I've recently had a job in my ethics were called into play. Many of you
have been there, you get a job that at first seems to be a great
opportunity. But as time goes by, and you get to know the players, you
realize that something's not quite right.At first you tell yourself to
look the other way. After all it's their company; let them do with it as
they please. As long as I do my job, do it well, and don't do anything
that crosses my personal ethical line, then so be it. But then comes the
day when your asked to do something that crosses that line.For me it was
buying 'follows' on Twitter, and 'likes' on Facebook. You to see, there
are companies that pay people to create false profiles. These companies
create thousands of these 'bots', and for a price, they will 'like' or
'follow' you. Anyone in the social media business knows about this
practice, it's just another in a long line of black hat SEO tricks to
raise your search engine ranking.But is it worth it? You fill your
account with these 'bots' and now you can't differentiate them from your
real fans and followers. The people who are loyal to you, the ones you
should be spending tour time and money on marketing to. But now you have
3,000 false profiles clogging up the process. Not only is bad for
business, but it's also unethical to portray yourself, or your company,
in a false light.I didn't want anything to do with it. As a social media
marketer I did not want to lower myself to that level. Paying for
'likes'!?! No way, I couldn't do it. I went to the project manager and
pleaded my case. Unfortunately I lost the battle and the job. But my
ethics are intact and I know in the long run, I made the right choice.The
principles and values in ethics are both universal and unchanging.
However, the application of ethics change with time as societies adjust.
How do we apply the basic ethics principles in the world of Twitter,
Facebook, LinkedIn and others?What are the specific values at play? There
are a lot, I'll list a few to get you started:Truth, Accuracy - Make it
practice of always posting factual content; don't knowingly post or
publish information that you know is false. This is the oldest and
arguably the most important value for all journalists. It transfers over
to the Social Media world when using in for business purposes.
Transparency - Be open in sharing or making the identity of bloggers, e-
mail authors or any Internet author accessible. Don't write anything you
need to hide from and you wont have a problem with this one.
Respect - Be mindful of other peoples beliefs and lifestyles.
Privacy - Nothing will drive a wedge between you and potential customers
than using their personal information for anything other than what you
Confidentiality - Do not post or publishing confidential information.
Conflict of Interests - Be mindful of posting/publishing favorable
comments on products or services while being paid to do so by the company
that delivers those products and services; or vice-versa use, moral
Accountability - Take ownership of your online activities, the content
you've created, and any missteps you've made along the way.Making ethical
decisions is never easy. The new technology adds to the difficulty
because of the little time we have. You should always slow down and
double check yourself. Take time to do the right thing, remembering that
fixing a problem once an error has been made is going to take you a heck
of a lot longer than getting it right in the first place.So when a
client, manager, or business partner asks you to do something that gives
you that "something's just not right" feeling,, ask yourself if it's
something you'll be proud of in 5 years. Is it something you would brag
to your friends about, would you tell your mom? If you answered no, then
it's probably falls in the unethical category. Think twice and make sure
you can live with your decision.