The need for ethics in the communications
Ethics, as defined in the dictionary, is the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.
This definition indicates that ethics are rules and from culture to culture, they change. What may seem proper to one person could be offensive to another and as professionals in the media world; we have to be mindful of this. Ethics ensure that things stay in order, even though we all know that unethical practices go unnoticed everyday.
Our professor speaks of how some of her friends find it amusing that she teaches a class on ethics, to public relations and advertising students. Obviously, many people believe that the majority of those in the field of communications are unethical and that is because it only takes a few big unethical practices to ruin the image of an industry.
Ethics in business, public relations, advertising, and media keep things in line. If there were no rules, things would be in absolute chaos.
In every class thus far in my college career, ethics has been pounded into my head. I have been faced with scenarios and sometimes it’s really fine line and as professionals in the communications field, we have to be aware of the ethics that we practice.
I did a bit of searching online and discovered an article about ethics in online advertising, something that hadn’t crossed my mind until today. Maybe I’ve been desensitized over the years, as many have and I have just developed a reflex that blocks out the ads. Then I think about my dad, or even my grandmother browsing the Internet and not being able to tell the difference between a real link, and a link that is posing as something it isn’t and my view on the topic changes.
It’s the Internet, the ads still must remain ethical but I never considered pop-ups, kick-through ads, and in-text advertisement to be up for unethical discussion. While most pop-up ads are clearly ads and thus acceptable, what happens when the ads no longer to appear to be ads and are confused with the text that is being browsed? This article by Martha Spizziri highlights a few examples of how Sony, Vibrant Media, and Orbitz cause controversy in multiple outlets.
Vibrant Media developed in-text advertising, the kind that when certain words are just scrolled over, offer ads. The ad requires no input from the user and that created a reason to consider this form of advertising unethical. In my opinion, I think it is okay and it just goes to show that our field is developing by the day.
Who knows where Internet advertising will be ten years from now?
No matter the communication field, this profession and ethics go hand in hand and at some point, probably multiple times, your character will be tested. The filter that I prefer is one that I learned a few classes ago from an instructor. It’s simple, if it will pass the mom test, then it’s okay. If your mom would smack you over the head with a bread roller, then you shouldn’t continue down that unethical path.