Celebrities and Twitter: Not Always a Match Made in Heaven

When you are a public figure the world is a different place than it is for the Average Joe. Not only do you get the attention of thousands, first class accommodations, etc…you are also held to a higher public standard including the public space of social media. Unfortunately this is a notion many in the public eye have not accepted.

Social media has allowed our culture to take freedom of speech to the extreme. Despite T & C’s, there is limited censorship on social media. This is causing some serious issues to arise.

Be careful little bird what you tweet!

Be careful little bird what you tweet!

In journalism there is a risk to both the journalist and the employer if one takes advantage of social media to discuss content not aligned with the station. Reporters are fully aware of their expectations at work. They should view social media as a continuation of the work place and hold the same standards in this online environment as they do in the corporate sphere. In my opinion I view the behavior exercised in our lecture and reading material this week to be both inappropriate and unprofessional.

While many would argue this challenges freedom of speech when you are associated with high profile employers your content is ultimately a reflection of their views. I would encourage public figures to start private profiles where there professional life is not disclosed or discussed. Only close family and friends are allowed to view this profile. Otherwise, stop complaining and play by the professional rules on social media.

Then there are the instances when expressing yourself is taken to a whole other level…viva la Kanye West. Again, in my opinion inappropriate, poor class, and a terrible example for those who view him as a role model. It is not ethically right to use social media like Kanye did when he attacked Jimmy Kimmel for pretty much no reason. There really is no words to dissect this situation…just don’t ever act like Kanye on social media.

My interpretation of the Kanye West/Jimmy Kimmel Twitter encounter

My interpretation of the Kanye West/Jimmy Kimmel Twitter encounter

Bottom line: a public figure cannot have freedom of speech on social media like “normal” people do. While fame brings greats things to some people’s lives, it can also inhibit them from certain privileges others enjoy. In my opinion, not being able to express yourself freely on social media isn’t the end of the world for high profile individuals. There are plenty of us who choose to keep their opinions to ourselves online.

Graphic Images in the News: The Boston Marathon Bombing Lesson

April 15, 2013 is a day many of us will never forget, the day of the Boston Marathon Bombings. While many were there to experience the terror most of us can only identify with this terror attack by the images and coverage on our news and social media outlets. I remember typing the hashtags #BostonStrong and #BostonMarathon into my Instagram account on the day of the Boston Marathon. Within an instant thousands of images flooded in. Some of these images were showing respect but some of the images were downright graphic. I am not one for blood and the amount of images showing injuries was disturbing. I guess I can only blame myself since I am the one who searched these hashtags on social media, but part of me believes there should be some sort of mediation when tragedies happen and people take to social media. Boston_Marathon_bombing_first_bomb_site_54_minute_before_explosion

People aren’t going to social media just to post content anymore; they’re online to gain visibility. Throughout the coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing news networks like CNN asked viewers to tweet/share images at the scene using a specific hashtag. I remember going to CNN.com and viewing these images, again more filled with serious injuries. I completely understand, this is a real world terror attack with serious implications but organizations must remember their audience and those involved when reporting on tragedies.  This is sensitive material that should be treated with care.

One graphic image that went viral showed a man being pushed on a wheelchair missing some of his leg. You can see the man’s face. You can almost feel his pain. You can sense the urgency and terror that occurred at the finishline on that day. You can understand the seriousness of the event. It gave me goose bumps the first time I saw the picture. This is perhaps the reason why many news organizations chose to use the picture during their coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing. While the image evokes so many emotions is it ethically right to broadcast it across major news networks?

When this question was posed to me I immediately thought “no.” There is doctor/patient confidentiality and while this happened in a public space this man’s health is private. There is no reason to show the state of his health on national television.

The second thought that popped into my head was “what about the audience.” Coverage of the tragedy wasn’t just occurring during the primetime hours when children are usually asleep, it was 24/7 and everyone was glued to the television. I’m sure minors saw images and heard things that were not appropriate during this coverage. News outlets must remember their ethics in these situations and report what is good for the general public, including minors.

There were many mistakes that occurred in the news world during the Boston Marathon coverage. From misinformation to graphic images, we can learn from. I truly believe images graphic in nature should not used in television. It is not just for the victim or the audience. I hope in the future the FCC will enforce guidelines that are stricter on graphic images and victim’s privacy.

The Boston Marathon Bombing: What We Can Learn

I was part of the ¼ of people who learned about the Boston Bombing from social media. Until recently (I injured cartilage in my knee) I was a very avid runner. I follow Runner’s World on Facebook and Twitter and received a push notification from their posts about the bombing. I immediately felt a personal connection to this act of terror and became absorbed in its coverage. Throughout the coverage of the Boston Bombing there was much speculation and misinformation spread, the truth was somewhere in-between.images

I found it very interesting that CNN’s incorrect tweet about the arrest of the suspect was shared more than the correct post. I believe people thrive on the drama, especially in an instance such as the Boston Bombing. Spreading dramatizations is more “entertaining” than no new information. In the case of CNN I believe they should have promoted the correct information more. From an ethical standpoint I would love to see our social networks develop some sort of technology to retweet correct information whenever misinformation is put out first. With more and more people using social networks as a news source I believe this could be pivotal in both accuracy and ethics.

While the news only discussed the Boston Bombings for what seemed like months brands began to recognize opportunities for their businesses from all the coverage. I generally support Ford. I like their cars and many of my family members drive their cars. That being said I was not impressed with their “thank you” message after the bombing. In my opinion this was very distasteful. Many brands sponsored the Boston Marathon and I’m sure their logos were on people’s clothing or in some of the images yet we did not see them advertise a “Nike, official sponsor of first responders” ad. It just wasn’t appropriate in my opinion.

Thank-you-BostonOn Facebook I often see people post images of sick people undergoing treatments. Many of the captions on these images will ask people to like for support. I don’t see a problem with these posts. When the Boston Bombings occurred there were a few posts like this floating around on social media. My feelings on this content aren’t changed by the fact that there were victims from the bombing in these images, my issue is that a reporter posted the image. I don’t know the complete back story of this post. If the reporter got permission from the victim then I believe it is okay to share, if they did not receive consent then it is inappropriate.

When tragedies arise the desire for awareness does too. People become very involved in the story and developments. We can learn both journalism and ethical lessons from our past. The Boston Bombings can teach us how to respond properly during the incident and the weeks after.

Social Media: Not a Bad Thing in the Workplace

SocialmediaworkplaceSocial media has become such an integral part of our lives that most of us don’t even realize we are on these networks consistently throughout the day. These instances are not just confined to our personal time, but often people access their social profiles while on the clock. Is this wrong? Are there exceptions when it is acceptable to be on social media while at work?

The work I do can often blur together. I constantly stare at computer screens and television assets. I am a firm believer that a ten-minute break every few hours helps my productivity and focus. I will often times take a walk, grab a coffee from the cafeteria or browse my social media accounts to breathe. These little breaks do not have a negative impact on my work performance. I don’t believe they are ethically wrong. Am I the only one that feels this way, especially when it comes to social media breaks?

#NickiatHSN

#NickiatHSN

In my field that majority of people I work with list their professions in their biography and often promote their shows. For instance, this past week we launched Nicki Minaj’s fragrance exclusively at HSN. Our whole beauty team was posting about it. We were so excited about the social media buzz surrounding it and our work involved in this amazing launch. In my opinion this created a greater sense of teamwork between my colleagues and me. Ultimately I do not believe it is a bad thing to talk about work on social media, as long as it is ethically correct (viva la Best Buy guidelines).

For this reason I do not believe it is necessary for corporations to be strict on employees for their social media use at work. The relationship we are fostering and the environment we are creating is a positive one that brings us closer together. I believe that is invaluable in the workplace. However, I do believe there should be some guidelines to have some sense of control over our fluid social networks.

I believe a great way for companies to ensure their social media policies are understood is to bring them up in meetings every now and then. I discussed in my reading response how my company does quarterly town hall meetings. In these meetings business needs and practices are discussed. I think this would be a great way for my employer to discuss our social media in the workplace stance.

Do you believe companies should be stricter about social media use in the workplace? Do you think social media can encourage positive behaviors?

The Ethical Dilemma: Social Media and News Reporting

I consistently check my privacy setting on social media (probably about once a month). People can learn a lot of information about you from social media. I want to protect myself and am selective about who I want to see my information. I believe this is important because of the situation discussed below…

In news reporting the phrase “no guts, no glory” holds a lot of value, at least in my personal opinion. There is a line in journalism that separates average journalists from devout journalists. Devout journalists are willing to go the extra mile and get information, to give their audience something different from other news outlets and to earn their trust.

I applaud these journalists. They put themselves in dangerous situations. They devote their whole lives to covering stories. Does utilizing social media make their stories better or is social media just a nuance in today’s culture that should be observed and not reported?

To me these seem like easy questions to answer. Of course I would use social media, I see it used in news stories all the time. The difference between these social posts and the one in question is that these posts are on public profiles. This is situation brings up a whole new arena of debate in social media. Mapplinks-Post-1

Seeing as the situation presented in this week’s lecture deals with murder I believe I would handle social media with extreme care. Like many mentioned in the debate I would investigate all possible resources before confronting the suspect on social media. I would see if we had mutual friends and try to attain as much information about this person from our “friends.” “Friending” this person and using their content would be the last thing I would do. It would not make me comfortable and I would let my bosses at my outlet know.

The great thing about social media and today’s culture is that we can learn from other’s “mistakes”. This is acutally a non-fiction incident that occurred back in 2009. The reporter of this story “friended” the suspect on Facebook, got leads, and then asked to interview the subject. The subject was upset and this made the reporter feel as though she used her new Facebook “friend.” She said she regretted using Facebook as a reporting tool.

What do you think? Is this reporter “soft?” Do feelings and ethics matter in reporting or is it all about the facts? What would you have done?

How can social media social media outlets help users control their content? I like that Facebook gives you the option to choose who you want to see published content. I believe they should make this feature more prevalent. I would also love to see them alert users more effectively when privacy setting are changes. For instance, make users look at privacy settings as the homescreen when changes are made and accept the changes before they are able to get to their newsfeed. This would force us to re-evaluate who sees what.

How can professionals learn how to use social media effectively but still respect privacy? I believe the murder story mentioned in this week’s lecture really put things in perspective to me. If someone has a public profile and willing posts content for all to see then by all means use it. If it’s private it remains private.

Why Data Mining?

Data-mining-graphicScary, creepy, invasive…these are a few words that come to my mind when I think of “data mining”. It worries me just how much information websites have about me just based on simple Internet practices I overlook (i.e. liking something on Facebook). In today’s culture I guess this is something I am just going to have to accept. But could companies be doing more to make this topic less scary for consumers?

I believe brands need to be upfront and honest when it comes to data mining. Many people have the wrong impression about this resource and what it’s used for. My parents are a prime example. They refuse to buy anything online, don’t use Internet banking, and don’t share too much information about themselves on social media. The harsh reality they refuse to accept is that even though they are very careful with their personal information companies are still practicing data mining on them. If companies made data mining less ambiguous and made it clear to users what was being done with their information and what information they were collecting I believe people like my parents would share more.

I completely understand the purpose of having data mining. If it can save me money, increase business, create expansion, detect fraud and lower my taxes then please be my guest to whatever information I can give you. It’s when companies are just collecting my information, not disclosing what they are gathering, and only influencing me to buy more products that raise some concerns for me. It’s not only a worry but an annoyance on many social media sites (specifically Facebook).