By Emily Hamann @emhamann93 and Julia Hofmann @Juliahofmann9
Class on Wednesday February 1st was an exciting and engaging class about ethics, responsibility, and major fails. We began by discussing the basics of ethics and discovered how our values and beliefs affect our decision-making, and then explored real life ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas brought up topics of disclosure, or revealing everything or secret information, transparency vs. translucency and newly emerging phenomenons like astro-turfing and ghost blogging, which is when companies write blog reviews about themselves for better ratings and when someone writes a blog under the guise of being another person.
Sometimes you just need to “Shut up” and “Go Dark”:
After learning these terms, we delved into real life experiences and debated the ethics and mindset behind these posts. Posts dedicated to dead celebrities like Carrie Fisher and Prince made it clear to us that some companies need to just mind their own business and not involve themselves with such topics, or in the words of Kelli Matthews, “Just shut up.” (Which we can all agree that after watching Kelli Matthews drag these companies, we would never want to be on the receiving end of that!)
Just think, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
We also saw posts that had hints of racism and sexism and discussed how some of these posts and advertisements were approved because we were all thinking, “How the heck did that happen,” while cringing and posting gifs of disbelief and discomfort. This highlighted the importance of emphasizing ethical behavior within a business and the responsibility that we have as we begin to work for and act on behalf of brands. We, as creators in this industry, should not promote or work on something that we would not be comfortable sharing with our friends or family because that work will be associated with us and could follow us around forever.
What we have to remember as budding professionals:
Finally, we discussed the concerns associated with maintaining an ethical environment. Time is a big factor, as it takes time to create thoughtful content and to manage and control the quality of the content released by a brand. Information overload is another concern due to the high volume of information we receive on a daily basis. Unofficial or rogue accounts are a threat to the image of the brand they parody, and we also have to worry about losing control when inundated with negative comments. All in all, we learned what not to do and discussed good ways to handle these tricky situations if they were to arise in the future. We also all learned Beyoncé is expecting twins and announced it on the first day of Black History month, which is pretty flipping cool.
- Always think, “What could go wrong?”
- In some situations no one cares what you have to say, so, “Go dark.”
- Learn from the mistakes and cringe worthy moments we saw in class and remember, Carrie Fisher was an iconic women not a spokesperson for Cinnabon.