As an Entertainment Industries & Technology major and public relations minor, I decided to take a Social Media Campaigns class. Meaning that social media is so versatile between any industry, I figured it would be a great class to fill an elective requirement.
Part of this class is making blog posts, which is something I am not used to at all. However, I am very grateful that I now have an excuse to create a blog and stick with it. I found this current chapter on the ethics of social media, very interesting. Everyone stops to think about the advantages of social media, but there are a lot of times where people might forget that social media can be harmful.
If you are going to work with a company doing social media, it is important that you follow certain moral guidelines that might influences others to behave or interact in a different way. From further reading, I was able to find examples of when social media was not used in a positive way. These examples might also be considered the nine deadly sins. I will be discussing two of them.
One disadvantage to social media would be that people might create a social media page with good intentions to increase engagement. However, there are often times those pages get abandoned. If you are trying to increase engagement for a company or a brand, it is important that you are able to stay consistent.
The end of my freshman year of college, I created a Twitter update account for an upcoming pop artist from Wisconsin. If you don’t know what an update account is, it is a fan made account where you share news articles, new music, etc. on an artist. Essentially, you could think of it as an online street team. In the beginning, it was a lot of fun. I was able to talk to fans that also liked the artist’s music. I was able to use my creative side and create fun profile and backgrounds for the account.
Meaning I am a college student, I had to put that account on hold. It was starting to feel like it was more work than fun and would take up a lot of my time especially during tour season. Luckily, the page was just for my entertainment so I didn’t have to worry about letting a brand or company down.
If you have a Twitter account, you might be aware of some brands such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, etc. taking stabs at eachother. This can be seen as creating a flame war, whether the companies mean ill will or not. As a brand, it is important that you maintain your image and don’t do anything to damage it.
Most of these pokes can seem harmless, but not everyone will think of it that way. For example, a Twitter user by the name Soloucity tweeted at Wendy’s “So @wendy’s u just gonna let @IHOb sell burgers on your block? thought you were the og?”.
Wendy’s responded to the Twitter user by saying “Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.” Some people might think of this tweet as humorous but as a company you need to make sure that you aren’t using the brand’s Twitter as your own personal account.
One tweet that could be taken as ill will would be one from McDonald’s that was directed towards the current president, Donald Trump. The tweet says “@realDonaldTrump you are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands.”
Political beliefs aside, as a company, you should refrain from showing your personal beliefs. Especially, when you are cyberbullying someone as big as the president. If you are joking around with other brands about their food, it is completely different than attacking an individual, despite what your political beliefs are.
Overall, I learned more about social media ethics that I feel I can take with me anywhere. Whether you are using your personal account or a brand account, it is important that you are thinking before you post things. One simple small “joke” could ruin your brand’s image or your personal reputation. Flame wars can be funny, but it is also important that they aren’t frequent and not too hurtful.