The number of people who use social media is growing exponentially on a day to day basis. This is highly beneficial for businesses, who suddenly have a global audience at their fingertips. However, this has also raised the issue of social media ethics. According to expert on this issue, Matthew Knouff, this is mainly due to the fact that, while some people use social media, others abuse it. He has written a handy guide on the use and abuse of these platforms, thereby helping businesses and individuals alike to make sure that their online conduct is ethical.
Social Media Use
- Social media allows for global communication and connectedness.
- Social media enables people to gather information and opinion that would not be covered by the mainstream media. Instead, it has empowered people to make more informed decisions about the things they care about.
- Social media is a fantastic tool to find new work, or to be headhunted for that matter. Prospective employers can find people they want, and jobseekers can find their next career move.
- Social media is a fantastic tool to promote products and services using a variety of mediums. For instance, YouTube is a great way to showcase a new product in action. It is an attention-grabbing, fun way of sharing information.
Social Media Abuse
Unfortunately, social media is also greatly abused. Yes, it has brought everybody closer together. However, anti-privacy and criminal conduct is also rife. Those who go against societal norms have caused significant problems, including:
- Disgruntled employees have took to social media to publicly air their grievances, often in a libelous and defamatory way. Similarly, ex-lovers have shared very private information about their exes on social media. Suddenly, the private is public.
- Online bullying is now rife and many people have fallen victim to it. In fact, teenagers have been known to commit suicide as a result of vicious comments and posts about them, and even messages.
- Hackers have been able to access various pieces of very private information and share this all over the globe. While there is a place for hackers in order to stop other hackers, the reality is also that this cat and mouse game is one that has no end, and that claims many victims.
How Social Media Can Be Used Ethically
For Knouff, the goal is to make sure businesses and individuals alike are able to use these fantastic tools in an ethical manner. This can be achieved by putting proper social media policies in place. Some of the key elements of this should be:
- To never put private, identifying information on any social media platform or other public forum.
- To make sure all private settings are set in such a way that nobody can access important information or make changes.
- To make sure you only connect with people who you actually want to associate with.
Social media has its flaws, but it is here to stay and, when used properly, it is hugely important and beneficial to businesses and individuals alike.