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Ethics, Finding the Line

April 13, 2009

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Ethics in general is always a debate. When all is said and done what is deemed ethical has a great deal to do with culture, personal attributes (like age, lifestyle, background), outside influences and perception. In terms of social media there are so many things that must be considered when debating whether or not something is ethical. Social media today incorporates companies into our personal spaces and the lines have become blurred in terms of what is and what is not ethical.

So in finding what is and what is not ethical the debate rages on. Goods, services and products are only the beginning of what the realm of social media analyzes and provides feedback on. However, it is companies that are being looked at in terms of their ethical intent and nature in using social media tools.

From providing bloggers with incentives to promote products to posing as other people on social cites, companies are often under fire due to “unethical” uses of social media venues.

People are looking for transparency; they want to know the truth and full truth. Social media is designed to not only provide a venue for individuals to find clear and honest information, but also to allow people to give others clear and honest information.

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In drawing the line I find one major rule of thumb to always apply, in essentially every case: be transparent. In the advanced technological world we are in, lies are always uncovered. Therefore, it is best to be upfront and honest. Credibility is key.

At the end of the day, being transparent pays off, even for politicians. President Obama for example used various social media tools, twitter specifically, becoming the most popular twitter user (according to http://www.twitterholic.com/ he has dropped to #4.)

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During his campaign he used the tool to get out information regarding the campaign.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10016399-93.html

As we look into the future there is no doubt that ethical lines will become even more blurred as more aspects become pertinent. For now, however, we can focus on being transparent, providing quality content and improving the world around us.

–  Molly Ferris

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