We are amazed at how little concern our students (and my kids) have about their privacy. Are our students aware of what they sacrifice and the potential future problems they may encounter with this carefree attitude? You might find it helpful to assign or discuss “Rogue Marketers Can Mine Your Info on Facebook,” in Wired, January 5, 2010.
This article deals with a very interesting legal and ethical issue with social media (“U.S. Seeks to Restrict Gift Giving to Bloggers,” The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2009, subscription required – don’t subscribe? click here). The government continues to try to stay ahead of technology and promotion. As we have all seen, online reviews and bloggers are having an increasing influence on consumer decision-making. Now bloggers have to disclose if they receive any money or free products from a marketer.
Looking for some multimedia to enhance the in-class (or out-of-class) experience? Here are three options.
- You could assign the students to listen to the NPR radio coverage of this issue in their story “FTC: Bloggers Must Disclose Paid Endorsements.”
- Or have students check out (or show in class) the SocialSpark website, which calls itself “a blog marketing network that connects advertisers with bloggers through an online marketplace.”
- Finally, there is a WSJ.com video (see below) where some experts discuss the challenges of actually enforcing this law.
You could show some of these in class and discuss the ethics involved. It might be interesting to pose the question: If more bloggers shill for marketers, does this source of information lose credibility with consumers?
How racy do you want to be in your class? This CNN video clip (“’Save the Boobs’ ad too sexy?” 1:50, CNN.com, September 24, 2009.) discusses a television ad promoting breast cancer awareness. The ad has a strong sexist tone, but good intentions. Such a provocative ad also gets publicity – witness the attention given it by CNN and no doubt other media outlets. Do the ends justify the means? You can find the commercial without the CNN commentary on YouTube.
This article, “GoodGuide Puts Brands’ Ethical Claims to the Test,” at AdAge.com, (September 28, 2009) describes the new GoodGuide website. This site has a database rating about 75,000 consumer products on health, environmental, and social impact using a 10-point scale. The article discusses some possible strategies that might be employed by the website. Even if you cannot check out the article, you can link to www.GoodGuide.com and check out the website.