What does Ethics look like in a Digital Landscape?

The sheer size of online content is overwhelming. Dazeinfo cited the Nielson/McKinsey company NM Insite as having recorded a total of 181 million blogs at the end of 2011.


The human race is more “connected” than ever. We access and engage in information wherever and whenever we want to. We are not only reading the news, we can comment and become “part” of the news, posting our comments in real time. As consumers, we share our thoughts on just about everything – and every time we do that data can be used, translated and sold for a myriad of uses.

We have become celebrities; public figures, from the comfortable “anonymity” of our own homes. There is a price to pay, however, for all this sharing (marketing) and ethics has to scramble to catch up and be heard over the roar of excited consumers and marketers along for and engaged in the technological ride.

The main issues regarding the digital landscape according to Brain Solis, Sam Lessin and Paula Swatman are privacy, self-regulation Self-Regulatory-Model-Advancedand acountability. Snadeep Rohilla talks about corporate transparency and brand building as foundational tools to ethical behaviour.


Solis quotes Lessin as saying that privacy is more expensive than publicity. Solis says we should be smart about what we say, where we say it and to whom we say it to. He calls this common-sense accountability as being architects of our “personal brand.”


Swatman provides a clear map for internal ethics from Daryl Lang’s Breaking Copy blog. Do you want your boss to read these comments? No? Then don’t post them in a professional platform such as LinkedIn.


I like all of these articles. I truly believe we are all responsible for ethical behaviour in a self-regulated digital landscape. Us as citizens and consumers must take responsibility for how we interact with online technology. We must educate ourselves on privacy settings, data mining, spam, clickstreams and social media. We can’t place all the responsibility on business. Being ethical begins with the individual. As Solis says, “Indeed, we are the last generation to know what privacy was.” And the reality is to retain any sort of authentic, anonymous privacy in a digital landscape is to not engage in it. Ethics, therefore is the act of reconciling the commodity of information and empowering consumers to reward transparent and ethical private enterprises by sharing their thoughts on businesses with integrity and ethical behaviour.

Reference for self-regulation picture: http://www.google.com.au/imgres?hl=en&biw=1366&bih=653&tbm=isch&tbnid=rm2qK8spmkxUIM:&imgrefurl=http://www.icomply.com.au/co-regulation.html&docid=LDg28_HVzeEn_M&imgurl=http://www.icomply.com.au/images/Self-Regulatory-Model-Advanced.png&w=1368&h=928&ei=RMk_Ua6XE6nOmgXq44CgAQ&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:32,s:0,i:185&iact=rc&dur=668&page=2&tbnh=185&tbnw=273&start=14&ndsp=23&tx=162&ty=115

4 thoughts on “What does Ethics look like in a Digital Landscape?

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