Daniels Fund hosts Ethics in Social Media Summit to try to change the online culture.

Daniels Fund hosts Ethics in Social Media Summit

Nelson Garcia, KUSA
Educators and business leaders discuss social media ethics with students at this years Social Media Summit

Sam Elliott is a junior at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Friday, he was is in Denver to talk to educators and business leaders about the need to establish standards for social media. "Because it's not being done," Elliott said.

Daniels Fund put together their first-ever Ethics in Social Media Summit to bring all these people together to try to launch a change in culture.

"A lot of young people make some mistakes on social media where they don't understand the impacts it is going to have following them the rest of their lives," Linda Childears, president and CEO of Daniels Fund, said.

Elliott says the world of social is continually evolving.

"Social media was something that Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) gave us and then there were no rules with it," Elliott said.

Elliott believes that has created widespread problems such as cyber bullying and posts or pictures that people regret later.

"More students need to be aware of the consequences of what they post on social media and even what their friends post on social media," Elliott said.

Elliott and students from eight different universities in Colorado and surrounding states are working with educators and industry experts to create etiquette for using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.

"Everything in life really has rules or moral standards that have been established over time," Elliott said. "It's time that the rules and standards be established for social media and that's something that's not being done."

Daniels Fund brought in executives from Coca Cola, Google, and ESPN to share their wisdom about being smart online. Sharon Zealey is the chief ethics and compliance officer for the Coca Cola Company.

"I think the most important thing to keep in mind is to be transparent and truthful," Zealey said. "Don't do anything online that you wouldn't want your mother to see on the front page of the news."

Zealey says more students need to use common sense when creating posts or comments. She says they should never post in anger or to hurt someone else.

"Ethics needs to be discussed more," Zealey said. "There's less emphasis on ethics really a time when we need ethics and values more than ever."

Daniels Fund was created by Bill Daniels, the late cable television pioneer. Childears says Daniels believed that integrity is a good business practice.

"It's disappointing to see some of the lack of decorum that is out there on social media," Childears said. "If we can help students think about their own personal brand and what they're saying about themselves, maybe it'll be worth something to them."

The eight universities participating in the summit are part of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative to get more schools teaching students good practices. The schools are Colorado State University, New Mexico State University, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, University of Denver, University of New Mexico, University of Northern Colorado, University of Utah, and University of Wyoming.

Elliott hopes that the standards discussed at this summit can go viral and effect change in the social media world.

"We're really the driving factor behind social media etiquette with conferences like this because it's things that people aren't necessarily talking about," Elliott said.