#UOSM2008 Topic 4 Summary

Summarising the ethical issues which are implicated in the expanding use of social media is frankly a bit tricky. My take on the issue focused on causing offense through social media with the findings being that offensive material will be offensive regardless of whether its on social media or not. Essentially social media was not to blame either way.

Reading the posts of colleagues I found that the huge scope of ethical issues was pretty well covered between us although I’d like to focus on the works of both Kaya Stefferud (whose french bulldog header is frankly amazing) and Jake Ellis who both focused on the purpose of social media in education. This was a topic which I hadn’t really read a huge amount about so I found these posts very interesting. They focused on a number of topics such as the use of social media creating educational inequality between students who don’t have access to the internet for example. I really like this point as it has the potential unethical edge of being a self compounding issue. Although it seems unlikely that in 10-15 years that there’ll be anyone still not connected to the internet (in developed countries at least), you’d likely think those on a lower income (and hence less educated) would be the most likely candidates. There are also economic issues at play here with the unethical discrimination between those who have the means to access social media and those who don’t.

Jake and Kaya also both discussed the implications of how teacher’s connections to students through social media could be unethical. I personally think that being friends with a teacher on Facebook its perhaps less deplorable than they suggest however I can see that this is more of a personal connection than the more professional likes of LinkedIn. However with few school goers using LinkedIn before reaching University, it makes sense that using Facebook for educational purposes is not unethical providing (and here is the big beautiful link back to my post) that the behaviour within this platform is performed under the same pretenses as communication in real life.


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