Socially Responsible?

I LOVE social media.  It’s the wild west in cyberspace. Not only can I post anything I want on this blog, my Facebook account, my Twitter account(s) or any number of other outlets (look to the right) I subscribe to; but I can search and monitor (virtually) anything anyone else is saying, tweeting, video-taping, etc. as well – and all while talking to others through the same venues about what I’m seeing, reading, experiencing…  (you get the idea).

wtfNow, THAT’s truly social.

Seeing my adoration of social media, a friend of mine posted this article from The Eastern Echo on my Facebook wall.  I assume she did it to rib me a little for what looks like backlash against social media outlets like Facebook, MySpace and especially Twitter for not having more robust security options. But the writer of The Echo brings up some pretty solid points.

The Echo writes:

…like any responsible organization, Facebook finally updated its privacy settings a few years ago after users encountered plenty of embarrassing situations. You can now control which of your friends are able to see those great pictures of you passed out on the bathroom floor with genitals scrawled on your face.

But the truth is, Big Brother isn’t watching anymore, he’s tweeting.
Twitter, too, has security options that can allow users to select who can see their tweets. Unfortunately, people just don’t seem to know about them — or even worse, they don’t care.

They go on to say:

So should we all delete our Twitter accounts?

In my opinion, that would be the easy way out. …

But we can’t continue blaming every new social networking site for our blatant misuse of its technology. The answer isn’t to stop using the Internet, it’s to start using it more responsibly.

And parents? Don’t blame the Internet every time your kid is caught sending naked pictures of themselves to their friends. It’s not Twitter, it’s you.

Sweeeeeet!

So, here’s my take (as written on The Eastern Echo’s article post):

It’s not Facebook’s, MySpace’s, or Twitter’s fault that the “victims” of such horrible, depraved mismanagement of mental scruples are eventually caught.  Social media is exactly that…  SOCIAL.  If you stand up at your next cocktail party and announce that you’re getting breast implants… well…  it’s out there and the repercussions are yours to deal with.  Similarly, you can’t charge Twitter (et al) with keeping idiots form incriminating themselves or filtering content to our children.

It’s simply a matter of ethics. How long has it been since an Ethics 101 course was over-booked?  Can we blame parenting?  Sure, but don’t forget all of the lackadaisical marketing executives, most media outlets and virtually all of Hollywood.

The future of communication is going to be driven through social media. Heck, I even found this article through a friend of mine on Facebook.  So, technically, it’s my responsibility, as a marketer and as a role model for following generations to participate in social media with ethical, reasonable candor.  It’s my responsibility to educate and to foster those values.

Long lost are the days of plopping the kids in front of the boob-tube and call it babysitting.  Because the boob-tube has been replaced with YouTube and we KNOW what can be found there.

There are a lot of unethical, unreasonable people out there.  There always has been.  But we can’t expect the social media developers to protect us.  That’s our job.

Posted and disseminated…

Food for thought.

Keep Cooking (reasonably ethical conversations?)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef

4 Comments
  1. Very nicely put. I think there are three types of people out there who use social media:

    1)People like us who use social media to be SOCIAL and network and find out new things about our industry.

    2) People who join social networking sites just to say they have an account (to be in the “in” crowd), only to leave it sitting and collecting dust for months.

    3) Then there are those who are completely overzealous about social media and share entirely too much with the world (I mean, do I really care that you’re brushing your teeth right now? No.) Of course, when they end up sharing something they wished they didn’t, it’s obviously not their fault, but Facebook’s (Twitter, etc).

    I think this would be worth showing a lot of people (especially those my age). I think it’s important to know that there’s so much more to social media than sharing pictures and playing Mafia Wars.

    In the short time I’ve known you, I’ve learned A LOT about social media that I didn’t know, the main thing being to BE SOCIAL. Thanks BrandChef! 🙂

    • Well, Lindsey, you don’t know how much that means to me. Being the “mature” age that I am, I sometimes have to back up and think about how “GenY” perceives my comments. Much of social media and social media marketing is being pioneered by you and your generation. So what I say needs to resonnate with you as well as GenX and the Boomers.

      As you so aptly pointed out; social media is much more than tweeting “I’m brushing my teeth.” If that was the case, it would have died months, if not years ago. The potential for stretching your brand (both professionally and personally) is limitless now. It’s just a matter of what you want your brand to be. If you post “questionable” content through social media, then so will be your brand.

      When it comes to responsibility, even when I was a child (way back in the stone age) we knew the kids that were “bad news.” Their reputation preceded them like the bulldog on the hood of a MACK TRUCK. Nowadays, that truck is roaring through the interwebs at 100 mph and isn’t going to stop for anything. Professionals like you and I simply get to be the crossing guard.

      Keep Cooking!
      Andrew B. Clark
      The Brand Chef

  2. I loved the line…”And parents? Don’t blame the Internet every time your kid is caught sending naked pictures of themselves to their friends. It’s not Twitter, it’s you.”
    So very true! It all starts at home with ground rules.

    • Exactly, Pete!

      I’m not pointing my finger at every parent. A lot of the parents do a great job instilling values and an ethical base for their children. But as always, some families fall through the cracks. It’s been that way since the beginning of time. It’s just with the ease of access these days, the education needs to start earlier and continue until that foundation has been set.

      To the credit of the author, it’s not the responsibility of the social media developers to set those ground rules. Monitoring, mentoring and management of content goes a long way in assuring this kind of nonsense is avoided.

      Thanks for stopping by, Pete. Hope we can talk soon.

      Keep Cooking!
      Andrew B. Clark
      The Brand Chef