Creating an Ethical and Sustainable Social Media

Christopher Hall @goldblach – Sheffield Hallam University

Much is made about how using Social Media within the practice of Higher Education can propel us effectively into the future. Enhancing engagement, employability and education.

There is very little critical reflection or rigorous evaluation focused on the ethical and sustainability policies of the multinational technology companies that we ask ourselves and our students to engage with on a daily basis.

We all leave a social media footprint wherever we browse and as we browse we leave a carbon footprint and contribute towards the advertising revenue generated by the Social Media companies. Thereby implicitly condoning the way in which those companies treat their content moderators in developing countries, source the conflict minerals for their bespoke server farms and manipulate their revenue streams in order to avoid paying tax.

Exploring and declaiming these issues is simple but understanding our role can be challenging and eliciting change, may appear to be unachievable.

If we are to genuinely assume the mantle of leadership and proficiency whilst using these tools, then we should provoke change in ourselves, our students, our organisations and our online activities.

This is a call to create a strategic manifesto to prompt this change and for us to agree to a set of guidelines that embed ethical responsibility, sustainability and moral leadership.

‘Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.’ Dalai Lama