Topic 4: The Ethics of Social Media

In the last topic, I talked about how the rise of the digital age has lent its way to businesses using social media in a more professional way, including branding and recruiting. This is especially useful when the platforms are free to use, but offer paid advertising spaces where businesses can promote their brand (Corcione, 2017).

However, Cain and Fink, 2010, have proposed ethical questions surrounding the use of social media:

Question of ethics

Self-produced on Adobe Photoshop CS6

What I would like to focus on is the issue of knowing who actually views the information you put out there. While posting things on Facebook are technically ‘public’, is it truly an ‘open public’? Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are generally created to create a connection between people (McAlister, 2012), but they are not the type of owner-less, open, public domains where information is free for everyone. In fact, most posts will be aimed at a small circle of friends and family.

FB Privacy settings

Privacy settings on posts on Facebook, screenshot taken by myself

Facebook is good in the way that when posting, you are able to directly control who can see the post, even amongst your own friends. Other social media sites have this to a degree; YouTube and Tumblr allow you to post videos and make posts privately, so that only you can see them. However, Twitter, unfortunately, is even more restricted. You can make your profile private or public, as is the case with Instagram, however you cannot change the settings for each post. This can lead to unfortunate cases such as Justine Sacco which I wrote about in Topic 3.

Logo banner

Logos of social medias, self-produced on Adobe Photoshop CS6

When we want the privacy to express ourselves in the way we want, it is almost suppressive when knowing that employers will actively seek out any information that might act against you on all of your social medias. This leads to the ethical issue I mentioned at the start: who is viewing your information?

When you use more than one social media, the different privacy settings allow for an increased ability to find something that you might have intended to just be for friends. Being researched by employers is one thing, but having your private spaces invaded, even if it is social media, is another thing completely.

 

References:

Cain, Jeff & Fink, Joseph L., (2015) ‘Legal and Ethical Issues Regarding Social Media and Pharmacy Education’ [Accessed 25th March 2017]

Corcione, Danielle, (2017) ‘Social Media for Business: A Marketer’s Guide’ [Accessed 25th March 2017]

Greenwald, Glenn (2014) ‘Why privacy matters’ [Accessed 26th March 2017]

Localsphere Digital Media Inc., (2016) ‘Social Media for businesses’ [Accessed 26th March 2017]

McAlister, Matt, (2012) ‘Social networking is threatening the open public network’ [Accessed 25th March 2017]

The Guardian, (2014) ‘Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger’ [Accessed 25th March 2017]

 

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Topic 3: Reflection

In tackling the topic this week on building up an online professional profile, I realised there was a lot more to it than I first thought. The Jobvite statistics proved to be very useful (albeit slightly outdated) in relaying just how much employers rely on social media to recruit new employees. From there, it was an exploration of what steps you can take to further improve your chances of being recruited through your social media platforms.

One major point in increasing employability from your profiles is authenticity and supplying information about experiences that you may have had on sites such as LinkedIn, so that employers can see more than just a CV and grades. In my comment on Sharon’s blog post, we agreed that sharing personal experiences is a good way of differentiating yourself from other candidates, potentially grabbing the interest of future employers!

However, one thing to note is that in sharing things on social media, you need to be careful of what you let others see! In my comment on Rebecca’s post, I questioned the demonising of individuals who tweet and post things which may just be potentially innocuous. She replied with how it is difficult to communicate tone across online, and being in person could garner different reactions. However, I feel that when making posts online, you need to take into account the lack of a strong sense of tone and intentions, as such, it is possible for just one person to take it in a bad way and cause an avalanche of negative reactions, as was the case with Justine Sacco.

Generally, I feel that it is quite easy to overshare details online, and while you should remain authentic, you needn’t share every piece of information that may hinder your approach to being employed!

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Topic 3: Authentic; Professional; Online

This week will be on how to develop your own online professional profile while being authentic.

With the rise of the digital age, recruiters are increasing their use on social media in order to find employees. As discussed in the previous topic, the large number of online identities that you may have all help to put forward a portfolio of yourself that future employers can find.

Self-produced on Adobe Photoshop, stats taken from Jobvite

But how is it possible when most of what we’ve been told about getting a job is sending off CVs and cover letters? Well, if you can’t put everything on a CV, then social media can help to provide all the other information that you can’t get across in one document. In doing so, you can present the passion and creativity that you have in specific fields relevant to the job you’re seeking, as well as staying as authentic as you can!

Authenticity can be easy to maintain: unify all your social medias; make sure that the same information is on all of them such as names, handles, profile pictures, etc. Make sure that they can link back to each other as well as your CV, blogs, or other websites you may have. There are easy mistakes to make when building up your online profile, however, as the following video highlights:

A huge example of how things can go wrong with just one post is that of Justine Sacco, where just one tweet leads to her being fired. There are many situations like this in the highly digital age we live in – with the ease at which posts can be accessed on public platforms, strangers can come in at any moment to analyse your every word, let alone future/current employers, and tear your life apart. Jon Ronson explores the effects that fall upon these people who experience the online shaming in the article linked just above, and in the TED talk below.

How can this be avoided? Well, the main thing is to be conscious of what you share online! Knowing that employers will most likely be looking through your various social media profiles, are there any posts you won’t want them to see?

To finish off, here’s a short list of what you should look out for when maintaining your online profiles:

Improving online profiles and avoiding mistakesSelf-produced on Adobe Photoshop

References:

BBC News, (2013) “Job Hunting: How to promote yourself online” [Accessed 12th March 2017]

Jobvite, (2014). Social Recruiting Survey [Accessed 12th March 2017]

Nyman, Nik (2014). “Using social media in your job search” [Accessed 12th March 2017]

Ronson, Jon (2015). “How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life” [Accessed 12th March 2017]

TheEmployable, (2014). “How blogging can help you get a job” [Accessed 12th March 2017]

Topic 2: Reflection

Throughout the last two weeks, my understanding on the topic of multiple identities has developed. Originally, I only thought of multiple identities in terms of different accounts for different sites, however since researching more about it I have learnt that it is so much more than that.

In writing my initial post, I learnt to consider multiple identities from the perspective of different personas in the form of cosplay. The need for multiple identities, even within a personal use, seemed to be something that Jordan and Scott hadn’t considered before. Their comments were useful and made me think about things that I hadn’t thought about, including authenticity vs anonymity, and also the debate of security vs privacy.

security-vs-privacy-vs-authenticity-vs-anonymity

Spurred on by my debate with Scott, I ventured to his blog to read more about the authenticity that he had asked me to consider. I commented on his post, eager to share what I thought about the spectrum, and managed to suggest something that hadn’t crossed his mind: that having multiple identities can allow increased anonymity. It was thanks to Scott’s blog that I thought more about the authenticity vs anonymity debate; I hadn’t really explored it in my own post!

Another blog which extended my views on multiple identities was Eloane’s blog, where she explored the subject of multiple identities through a business and marketing perspective. This led to my comment on her post, which challenged one of her points and explored the use of an online identity to gain a following and audience. It appears that while an audience may organically form from the posts you make, it is perhaps inevitable that your identity is influenced by those who are successful in gaining followers, as highlighted in her response.

Furthermore, I hope I can bring the blogging knowledge I have learnt this week into the next topic!