Let’s Get Ethical

By this point, you have learned about social media websites, the best strategies for creating content, and even how to check and see how successful your content is, but now it is time to think about how your content will affect/is affecting the people who see it.

When it comes to social media, producers have certain ethical obligations when creating and spreading content.  We have to take into account what considerations we should take into account before posting anything or how our personal social media presence might affect our organization’s media presence.

Things to Consider

When posting things for your organization or campaign, there are a few things to think about before hitting that “Post” button.  Can your content offend or insult anyone?  Is it helpful?  Can it be easily misinterpreted?

Understanding what is best to post or not to post can be difficult, but there are ways of taking some of the pressure off you.  Different websites, such as the TEAM Up page, have created different sets of guidelines for posting about specific content.

For example, TEAM Up created a set of social media guidelines for posting about mental health and suicide prevention.  Of course, this is not the end-all-be-all for what you can and cannot post, but taking these guidelines into consideration can save you a lot of grief in the long run.

Contrary to what your natural instinct may be, avoid going trendy with your content.  The Think Progress website referred to one tragic attempt of being trendy that eventually crashed and burned, i.e. “The Dress” made by the Salvation Army.

salvation army

“The Dress” was originally created to address the issue of domestic violence by using the then-popular topic of the White and Gold Dress vs. the Black and Blue Dress.  Unfortunately, this attempt backfired and brought on an onslaught of angry comments about the ad.  While the original “The Dress” trend was lighthearted, using it in relation to a serious topic made the issue of domestic violence seem “less serious.”

Dealing with Negative Comments

All of your posts can’t be winners, so there might be a time when your organization receives backlash from something you post.  Now this does not always call for taking down the post itself.  In one instance, MAC Cosmetics was slammed with a wave of racist comments after they posted a picture of an African American woman’s lips on their page.  Sometimes the negative reaction people have to content is because of their own personal prejudices, but that is not to say the content itself is bad.

So what do you do when people start commenting negatively on your post?  An article by Insight180 offes a few tips on dealing with negative comments:

  • Always respond. Whether it is your organization actually responding or the community responding, it is always important to address the issue.  By responding with a positive tone shows that you and your organization have nothing to hide.
  • Contact the commenter privately.  By contacting them privately, you are showing the commenter that you are trying to resolve the situation.  It also allows your organization to control the negative content by keeping it in a private message rather than on the public page where everyone can see it.
  • Delete and Ban. If a commenter is posting profane, unjustified, or rude comments on a post, it is best to just delete the comment itself and, again, contact the user privately.  If you come across a user persistent on posting inappropriate comments, it may just be better to ban or block them altogether.

At the end of the day, there are certain obligations producers have when creating, posting, and maintaining content.  Remember to think before you post and create/maintain a safe environment for your audience to discuss and comment.


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