jumped in and her daughter confronted the person who was saying these nasty things. She received an immediate apology, the activity ceased and it turns out the “culprit” didn’t fully realise the damage and harm they were causing by posting silly but hurtful remarks.

For some reason many of us behave different online – in a way it’s like shouting and roaring at people from the safety of your car. Would you do that on the street?

Online many of us lose our manners, we get nasty, we get personal and we have no bother pulling the trigger and firing abuse at other people.

Would you do it to their face? Probably not..

At Fuzion we produced an infographic called “Safebook” which can be downloaded free from our website to encourage young people to use the online platforms responsibly and to help them cope with any negative scenario. In the worst cases we recommend that the culprit should be unfriended, blocked and reported.

Safebook Poster - Cyberbullying

This is quite good advice and when it comes to reporting we mean: tell your friends and parents and ultimately report them to the social media platform and the authorities where necessary.

I have come to realise that the reporting to the social media platforms is quite useless and I have never really heard it yielding results. While they proclaim they are very concerned in reality I feel they are doing nothing to really make a difference.

For over a year our Safebook poster has been downloaded by teachers, resource centres and parents all over the world – we have even been asked to translate into a number of different languages, which shows you that the problem is global.

Where are Facebook in all of this? Have they seen our poster? Do they not see the huge need to provide a resource to schools and our young people?

At this session, which had been organised by a proactive parents committee for a school in West Cork I informed them that Facebook operated different privacy settings for teenagers, which gave them a level of protection against predators. This seemed to provide some relief to the concerned parents.

Facebook change the privacy settings for teenagers

Literally the next day I read the headlines that Facebook had now relaxed the settings for teenagers, providing them with more or less the same functionality and openness that other adult users enjoyed!

In their statement they outlined their logic for this change:

Teens are among the savviest people using social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard,Facebook said on its site. “While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social-media services.

In my view the truth is that Facebook is losing ground to it’s big social media rival Twitter, which does not have special settings for different age groups and it wants to protect this first and foremost. They are throwing their privacy protection mechanisms for young users out the window because of this.

While this thinking is very concerning it got even worse ..

Now we have learnt that Facebook thought it was quite OK to permit a brutal sadistic video of a woman being beheaded on their platform.

Debbie Frost - FacebookThe logic of this was explained by the Director of Communications and Public Affairs Facebook:

People turn to Facebook to share their experiences and to raise awareness about issues important to them,” said spokeswoman Debbie Frost in a statement. “If it is being shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate violence, Facebook removes it.

How does Facebook know if I am sharing the post because I am horrified by it or because it gives me a thrill?

Facebook staffThey were allowing a brutal video that any TV station in the world would instinctively know should not be viewed on air, to be shared by all their users on Facebook based on freedom of expression and  the social good!

While Facebook is a huge, profitable business and is winning commercially it that has clearly lost it’s way when it comes to moderating its platform, which must be put down to some very questionable leadership.

When Mark Zuckerberg says the Facebook mission is to “Make the world more Open and Connected” is this what he meant?

Have they lost all objectivity and social decency by employing too many young guns who just do not have the life experience and moral compass required to deal with policy and such huge issues?

The scary thing for me is that up until this point they have probably been the more proactive social media platform when it comes to privacy and safety!

My conclusion when I talk to parents and teachers about social media is that the onus is on us to teach good behaviour and we need to be proactive and learn the tools for ourselves so that we can advise from an informed place.

I call it “Teach don’t Preach“.

It now really looks like it is up to us because the safety walls have just been lowered and I don’t trust the owners to build them again.

I think of the faces of those concerned parents – maybe they are right to be concerned?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer social media consultancy and training in Ireland from our offices in Cork and Dublin

Embarrassed into action – lousy PR?

September 9, 2013

Stephanie Meehan - Priory Hall

Stephanie Meehan’s partner, Fiachra took his own life in July of this year.

The Meehan family were amongst the many innocent victims of the whole Priory Hall fiasco and it looks like Fiachra finally succumbed to all of the pressure including being out of their home for two years and insane pressure from their bank.

Stephanie resorted to letters to our political leaders and then to the media, who thankfully were listening and highlighted her plight.

She courageously told her story last Friday night on TV to a huge national licence (RTE – Late Late show).

I was enraged that she was told not to name the offending bank – this brave woman had lost her husband, she was still out of her home, she was still being hounded by the bank and nothing was being done to sort it and we wanted her to be silent!

I have no doubt that in our politically correct and litigious world naming the offending bank on national TV was too big a risk – why are we protecting such heartless, careless and cruel corporations in favour of the plight of Stephanie and so many others?

Who is more important?

I vented my frustration on twitter along with throngs of other tweeters.

Thankfully within minutes social media took over and did the job of naming the offending bank on Stephanie’s behalf. It appeared from the various people posting on Twitter that the bank was KBC bank.

KBC BankClick here to see what is stated on the KBC bank website about “Managing your debt” including a helpful video delivered by a very pleasant young woman.

Their website states:

At KBC Bank Ireland plc, we understand that the current economic environment presents challenges for many of our customers. We would like to assure you that we are fully committed to working with customers who are experiencing financial difficulty in a positive manner. If your financial situation has changed recently or you are concerned about your finances, we would encourage you to contact us as soon as possible

You could see that there was a nervousness with the people tweeting – were they sure it was KBC bank?  A few tweeters privately started confirming this information and in no time it seemed certain and people were now tweeting with confidence.

Once the Late Late show was over, the audience prizes given out and we all went about our weekend routines I wondered what would happen with Stephanie, Priory Hall and the offending bank.

The Irish Times confirmed this morning that KBC have said “it would not pursue Ms Meehan for any balance on her mortgage“, despite sending her a letter on August 28th (two weeks ago) highlighting arrears plus interest due!

It said it was doing so: “given the specific circumstances of this tragic case

Were the “specific circumstances” the awful human tragedy or was it the media heat and extreme embarrassment that they were uncomfortably experiencing?

At least KBC bank could throw resources at the problem the minute they started to feel a little uncomfortable – poor Stephanie and Fiachra had no such release valve.

This was the very least they could do but it leaves their reputation in tatters.

If they are genuinely sorry about what happened and want to live up to the promises on their website they should hold their hands up, apologise sincerely and promise that they will review all of their debt collection procedures and provide training and strict criteria to all personnel involved in this process so that this type of tragedy would never happen again.

StephanieWell done

Builders and InspectorsDisgraceful

KBC (and all the other banks behaving the same) – Shame on you

All of us – Start making some noise


Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion 

If that doesn’t work …get out of there!

May 20, 2013


That was another incredibly busy week, meeting with clients, attending client events, dealing with stakeholders, meeting prospects, running training programmes and dealing with the every day things associated with running a business.

I meet people from so many different walks of life working in organisations and companies in private, public and non-profit sectors and with my social media activity I interact with many people on a regular basis.

This week in particular, whatever was in the air I seemed to meet a lot of incredibly “frustrated” people.

People who feel no one listens to them, people who feel its impossible to get anything done, people who despair of their organisation because it is choking with politics, people who were bullied out of jobs by colleagues, people blaming colleagues for things that went wrong when in fact they put them under so much pressure they couldn’t perform, people who are insecure so they play games to protect their own positions, people who are hostile to visitors and people who can play a huge part in making significant changes but ….once again feel this is impossible with people busy playing politics who will block all positive initiatives.

Not one of these people were giving out about money – all of them wanted to contribute and enjoy and long for the satisfaction of making something happen.

If that’s you then start making some noise, keep pushing, let your voice be heard, push for the right things to happen, speak up when they are not happening, challenge  the rubbish, encourage working together as a team, talk about making a difference, make the political “players” uncomfortable (they want to make a difference as well) and push them towards doing the right things and at least go home on a Friday with a feeling that you have had a good week.

If that doesn’t work …get out of there!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin in Ireland

Turning the screw

April 28, 2013

Cork in the sun !

This blog post has been written and re-written so many times. I have deliberated about publishing it as it is quite a negative one.

Every journey has number of bumps and mine is no different – this is one of my big bumps!

Let’s hit that button!!


The sun was splitting the stones as I walked through Cork city on a gorgeous Saturday ten years ago with Dee and my kids, Brendan and Ellen.

It was a perfect day but my head was about to burst … I was far from perfect.

The torturing turning of the screw was full on and one of the owners wanted this pushy, challenging, drive forward, energetic, self minded General Manager out of their company.

Because of an underlying dispute between the joint owners of the company a big attempt was made a few years before by one of the parties to force me out and I managed, probably out of pure stubbornness to stick in there, putting up with the horrible atmosphere, beating every target and meeting every challenge that they put before me.

Company performance had never been better, we were making good profits and earlier, devious attempts to turn my management team against me had failed with the opposite now happening.

In a tough, competitive environment we were thriving.

The final straw was me taking on someone new on a commission arrangement with the Chairman’s permission – one of the owners felt this was reckless behaviour and coupled with a few other concocted incidents it was deemed that I was not to be trusted any more.

Walk the PlankAfter a visit by the new managing director of this global business it was decided that this boy would have to provide a detailed list of his movements for each week in advance, mornings and afternoons.

If the relevant powers decided this schedule was not appropriate it could be altered. His words were that “I was manager in name only and had to run all of my actions through someone else“.


I had better things to do with my life than put up with this stupidity and being constantly caught in the owners crossfire and on that sunny Saturday I decided I was done. I went home and wrote my letter informing them that my position was untenable and that I would leave in the near future.

A few weeks later I left to work on my own projects.

People ask me was it difficult (my folks thought I had lost my marbles!) to move from a good, secure, extremely well paid  job into self employment – in truth when that decision came it was not a difficult one.

Despite my considerable financial commitments (just like everyone) I had arrived at a point in my life where it was the only decision left to be made. Easy!

This turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made but I didn’t appreciate the heavy hands on my back.

Many felt I should take a legal route with my ex-employers but I decided it was better and healthier to focus all of my energy in a positive direction so that I could achieve my new goals and put bread on the table. However, ten years later it still lingers in the back of my mind and I remember the horrible feeling at that time.

It’s really important to me that I enjoy what I do and that in Fuzion we provide a great work environment for all of our team.

I call it #WinHappy

If you find that a screw is being turned on you do your best to take control.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion (for ten years now!)

Social Media – Teach or Preach?

January 28, 2013


Like most people I am very concerned about the whole topic of Cyberbullying and the effect it has been having on some of our young people.

After the tragic suicides recently we decided to do our part and we produced a simple info graphic called “safebook” , which is an easy guide for young people. Our objective was to encourage the safe and responsible use of social media and at the same time provide clear advice to people who may be faced with a bullying situation.

Safebook Poster - CyberbullyingOur poster struck a chord with people all over the world – it’s been downloaded in over 100 countries, which I put down to its simplicity and I believe it is helping parents and teachers to have sensible conversations about the responsible use of social media with their children.

Our activity in this area has brought us into contact with many teachers, schools and organisations and I can see the considerable efforts that are being made to control and deal with the issue. I am watching the training programmes, I can see the liaison with the authorities and government agencies and I can see how schools are making attempts to block the use of these platforms and do their best to cope with the situation.

I have also heard presentations from Facebook who are attempting to deal with this huge issue, introduce controls and mechanisms to help people report incidents and inappropriate behaviour.

On one side I’m watching all of the downside – the social media concern, the “control” activity but what about the huge upside?

Social media is now a really valuable life skill that we all should learn – most of our clients would grab job applicants who are social media savvy. Is there a dilemma?

Teaching Social MediaTeach not Preach!

From my considerable exposure to this huge Cyberbullying issue my conclusion is that we need to embrace the social media tools from a sensible, early age and we should encourage the positive use of these platforms in schools (probably the best place to ensure this happens).

How about:
– students publishing their essays on their own personal blogs
– classes that show the children how to set up their social media accounts including their privacy settings
– setting up Facebook groups for use by each of the classes
– setting up Twitter accounts for the Economics, History, Science and Geography classes and following and interacting with other relevant accounts to facilitate learning and staying up to date with current issues

At the same time I do feel that the social media providers must self regulate, put in the controls and aids, be proactive around privacy settings and act sensibly – however, the main solution is in the users hands.

While I know it won’t be easy, while I know it will require a lot of training, I know social media is a valuable skill, which will be critical to every young person in the future.

Why not concentrate on teaching and forget the preaching?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion.

Fuzion provide social media consultancy and training services from the offices in Dublin and Cork.