Social media marketing professionals, academics, and gurus dedicate much of their time adjusting from a time of traditional marketing into a time of virtual reality and globalized community. For blooming marketers, or other content creators looking for a way into the social media market, this adjustment calls to question ethical decision-making on part of the organization. Social media disclosures and best practice documents help employees create and maintain content that advocates for truth.
Understandably, consumers wonder and worry about a vast amount of their data floating around the digital sphere because of their relationships with organizations. Time and time again are people asked to send out their names, ages, gender, income, nationality/race/ethnicity, credit card and banking information, and locations. To be fair, some individuals may not even have the access, ability, or reasonable safety enough to publish anything basic, like a name.
Ten odd years ago, I remember my uncle following a waitress to the cash register to make sure his banking information wasn’t being written down on her apron. The world has changed, and our understanding of what the right and wrong messages are is clouded with the urgency to consume, and to do it efficiently. The “ethical” discussions are no longer held within closed spaces.
When a person pushes the “publish” button on a post that could change the landscape of an organization, the efficient consumption (and distribution) of information suddenly poses a problem. Organizations no longer have full control over the words being used to describe their businesses.
However, organizations have the option of actively participating in ethical discussions with other marketing professionals, academics, gurus, and consumers in an online community. As much as marketing is about sharing stories, ethical decision-making for an online community might depend on them in order to motivate change and anticipate further obstacles.