What To Say and What Not To

Discuss one of the ethical issues raised by educational or business use of social media that you consider to be particularly significant.

On the internet, your every word, every posts lives forever. Especially when you’ve a reputation to uphold. Everyone talks about watching what you say on the internet but has it got anything to do with the internet really?

Anything we say comes from us, it is our own responsibility[1]

While researching, I came across this article and incident 19 (Amy’s Baking Co) caught my attention so I did a little digging.


Source

The show’s 45 minutes long so here’s a summary.Samy & Amy Bouzaglo

I went on their facebook page and true enough, there’s retaliations. However when I searched about their restaurant on yelp, there were more positive reviews than negative ones which is conflicting. [2]

So what lead to their outburst in the first place?

Negative reviews on Yelp deeply affected Amy Bouzaglo and she claims the reviews untrue. Whether true or not, is questionable.

Ethics is closely related to morals and etiquette. [3] I believe that negative reviews are perfectly fine – they act as room for improvements. However etiquette comes in when you phrase your negative review, and ethics; the message you put across.

“Had a bad experience at xxx. The services was a little slow and the food was not as nice as I thought. Maybe due to the lack of staff and peak hour. May or may not give it another chance during non-peak hour!”

“Had a horrible experience at xxx! Staffs were non-existent and the food sucked! Totally not worth the wait. If you don’t have the money to hire staff, don’t open a restaurant! Never again at xxx. Please don’t waste your money here!”

Both reviews had the same problem: lack of staff and bad food. But it’s the tonality that makes them entirely different. The purpose of social media in businesses is to allow feedback yes but never to put anyone or any business down which is what the 2nd review did. This is the issue of ethics of communication on social media.

Also, retaliation from business owners on social media never puts them in a good light because “customers are always right“. Plus lashing out and crudely scolding customers certainly make things worse, and unethical.

facebook-meltdown original
Source: Google images

From bad reviews to cyber-bullying.
giphy
Source

Businesses need to have a policy on the uses on social media – what to say, what is acceptable etc. [4] In businesses, reputations are very important and can be tarnished by employees, customers, even employers, on purpose or not. You’re a representation of who you’re working for. That’s why privacy is a constant issue.

For anything that’s unethically posted on social media, the internet we should not blame. It’s the creator of that content who should bear the responsibility.

Although every individual define ‘ethics’ differently. What I think is wrong, you might not think so. Therefore, we should always remember the Golden Rule (Ethics of Reciprocity):
“One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” [5]

And remember, people always remember you for the 1 thing you did wrong. Not the other 58 that you did right.

(435 Words)


[1] Twitter is not responsible for the racism and sexism it exposes, or the social misfits who use it. We are

19 Companies That Made Huge Social Media Fails

Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique + Bistro Facebook

[2] Amy’s Baking Company Reviews on Yelp

[3] Social Media Ethics and Etiquettes

[4] The Ethical Challenges of Social Media

[5] Golden Rule

Unavoidable Ethical Questions About Social Networking

Amy’s Baking Company Freaks Out Online After Epic Meltdown On Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’

Kitchen nightmare comes to an end: Amy’s Baking Company to close

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8 thoughts on “What To Say and What Not To

  1. How’s it going Mabel!

    In reference to Yale’s University Press, “The internet mirrors, magnifies, and makes more visible the good, bad, and ugly of everyday life”. I personally believe that there isn’t anything such as social media ethics, but individual values and principles do exist. These values and principles should resonate within us regardless being online or in real life.

    You mentioned on the notion of businesses needing to have a policy on the uses on social media. In reference to your blog post, it would seem that we established the common grounds that social media and human actions are 2 separate entities, where content in social media is engendered by the actions of our human being.

    Hence shouldn’t the firm focus more on training and developing the “desired” values and ethics they are looking for in the employees rather than implementing on “WHAT TO NOT SAY” policies in context of social media platforms?

    You also mentioned that ” every individual define ‘ethics’ differently. What I think is wrong, you might not think so”. In regards to this, I strongly believe that firms should focus on developing the individual rather than focusing on the “rules” of social media, I feel that this is a problem that should be cured at its roots, if the employees personal values and ethics are in-line with the firms, be it social media or any other form of communication platform, the risk of having negative exposure would be significantly reduced! Do you agree?

    Reference:
    http://www.danah.org/books/ItsComplicated.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Clinton!

      I’m glad we have the same viewpoint that the content in social media is a result of our own personal actions. However we cannot change everyone and not everyone has the same morals and ethics due to each of our different upbringing and culture.

      For example vegans and non-vegans: it would be very hard to understand and change the way they have lived (eating meat) if vegans were to try and influence non-vegans. Or religious differences. Some people have no problem hanging around people of other religions yet there are the handful that would shudder at the idea.

      It would be really nice if it was so simple to just hire people who think the same way as the company or remold a person’s ethics and morals to suit the company and I agree that that would significantly reduce any risk of negative exposure, yes. However, it is just not that simple. Every individual thinks differently and things like ethics and culture are quite resistant to change. Therefore, we can only do what we can do now which is to control what people are allowed to post on social media.

      Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Mabel,

    The examples which you have provided to support your discussion of ethical issues on social media have helped to deepen my understanding of integrity risk. Whereby integrity risk can be created when organization provide incorrect information, making an inappropriate comment or using social media in an inappropriate way.

    I agree to your post that customers have the absolute right to provide any feedback about their experiences. When faced with backlash, companies should be open to feedback and seek to offer solutions, instead of critiquing back.

    Don’t you think that relying solely on the implementation of a policy on social media uses is insufficient? Employees and employers of the organization should be further enhanced with proper physical training with regards to handling of social media related jobs, for example, replying to consumers’ comments/questions. I personally feel that it’s essential for the organization to ensure that their staff are aware of the impact that their speech/actions which can have on the business. As a misstep on organization’s social media platform will impact negatively on the brand which will ultimately leads to contraction of shareholder profits. In Bouzaglo’s case, her company shut down as she posted inappropriate comments about their customers.

    You can visit this website to understand why social media training for employees and employers is a must to protect the company’s reputation. (http://seanclark.com/social-media/use-social-media-training-to-protect-your-companys-reputation/)

    With reference to your point stating that privacy is a constant issue, do we assume that if comments are kept private, it’s ethical to assert such profanity comments about the customers?

    Anyway, your post is interesting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sheryl!

      I’m glad that you have found my post useful!

      And personally I agree that employees and employers should go through vigorous training on the proper way to handle and reply customer feedback and enquires, as known as customer service training. With this customer service skill set, then would they know the right way to talk to the customers, be it on social media, phone calls or the company’s website.

      However, when I talked about policy on uses of social media, I am referring to the things that they are allowed to post on behalf of the company on any company’s social media and the employees’ personal social media. As I have mentioned in my post that once you are in a company, you are a representative of the company in and out of work. It should be the employees’ responsibility to make sure that anything that might cause a negative impact on the company should not be posted anywhere on the internet.

      Which brings me to the point about privacy. If there is any need for an employee with the desire to rant about their bad day at the company, they have to make sure that their personal account is not open for the public to see. And although it is a private account, no names should be brought up as well.

      Hope this clarifies!

      Like

  3. Hello Mabel,

    I just read through your blog post and i really found it extremely interesting on how you covered each ethical issue and how the examples you provided, gave me a better understanding.

    Just a small question, you mentioned people having different ways of defining ethical and ‘Ethics is closely related to morals and etiquette.’ Which i strongly agree with. However, when there is such an issue where it leads up to the definition of ‘ethical’, whose should we listen to? Do you agree that the definition of ethical should be stated clear to everyone in the organization beforehand?

    Thank you 🙂

    Like

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