Research ethics

“Research ethics” by michaelseangallagher is licensed under CC BY-SA

The current atmosphere of social media reflects the linear trend ascribed in Blood’s article. As developers have made access easier, usage has risen to the point where in a college class this software has become course material. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, have given virtually anyone with an internet access point an international voice. As the article points out, the shift to social media platforms has reduced the emphasis on blogging as a social means of discourse. Also, I thought despite being written in 2000, the describes the current atmosphere which is dominating our current social space. In her concept of creating “time and spaces in which to reflect” (Blood), along with the larger reflection on content sharing and vetted information gathering, she is touching on the central issue we face in our current social atmosphere. The recent election has cast wide spread doubt on the validity of information sources included the media responsible for delivering “news” content. I thought this was another very important point introduced in the article, that blogs provide the ability for the public to discuss what large media sources are reporting. To pass and share information sources, discuss the merits of ideas and engage in intellectual discourse. Rettberg added what I thought was a clear point of distinction between the modern platforms of social media and the traditional blogging format. That is a disciplined approach to both reading and writing of blogs. My own feelings on Facebook are that the experience has cheapened the social atmosphere by reducing the space within which to have discord. Items of information are scanned past your eyes in a wide variety of formats and topics. Information is brief and generally comprised of incomplete headlines. The sources are most often suspect and the discussion boards are inorganically filtered and often littered with misinformation and shallow insults. In contrast, Rettburg’s offered description of blogs as a personalized sphere inclined towards intellectual commentary sounds to me, like a breath of sanity in our current social climate.  Where the process of writing is equally as important as the space within which to transmit the message. It seems then apparent, that our social culture suffers from a real lack of ethics. Social media has derived into a circus of individuals happy to elicit emotional, and generally unhelpful, responses to complex issues. Information, which is often blatantly incorrect,is passed off as factually based. The irresponsible way in which information is passed and discussed has created an atmosphere so saturated in misinformation, that wholesome discussion often quickly degrades into insults an anecdotes. I think for this reason we see an entire section of Rettburg’s article  (pg.11) devoted to how blogs interact in social media, where as in contrast, Blood’s article lacks an address to the issue. The fourteen years which separate the two articles are largely influenced by the 2004 advent of Facebook, which explains Blood’s non emphasis. Current mediums such as Facebook and twitter, while powerful tools, bring with them new social challenges surrounding questions of information saturation. The unregulated platforms themselves pose real obstacles to the streamlining of media into legitimate information. Which, next to climate issues, may perhaps become the biggest challenge our age faces. The question being, how do we persuade our selves and peers, to utilize social media with a set of ethics and standards which maintain the integrity of information and discussion. Perhaps as these articles seem to suggest, blogging indeed provides the most appropriate medium through which to achieve a state of ethical global discourse.


2 thoughts on “But… Where Have the Ethics Gone?

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