Topic 4: Reflection

The learning curve from this topic has been exponential! There has been such great peer-to-peer interaction, and some stimulating intellectual conversations have emerged as a result. I chose to pursue a more technical aspect of social media and examine how tracking technologies are used in the corporate world and the extent to which they are (un)ethical. Others have explored some equally original avenues: I gained an awareness of the prevalence of selectivity associated with using social media for recruitment from Caiti; Wil’s post underscored the intrinsic nature of regulation and responsibility; and Cherie’s post on educational use of social media shed light on an entirely different array of ethical complications.

Word cloud of Topic 4 blog posts.
Figure 4: Word cloud of a selection of UOSM2008 Topic 4 blog posts (including my own). Author’s own diagram created using http://www.wordclouds.com

It is clear from this word cloud that privacy and [free] speech appear are common concerns, with the Twitter platform being mentioned most. Unsurprisingly, questions and unethical are frequently mentioned terms, indicating the convoluted nature of the topic; ethics often raises more questions than it answers.

With 80% of users concerned with privacy (Schiller, 2010), clearly we all feel obliged to use technology in our everyday lives, yet it seems that we unanimously agree not enough is being done within legislation to protect individuals’ identity and react appropriately to serious violations (see Scott; Oliver; Emily).

The most significant finding for me has been the intrusive feature of corporate social media use, and the controversial strategies business are prepared to employ so as to harvest user data (Abril et al., 2012). Unfortunately, the consequences of digital practices can be adverse and considerable too (Catherine’s post). Work on this topic must be holistic if agreement is to be reached over legislation, and accountability, to ensure user’s rights are upheld.

Words: 300

References

Abril, P., Levin, A. and Del Riego, A. (2012) Blurred boundaries: social media privacy and the twenty-first-century employee. American Business Law Journal, 49 (1), 63-124.

Schiller, K. (2010) Companies reacting to consumers’ views on targeted ads. Available from: http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/News/News-Feature/Companies-Reacting-to-Consumers-Views-on-Targeted-Ads-70271.htm [Accessed on 23 March 2017].

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