Posting Ethically

By Isabelle Shattuck

In today’s society it has become a social norm to post on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat about our day to day lifestyle. Just by watching your friends Snapchat or Instagram story you can see where they are, what they are doing, and who they are with. So often these are the apps that we mindlessly scroll through when we are bored, procrastinating, or when trying to find specific information. This social media phenomenon has become such a normality in our lives that we sometimes forget to post ethically, or don’t notice that we aren’t being ethical.

Being ethical on social media has evolved into a much bigger social issue than it once was. Now that social media is at our fingertips it has become increasingly easier to quickly post or see what the latest trends are. However, the flaw in this concept is people begin to get caught up in likes, popularity, and attention that they will unintentionally post unethically. For example, in class last week we discussed how Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian neglected to hashtag that they were posting for an advertisement until days after their initial post. This is considered unethical since the initial picture was supposed to be an advertisement for the brand or company. There are rules to posting ethically however, a lot of the time these rules are forgotten, unknown or overlooked.

Social media is a unique place where companies and individuals can share almost anything. It is a place where self image and personal branding is amplified. If the rules of posting ethically are ignored then individuals can share just about anything regarding their employer or personal life. For instance, when posting people want to see relatable content that is credible allowing them to develop trust in a business or a personal brand. It is also important to remember that people are looking to see full disclosure and transparency in all types of posts. Recently Fyre festival has been brought back into the spotlight after Netflix and Hulu released documentaries showing the false advertisement of the failed music festival. These documentaries help to emphasize that the ads for this festival were far from ethical and were very translucent. Unethical ads like Fyre festival trick people into believing that they are trustworthy and destroy the relationships between the individual and the brand.

It is important in social media to provide a translucent and honest branding; no one wants to be tricked or feel taken advantage of by a false advertisement. Trust is the key when it comes to making connections with friends, followers, employers, or brands especially when advertising and posting for something.

Twitter: @ishattuck

LinkedIn: Isabelle Shattuck

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This Article Has 9 Comments
  1. TJ McCourt says:

    I really enjoyed this post! I couldn’t agree more that it is important to provide translucent branding. I have felt quit angry when buying a product that I’ve seen on an influencer or celebrities social media that did not seem up to the standard that they posted about. I always appreciate when an influencer states that they would not post positive feedback about an organization if they did not think the product was good.

  2. Abby Wolff says:

    This was such an interesting and relatable blog post. I reflect often about my social media use, and how I come across versus my intentions. Ethics are important to our personal use with social media, but also for brands and celebrities. The Fyre Festival example you brought up was exactly what not to do in terms of ethics due to how they mislead and took advantage of so many people. Hopefully, a lot of brands learned from that and moving forward will be even more conscientious about being ethical because honestly goes a long way.

  3. Hannah Blair says:

    I really enjoyed this post! I agree that nowadays people get too caught up in the popularity of posts and don’t pay as much attention to whether their posts are ethically correct. You’re completely right about the importance of providing authentic posts on social media. I always look for authentic, honest people in the people I follow on social media. Trust is definitely the most important thing when it comes to brands and their followers.

  4. SSM Student says:

    I loved reading this post! I completely agree that posting ethically is such an important factor in regards to social media. People really value authenticity and transparency with posts and content, so it definitely matters how businesses portray themselves and their brands. I love how you mentioned Fyre Festival, because that is a great example of advertising gone wrong. Once people feel tricked, they will lose interest and confidence in the brand itself. Having strong connections benefits both the followers and the company, so building those relationships should be prioritized.

  5. Rui Sun says:

    I found a lot of useful information in your blog. Now social media is developing very fast. People often ignore ethics while using it. This also leads many transparent problems in the social media world, because of low limitation (every body is available to use it) in social media. People are relatively “reckless” to use it. Thus, people should pay more attention on ethics when using social media.

  6. Bodie Crist says:

    I like this post a lot because it does a good job discussing a scholarly topic that is clear to media professionals, but it also sheds light on an important topic that may not be a clear to someone who lacks social media literacy. One aspect that I think is important to mention is that influencers should not only maintain transparency for the sake of the brand that they have partnered with, but they should also strive for clarity to preserve the trust that they have built with their audience. In order for influencers to survive, they need to be capable of maintaining their own ethical code.

  7. Daymon Standridge says:

    Great post! I agree with you that it is so important to be ethical when posting on social media because if not, you can lose credibility and your reputation can become tarnished. It is very common to post things that may not be true because social media is where people showcase the light parts of their lives. Not a lot of people want to open the curtain and show the parts that aren’t pleasant. Social media gets complicated when the ethics is blurred.

  8. Kirbi Campbell says:

    This is such a great and relevant post. I absolutely agree that not only trust but action and follow through is so vital in any relationship especially a business one such as one between a brand and an influencer. It is so interesting to watch as the rules for social media develop as the trends and technology change daily, it is so hard to keep up with what should and should not be done in a post or anything along those lines. If the trend of brand/influencer relationships continue, it will be vital to respect these rules because they will only get stronger and more strict I presume.

  9. Destiny Alvarez says:

    Thank you for bringing light to this topic! One of my areas of study is media ethics. I am super passionate about how media professionals function in relationships between other professionals and consumers. The digital bump in media has really taken all of our standard rules and thrown them out of the window. In the new world of influencers ethics is KEY. As a media professional you can look at a post from an influencer and know that it’s an advertisement and see no indication from the poster that it is. This can cause the brand and the influencer to lose credibility and face negative repercussions. As a consumer, I would be livid if the influencers or brands that I followed weren’t advertising ethically. It would make me lose trust and feel cheated.

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