Ethics and Social Media

Today’s challenge…

What does Ethics mean to you?  Comment below…

Let’s examine the meaning of Ethics…  And this comes from an article on the Santa Clara University website and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

ethics-and-social-media“What, then, is ethics? Ethics is two things. First, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons.”

“Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standards. As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one’s standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Ethics also means, then, the continuous effort of studying our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based.”

So how then does this apply to Social Media and your Business in the digital space?

Many industries have codes of ethics.  For example, Leadership Ethics, Sports Ethics, Social Sector Ethics, & Bioethics.  These are just a few examples.  Some of the more common are Legal, Medical, & Journalism.  Does your industry have a code of Ethics?  I bet it does!  Do you know what standards you are held to?

If you know and have a good understanding of the code of ethics that governs your industry, you’ll have a better handle on what is expected of you in Society, which translates directly to your digital footprint.

Let me give you an example:  Interpreters have a code of ethics that they must adhere to.  Now, if an Interpreter jumps on FB and shares a rant about how one of the defendants in today’s trial began yelling at the Judge and “quoted” what the defendant said, would this be a violation of their code of Ethics?  YES!  It is.  Canon 3. Confidentiality Privileged or confidential information acquired in the course of interpreting or preparing a translation shall not be disclosed by the interpreter without authorization. This interpreter could be sanctioned or lose their certification all together.

So let’s go back to SM again.  This interpreter shared confidential information from a trial.  While the trial transcript at some point will become public record, it is not ethical for this interpreter to share this information.  

Perhaps most people wouldn’t know this.  But what about others’ in her industry?  What about the attorney’s that she provides work for?  This could and most likely will damage her reputation and anyone who sees her post will loose confidence in her work.  Now she has lost the trust of her colleagues and clients.

Ethical issues are a part of your overall Voice on Social Media.

Circle complete.  One last bit of advice.  NEVER post in anger, frustration or in the heat of the moment.  Why?  Because you can never take it back!  Despite what you may think, the DELETE button doesn’t delete it from the internet forever.  It will live somewhere on a server and someone will find it one day.
Aimee SkillinDo you need ethics, social media or cultural intelligence training in your office?  Let me know.  We love to educate and provide useful, valuable information in an entertaining way.  No boring presentations will be given!  Contact us at or


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