This week, #UOSM2008 looked at the ethical issues raised by educational and business uses of social media. Social media was recognised as a great tool but it was clear that if used irresponsibly it would have significant backlash, leading to loss of credibility or, in some cases, legal action. Advertising and marketing practices and the use of social media for recruitment purposes were, by far, the most popular topics investigated by my peers.
Many were shocked at how many online reviews were falsified and felt strongly that measures should be taken to prevent this. With regards to the use of social media for recruitment purposes, people’s views were mixed. The majority were happy to have their LinkedIn screened, as this is its intended purpose. However, the screening of personal sites like Facebook was seen as a step too far.
After writing my blog post, I came across this great infographic on The Undercover Recruiter. The infographic shows a study by Reppler, which outlines how employers today are screening applicants.
Having researched the ethical issues surrounding business and educational use of social media , I have come up with a few pointers to help avoid problems:
- Whether you are a business using social media for marketing or a lecturer encouraging students to voice their opinions, make sure there are clear guidelines on what content is and is not acceptable. For instance, you could provide employee or students with a clear written policy about the use of social media.
- Tread cautiously with testimonials, endorsements, and ratings because you will probably be ousted if you use false or misleading information e.g. refrain from using false identities to combat negative reviews by the public or employees.
- Do not disclose privileged or confidential information.
- If using social media for group communication, make sure you create a closed page.