Faux pas or ethics challenged?

The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media occasionally highlights a “Friday Faux Pas,” in which someone has done something spectacularly stupid on a social media platform.

The stories on the site range from a “rogue tweet” by a Red Cross employee who apparently didn’t know how to use Hootsuite, and a nurse who posted pictures of patients… in the operating room.


But are these really just “faux pas,” or do they represent a larger ethical issue? Namely, the separation/lack of separation between personal and professional in the age of social media. Is it possible to keep your personal and professional lives separate? Is it possible to separate them in real life, much less online? Should we even try?



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3 responses to “Faux pas or ethics challenged?

  1. I think it is possible to maintain some level of separation of personal and professional, such as through use of privacy settings in Facebook. I think the real problem is when people behave unprofessionally in a public place, whether that place is online or not.

  2. It is definitely possible to keep professional/private lives separate. A lot of the responsibility probably should fall on the professional institutions to have social media guidelines or principles for their employees to follow (having separate twitter accounts, using certain language in updates, etc.).

    Do you read Poynter’s Regret the Error or WSJ’s Best of the Web Today? Not all of the gaffes are social media-based, but they do emphasize how important it is for journalists/media professionals to double-check their facts.

  3. Ning Huang

    I think that’s common, social media is a platform where excellent and stupid could coexist. However, as a media major student, it’s obligatory for us to present what is excellent to the public.

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