The Implications of a New Kind of “Social”

Social media is the new generation’s way of communicating. Long gone are the days of landlines and snail mail. Today, the Millennials are communicating through Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. But what are the ethical responsibilities of social media users?

Over the past several years, celebrities like Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres and Rick Mercer have addressed rising online issues such as cyber-bullying. Are people so socially disconnected and more tuned into their online connection that words come easier? Is it easier to communicate from behind the screen?

The positives and negatives of the ease of communicating and posting opinions to social media platforms have employers questioning whether there should be training on the ethical use of social networking sites.

“From an employer’s perspective, it’s clear that organizations need enhanced training and communication relative to social networking,” says Ainar D. Aijala, global managing partner of Deloitte Touche. “This is particularly the case when more than half of the future talent pool feels so strongly about social networking that their abilities to access those sites would play into the decision to take a job.”

Is it ethically correct that an employer can search your social profile? This is happening – jobs have been lost and applications have been denied. So what can we do to protect ourselves and our future position?

Consider the impact of your post. More importantly, consider your audience. Professional social media users take into account the perceptions and expectations of others.

— Erin Jones

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