Ethical Implications of Social Media

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The ethics associated with social media has become an increasingly hot topic for discussion. From data mining to the ethics of basing hiring decisions off of what is posted on personal social sites; social media and its ethical discrepancies has become a popular subject.

 

Data mining for consumers’ information has been a hot topic of discussion over the past couple months. It was only amplified by the Target security breach. The question with most who debate the topic is whether or not it is ethical for a company to collect, store, market, and potentially sell consumer information. “Just consider that mining online communication has already helped Microsoft identify women at risk of postpartum depression. It’s also allowed Facebook to study how parents and kids interact. The possibilities appear limited only by the imagination of the researchers, which is why such issues were in the spotlight recently at a meeting of social and personality psychologists. They gathered to concentrate on what’s ahead amid concerns that some users of these sites may not like that their behavior is under the microscope. Even as this mining of huge digital data sets of collective behavior is on the rise, the word “caution” is coming from all sides” (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/08/data-online-behavior-research/5781447/).

 

On the other side, there are those that worry about the ethical implications of posting to social sites and being judged for job opportunities based on what is posted. For many it is a fine line. On one hand it is a person’s personal page while on the other the person themselves represents the company they work for. Not only that, “employers’ use of online social networking sites to research job candidates raises a variety of notable implications, since a vast number of job candidates reveal personal information on these sites that U.S. employers can’t ask in an interview or infer from a résumé” (http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5511-religious-posts-hiring-discrimination.html).

 

There are many ethical implications in regards to the use of social media sites whether it is collecting data on consumers or using personal pages to help make hiring decisions. I am certain we will hear more about each of these issues as time progresses on. What is your stance on either of these issues?

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Social Media and Business

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Currently I work within a company with an older population. Many don’t have or even feel a need to have a social media pages let alone make regular contributions to their page; and the company I work for is in the sales industry. However, this presents a growing issue I’ve taken notice of while working; many of our employees and even competitors don’t understand the value in maintaining a social media account.  “A recent survey published by BRANDfog states that 83% and 73% of U.S. and UK respondents respectively believe that CEO participation in social media can build better connections with customers, employees and investors.” https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140428121909-2842124-two-reasons-ceos-should-be-on-social-media With many potential new clients as well as hires on social media, it is important for companies and individuals within the company to have a presence. “With more consumers turning to the internet to find information about a business, a comprehensive online presence is becoming increasingly crucial to a business’s success.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhendricks/2014/02/25/3-ways-social-media-is-driving-a-business-revolution/ “Just as retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart must learn to keep up with Amazon’s forward-thinking marketing techniques, old-school businesses must find ways to reach out to this new generation of social media-obsessed shoppers.” With the Millennials moving into the workforce and becoming the household shoppers it is more important than ever for companies to reach this demographic; not to mention the older generations have started to latch on to social media sites. In 2014 it will be more important than ever for companies to actively participate on social networks.

What US Airways Taught Us

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After last week’s post about US Airways I decided to do somewhat of a recap about the Twitter fiasco and how the company decided to handle it. After the company accidentally tweeted about an inappropriate photograph to a disgruntled customer, US Airways announced that they would not be firing the employee that mistakenly sent the tweet; unusual in the corporate realm when dealing with social media crisis. As Tierney Sneed said in a US News article “people have been fired for seemingly much less when it comes to ghost tweeting.”

 

 “It would have been easy for US Airways to say “we have fired the individual responsible so trust us again.” It takes real class to recognize that the fault – while maybe “assignable” to a person – is really a process issue within the organization and to take that ownership as a brand. I would not have wanted to be on the social media desk these last two days at US Airways, but I would seriously consider working for an organization like them in the future. Ownership equates to leadership; they have shown great leadership in this one action” (https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140416215044-3611341-us-airways-sets-new-standard-for-crisis-management).  Despite what PR practices may say about handling crises I think how US Airways handled the situation was appropriate and ended up making me think highly of the company. Rather than pointing fingers they, as a company, accepted blame for the mishap. I found it note worthy. What do you think?

Social Media Blunders

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We often see companies finding themselves in trouble over something posted on social media. Whether it is a social media campaign gone wrong or someone from the company tweeting something inappropriate, there are plenty of examples of how social media can turn awry.  Today while checking my company’s LinkedIn page I came across an article by Kristi Dosh entitled Social Media Lessons from US Airways (and Tide and Oreo). Intrigued I clicked on it only to find social media’s latest mishap. Today “US Airways tweeted a pornographic photograph today in response to a customer complaint. If that’s not shocking enough, try this: it took a full hour for the tweet to be discovered and removed.” US Airways is just one of many incidents where a social media post has caused headaches for a company. This incident reinforces the fact that companies need to be monitoring their social media pages, cautious when they are publishing a post, and have strict controls on who has access to the company’s social media accounts. As CNN Money stated “It’s not the first corporate Twitter blunder, but it might be one of the most obscene.

Facebook’s New Algorithm

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In late 2013 Facebook announced that it would be changing the sites algorithm so that more meaningful posts would end up in users news feeds. Many companies and marketers feared what type of impact this would have on their pages reach to users of the social networking site. As Ron Mattocks discusses many “marketers view the dwindling organic reach as a form of being held hostage. Under the “pay-to-play” model companies that have already paid to acquire their audience through page Likes now must pay again in order to reach that audience. For those companies with large fan bases and big ad budgets this means Facebook will become a necessary evil of sorts, but for everyone else, including those with top-notch content, it’s no longer a level playing field and the question then becomes, ‘Why bother?’”  Despite some marketers’ cynicism toward the new algorithm, many are arguing that the change is good for both consumers and marketers. The new algorithm will provide consumers with more meaningful content. Marketers will have to adapt to generate targeted content however they will ultimately gain a better understanding of the consumers they are reaching. As Luis Caballero explains “successful Facebook marketing is no longer about finding and capturing customers as fans, but about reaching consumers with relevant messaging. While the new algorithmic changes will take some getting used to, they will ultimately help marketers adapt to new ad strategies.” 

Is the role of Social Media Manager really dead?

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I recently read an article entitled The Social Media Marketer is (almost) dead: 5 tips on how to evolve as a marketer where the author argued that the role of a Social Media Marketer is dying. To be honest I had very mixed feelings about the author’s position. I do believe that social media is changing, all media is changing and at a relatively rapid pace; however, I don’t know that the role is necessary dead but rather changing with the role of media in the marketing mix. Social media still plays a large role for companies. In fact, Social Media Examiner found that social media teams are becoming more common; 57% of those that responded to the survey said that there is a dedicated team overseeing their company’s social media strategy. I think Social Media Managers are still relevant and that jobs in that focus are alive and well. I don’t think theses positions are going anywhere anytime soon, I do however think that what the role encompasses may be shifting. Social Media Managers are no longer just someone to maintain and develop content for organizations social sites instead these professionals are listening, dealing with customers’ needs, creating content, implementing marketing campaigns, and promotions. The role of Social Media Manager, in my opinion it isn’t dead, just changing.  What are your thoughts?

The Cell Phone That Started It All

Motorola DynaTAC

It’s hard to count how many times a day I catch myself using my cell phone. Studies estimate that the average user checks their phone about 150 times a day and it’s hard to argue with that stat given all cell phones are capable of. Music, games, email, social media, viewing the web, and a countless number of applications; it is safe to say our modern mobile phones have come a long way from their humble beginnings. The first cell phone, the Motorola DynaTAC, dates back to 1984. Unlike the sleek design of today’s smartphones, this phone was massive; weighing 28 ounces (that’s 1.75 lbs) and measuring in at 13 X 1.75 X 3.5 inches. Top it off the cost of this massive phone was $3995, which would be more than $9000 in today’s market. The DynaTAC was originally developed to ensure that AT&T would not gain a monopoly on cellular. Previously car phones were connected by a single transmission from an antenna within a city however; AT&T had discovered a way to allow for car phones to remain connected from antenna to antenna. AT&T hoped to gain a monopoly on the wireless network from the FCC. Ultimately the DynaTAC was Motorola’s response to squash AT&T’s plan for a monopoly; which they did.  Despite the phone’s humble beginnings, the DynaTAC has produced some high-tech, ever-present descendants.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2013/05/cellphone-users-check-phones-150xday-and-other-internet-fun-facts/

http://mashable.com/2014/03/13/first-cellphone-on-sale/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2013/10/13/the-first-commercial-cell-call-was-made-30-years-ago-on-a-9000-phone/

Emerging Media Predictions for 2014

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With a wide array of social sites available it’s hard to imagine what will come next. Emerging media is a fast and ever changing sector of what is now a part of our daily lives. What was once “new media” is no longer new.  In 2013 one of the biggest changes to occur is the increase in mobile activity. More users were searching sites and posting to social networks through mobile applications than they had in previous years. Forbes expects that in 2014 mobile will grow even more. Along with mobile, location marketing is expected to grow. Marketers will seek location services through mobile devices to target consumers in their geographical areas. Mobile will also allow consumers and marketers to connect anytime, anywhere with just about anyone. Customers can search information and find it instantly. Brands will need to cut back on their promotional marketing messages and start producing customer-centric information that is helpful to their target customers. Consumers themselves are also expected to become a source for marketers through advocate marketing. Marketers will most likely look to their most devoted fans to help them create cost-effective engagement with current and prospective customers.

The use of visuals and videosto market to consumers is expected to grow in 2014 according to Social Media Today. YouTube, Vine, and Instagram have already popularized the use of videos. It is predicted that marketers will produce images and videos to connect with customers.  With the quick and always altering emerging media, 2014 should prove to be a year of great growth and change in the marketing world.