Reflection on Topic 4

This weeks topic has been, without doubt, my favourite topic to research and think about during the module so far. I have really enjoyed researching and considering the ethics behind businesses using social media as a platform to enhance their popularity.

My own research highlighted the ways in companies manipulate social media in order to promote themselves through a number of ways such as false and unreported endorsements and how often social media is used as a means of self-promotion. My comments on Coca-Cola joining the social media trend for the ALS charity were controversial with my coursemates as I implied that Coke were simply jumping on the trend to appear ethical and gain popularity. However, I still stand by this view and believe that in addition to remaining current and up to date, social media also allows companies to promote a delberately manipulated and positive image of themselves to their clients, which consequently raises the issue of ethics.

The posts my course mates created in response to the topic were equally really interesting and I found the differing angles they took on the topic to be really thought-provoking. Reading Din’s blog was interesting as I found that we had taken very similar approaches to the topic and had both agreed that companies can invade your privacy through their monitoring of online behaviour which is therefore unethical. However, I had not considered those who create dishonest Youtube videos as unethical prior to the topic and reading Din’s blog, yet I will think much more carefully about the purpose of clips more in the future.

Adam’s blog was also great and I was intrigued to read of how companies had even used natural disasters as an excuse to promote their products or services with particular reference to Urban Outfitters offering free shipping in the wake of a storm hitting America. This seems absolutely ludicrous, but yet Adam’s blog and link to Buzzfeed showed that is in no way uncommon for businesses to manipulate such situations. Coupled with my research on brands such as Wal-mart and Coca-Cola, this week truly opened my eyes to the ways in which businesses truly use social media, and ultimately the fact that their use of the platform is often dishonest and unethical.

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