Keeping ethics on the planning table with social media in the mix.
Keeping ethics on the planning
table with social media in the
New tools. New rules.
Thesis research overview
presented at the College of St.
Catherine, St. Paul, Minnesota, on
March 21, 2009
By Lisa Graham-Peterson, ABC
Social networking is not new
What can we learn from best practices
about the ethical use of social media, such
as blogs, as part of corporate public
Mixed methods approach
Literature review of current research, cases
Quantitative online survey
Set observation period of selected blogs
Validity tests applied to research design
In-depth interviews with three senior
communications executives involved with
companies currently considered early
adopters/leaders in social media.
Always in beta
Global B2B technology company
Workforce geographically dispersed across all
international time zones and utilizing flex office
Average employee age is 47
Internal blogging community largely self-
Corporate policy: “Don‟t be stupid.”
Think like MacGyver
Major U.S. medical organization
Diverse workforce from physicians to blue collar
Historically credited word-of-mouth for
reputation; patient confidentiality the standard
Social media entry was basically stealth
No IT involvement – use only open source
It‟s still about the ideas
Perspective from the creative agency side
Experienced baptizing major corporations
Feels power has shifted from a few influencers
(the media) to the masses
It‟s now a two-way conversation model
Believes there will always be those who look
to „game the system‟
Independent blog observation
Blogs followed for 90 days
Logic + Emotion
Pop! PR Jots
Paul Gillin‟s Blog
Talent imitates, genius steals
Selected points from online survey fielded
via social networking sites and direct e-mail
to senior communicators, Jan-Feb 2009.
Planning sessions and ethics
The ethics of a
Frequency of ethics discussion
particular strategy or
tactic come up often for
about a third of the
While just over 8% said
the topic had never
come up at all in their
Criteria for „best practices‟
The question asked how an
individual‟s organization described
communications best practices.
Most important, in order:
- Aligns with organizational goals
- Measurable results
So, what did we learn?
Takeaways from examining best practices
in corporate social media use.
New tools. What rules?
“Ethical behavior isn‟t dependent on the
Codes of conduct are evolving, but are not the
only beacon to follow.
Solid strategic planning is still the first step.
“2.0” is already at work beyond the Web
Online, and offline, must offer: