Saturday, June 24, 2006
The Ethics of Social Networks
As I was surfing the net tonight, I found myself on Yahoo's website. I usually go on to Yahoo to look around for clues in popular culture and the latest news. Some of the stories and news summaries can put me to sleep, however there was one that I saw that caught my eye and made me realize how much it pertains to class and even to my own life. It was about the webpage MySpace, which I know we're talked to death along with Facebook. But c'mon there is just so much to say about these social networks! I mean, these are very new and modern advances, leaving adults and parents very uncomfortable as we live in such an internet dependent period. They don't quite understand what we do on the internet all day. Even more so they don't understand if these sites are safe. Yet this news piece argues that parents felt the same way when rock music came out. The new and unfamiliar can be scary.
However, this is not what the article is about. It touches upon how advertisers love these new social networks because it gives them another outlet to advertise to the youth. We have talked about advertising enough in class to understand the progression that has taken place within the field towards word of mouth. They cited an example which rang very familiar to me, as it should to all of you. It was about how News Corp owns both MySpace and 20th Century Fox and so therefore they posted a profile about the new X-men 3 movie on MySpace. This is just what M80 did for Stewie for the Family Guy promotion. It makes the users of these social networks feel like they are even more connected to the world as a whole, not just to other college students or people their own age.
These social networks are really just second nature to us now, although I am sure there are people who stay away from it as to not jump on the bandwagon. I will say I was once one of them too. If somehow you are a rookie to Facebook, even Sports Illustrated has written up a small instructional guide on how to cruise the site which only allows college kids. It really is crazy to think of how far these sites have come in terms of popularity. MySpace is now second to Yahoo in web sites that are most frequently viewed!
The article also speaks with Shawn Gold, who is the senior vice president of content and marketing for MySpace, and he says that this is where advertisers go to market and to open up the doors for their product or promotion. Due to the fact that we do allow an awful lot of information to be on our profiles for anyone to see, these companies can tap into these databases to better tailor their product to the appropriate audience! This reminds me a little of the conversation we had in class a while ago about if it was ethical for Northeastern staff to be looking at our blogs and commenting on them etc. As always word of mouth marketing has its ethical debate.
However when it comes to profiles such as MySpace, you really are allowing the world to see you, or who you want people to perceive you as. Therefore, I think it's fair game.
Tags: WOM word of mouth Word-of-Mouth Marketing buzz marketing viral marketing marketing communication