Social media guidelines

September 28, 2011

Having made my presentation at Ethicomp 2011 on the subject of the ethics involved in employing social media I now discover a fascinating piece on Science Daily regarding research in Spain reporting that Journalists prefer Twitter. Whilst this is interesting in the context of my previous post About face, what really caught my eye was the statement that “The study also analyzes whether or not the media has guidelines or agreed upon norms regarding the use of the social networks. Currently, only about one in ten journalists (13%) says that their medium has such guidelines. Fifty-four percent recognize that they lack guidelines of this kind, and the remaining 33% confirm that, although they do not have them, their medium is working on them.”

There had been a number of people and organizations involved in producing social media ethics and for the sake of ease I’ll attach the relevant bits of my paper’s bibliography:

Blood, R. (2002). Weblog Ethics. In The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog (pp. 114-121). New York, USA: Basic Books.

ESOMAR (2011). ESOMAR GUIDELINE FOR ONLINE RESEARCH. Journal, 19. Retrieved from

Ess, C., AoIR ethics working group, (2002). Ethical decision-making and Internet research: Recommendations from the aoir ethics working committee Journal, 33. Retrieved from

Kuhn, M. (2004). C.O.B.E. Revised: Form-Based Duties in Blog Ethics. Retrieved 14 May 2011, 2011, from

Kuhn, M. (2007). Interactivity and Prioritizing the Human: A Code of Blogging Ethics. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 22(1), 18-36.

Rogerson, S. (2006). Ethics of the Blogosphere. IMIS Journal, 16(5).

Of them all the ESOMAR is the most current, and thus probably the most relevant in a rapidly changing field, although the AOIR is another professional body that is worth observing. So for the last nine years there’s been stuff floating about which whilst not saying ‘Twitter’, per se, will cover the majority of social media.


Understanding social media

September 11, 2011

Thanks to an eminently useful blog post on the London School of Economics (LSE) web site entitled ‘Social media is inherently a system of peer evaluation and is changing the way scholars disseminate their research, raising questions about the way we evaluate academic authority’ I was referred to a recent paper by Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestre from Business Horizons (2011) 54, 241-251 .

Whilst the blog post to some extent reflects the work I have been doing by using social media as a research implement, and part of which I’ll be covering on 15 September 2011 at the Ethicomp 2011 conference, whilst focusing on ‘The Ethical Aspects of Employing a Weblog in Research’, the paper referenced looks to social media in the round for all business, not particularly government. However, given the ongoing debate about the value and use of social media in government, the proposition is highly appropriate.

The model consists of seven social media building blocks constructed into what Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestre describe as the honeycomb of social media. These two sets of seven-celled honeycomb describe ‘social media functionality’, along with ‘implications of the functionality’. As Hermida states these ‘building blocks’ offer a good starting point to consider the impact of activities as part of academic research, but I’d suggest these seven have a further application in the governance arena and I look forward to experimenting with them.