From a Virtue PerspectiveMany of the interpersonal virtues we value evolved in the context of face-to-face communication. Honesty, openness, and patience, for example, are honed in the negotiations we must manage when we meet people in person. What impact will digital media have on these virtues? What, for example, would honesty mean in the context of a world where people are represented by avatars? Will other virtues emerge as more important in social networking, where we can be constantly connected to a large reservoir of others and can shut off communications easily when we are bored or encounter difficulties?This topic begs the question: has honesty gone out the window? What's happened to our interpersonal virtues?
Is your projected self online the same person you are offline? It goes back to the smoke and mirror effect of online interactions. You can pretend to be whatever you want to be online because of the anonymity factor.
Does the online dynamic make it that much easier to create a false 'illusion'? My answer is yes. Do we REALLY know who we are talking to on the other side of the screen? We see and hear about these stories on the news every day. People who have been duped and scammed online; they were ruined financially and their identities stolen. Young women have been hurt -- both physically and emotionally -- as a result of trusting and believing they were meeting teen boys and ended up face-to-face with adult sex offenders. I don't mean to sound paranoid, but it's important to be safe and take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
As much as I love social media and believe in the benefits of social media, I wonder if social media has made us less "human" when it comes to our interpersonal communication and relationships. Yes, social media connects us with thousands of people across the world, and gives us the opportunity to do business with amazing people. However, do we really practice what we preach?
I leave you with this question: as business professionals, do you incorporate your offline ethics into your online world? Do you treat people the same way as you would treat them face-to-face?