Interlude: on Ethics, Experiments & Karma

Yesterday’s debut post on Ethical Dilemmas in Social Media was very well received (thanks!) … The vast majority of readers thought that we took appropriate measures to be authentic/transparent — or at least, authentic/transparent enough.

There were a few purists who suggested we’d crossed the line; and, there were several suggestions from helpful readers on how we might better handle the same situation down the road…

… All of which led me to think about the rest of the posts in this series, and how THEY might be received. I got a little jittery.

I’m telling you right now: of the seven planned posts on Ethical Dilemmas, there will be instances in which I feel we CROSSED THE LINE.  We faced ethical dilemmas and then arguably did the WRONG thing, took the WRONG path.

For what it’s worth, in these cases, no one was hurt. No puppies were throttled. Also, importantly, the transgressions we’ll look at came from a place of innocence or ignorance on the part of our staff and/or the clients. In some cases, we were literally experimenting — which I applaud — but then we drew back, once we realized where our experiments were headed.

There was never a moment where anyone involved rubbed their hands with malicious glee at the prospect of tricking people.  But, still: lines were crossed.  I can’t get around it.

Here’s what I am hoping:

I hope you are a long-time reader with a reasonable respect for the fact that a) this Social Media stuff is still very new, and the “rules” evolve in a gray area; that b) we run a for-profit business whose raison d’etre is to promote client interests; and, that c) Todd Defren and SHIFT Communications have a long and distinguished track record of thoughtfulness, generosity, and honesty.

Do you possess a reservoir of goodwill for me and my company that will ultimately cause you to give us the benefit of the doubt? To forgive transgressions?

That’s a test I hope to pass.

It’s a test that every marketer must keep in mind.  “Am I doing the right thing?  Am I being honest with my customers and prospects?  When I screw up, will I have built-up enough trust among them to weather the storm?”

Posted on: January 27, 2010 at 10:45 am By Todd Defren
3 Responses to “Interlude: on Ethics, Experiments & Karma”


  • Lisa Rizzio says:

    I am only a short-time reader but the fact that you are asking yourself these questions is a good indication of your integrity and I am betting as long as you keep asking, you’ll continue to “pass the test”.

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