T.O.W. 3 – Social Media Monitoring

So the topic of the week this week asked us the question: Is social media monitoring ethical?

I had never really thought about that before. I guess I had just assumed that because I had to do a Social Media Monitoring project for a class that it was ethical, but is it really?

On the one hand, it is ethical. Those who post information on the internet post it out there for the public to see. If they did not want their information to be seen, then they should not have posted it. The internet (or the “Groundswell”) is a highly public world and can be accessed by so many people. [This is exactly why so many teachers warn you about those pictures on Facebook.] As someone who uses social media, you should expect for your postings to be seen.

On the other hand, it’s kind of stalkerish. When I tweet, I know that my followers can see it, but I guess I don’t think about strangers reading it. The same goes with what I write on my Facebook pages. Although there are ways to block people and make pages private, there are always ways around that, and thats when I feel the unethical part may come into play.

I guess in the end, it depends on how you go about in your monitoring.

If those who have put the information “out there” have done so freely and willingly, then yes, it is ethical and at your disposal.
But if you have to sneak around private sites and “hijack” your way into seeing what other people are saying, then no it most likely is not ethical.

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January 27, 2010. PRCA 3030, Topic of the Week.

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