Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ethics and the Internet

The Internet is a fairly new medium, but more importantly, it is not a regulated medium.  This means that there is a lot of room for unethical things to happen on the Internet.  And boy do they happen!

The initial ethical issues that most people worry about are the privacy concerns.  What if someone gets my password?  What if they can log into my Internet banking?  Here is a website that lists a lot of similar worries.  Notice that exploitation of internet workers is not listed.

My ethical concern with the Internet is regarding the finances and exploitation of the workers.  Thankfully, the largest payers in the Internet game (Google as an example) have used their powers for good: offering free service, being transparent and valuing their employees.  However, could you imagine if the people who ran America's banks were instead running America's search engines or servers?  Yikes!

My contention is about the business of blogs, forums and websites, aka web 2.0 or social media.  There is no standardization or protection or regulation.  A web developer could therefore charge whatever price they want to develop a site-which is great.  But at the same time-there are no protections for developers, or bloggers when corporations are misguided about the value they offer.  

There are many corporations and decision makers that don't understand development or social media/web 2.0, and therefore don't want to pay for the work being done.  My concern is the ethical implications of a non-regulated internet-not for privacy concerns, but for the exploitation of the work that people are doing for companies that do not want to pay for it.  

Brands are getting endorsements by bloggers, often without pay, yet at the same time, the brands or corporations balk at the idea of actually paying a blogger to immerse the company in web 2.0.

I foresee corporations trying to take all that they can from social media, without paying for the work or the endorsements, and that to me is unethical.  

Friday, February 20, 2009

Social Media can disconnect people.

I blogged about a 9 year old app whiz kid in Malaysia.  Here is an article that shows the other (or negative) side of immersing children into technology.  

I never thought that exposing children to technology could have a negative effect, but I have to say that after reading this article-I agree.  The main point of the article is that children embracing technology are doing so at the expense of learning social skills.

The article explains that teens are opting to avoid the awkwardness that is puberty.  It's easy to hide behind an icon on facebook, or to connect over technology instead of say...regular old fashioned conversation.  Unfortunately, those awkward experiences are what teenagers have gone through for the history of mankind.  These experiences shape who are are as adults, and have contributed to our culture.  Without these awkward experiences, we never would have had "Catcher in the Rye" or "Great Expectations" or my personal favorite "Time to Change" from the Brady Bunch.

In my experience of dealing with social media experts, gurus and mavens, these people generally have an abundance of friends online, but in person are lonely and can barely hold a conversation.  They have a serious lack of social skills, probably because the only human interaction they have is online.  I have seen social media colleagues get asked by clients to be removed from accounts or have creatives refuse to work with them, because of their inability to connect on a personal level.

Social media, when used in conjunction with traditional human social activity can be great, but it by no means should be used as a substitute.  

Friday, February 6, 2009

9 Year Old App Maker

A large part of social media is programming. Programmers are necessary in the creation of applications, websites and pretty much anything else involved with web 2.0.

And honestly, programmers amaze me. For starters, they learn and work in various languages-that aren’t spoken. I have enough of a hard time saying “Yo quiro Taco Bell” correctly, that I can’t imagine typing a language to produce something intelligent. Secondly, the creativity and thirst for innovation to continue to create new products, applications, websites and functions is never ending and inspiring.

So programmers alone, already have my respect. They earn even more respect when they know several programs, but here is the kicker: Lim Ding Wen knows about 6 different programming languages and has completed about 20 programming is only 9 years old.

My hypothesis is that he is going to one-day take over the world. So far he has used his talents for goods, developing the iPhone app “Doodle Kids”, which allows users to draw with their finger on their iPhone, to entertain his younger sisters. I hope that he continues to use his powers for good, and not evil.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ikea commercial? Not yet, just very clever on YouTube

Here is a very clever YouTube video. It has only garnered about 7,000 views, to me it is successful and here is why: it makes you want to pass it along and mimic it.

To be even more specific, I think Ikea should contact the creator and ask them to do a whole series of ads. It would be a wonderful way for Ikea to showcase their large variety of bedding, while keeping viewers attention, because the concept is so creative and original.

Additionally, the Ikea campaign slogan “Home is the most important place in the world” is right in line with something like this. Think of the options for not only the bedroom, but the amazing things you could do in the kitchen!!!