IN SAN JOSE,
Ethics in Social Media
Ilove social media. It’s so...social. One might even call it a social lubricant, since—likeaglassof wine—it canhelpa shy, insecure person become more bold
or gregarious. Also, like wine, it’s a lot of fun.
Social media can also be very useful to real estate professionals.
As CPM, ARM, ACoM and AMO Members, we are bound by IREM’s Code of Ethics.
But how do we apply the Code to our activities in social media? Or do we even need to?
(Hint: the answer is yes.)
SOME HANDY TIPS:
•;It is always wise to assume that communications via social media will not
be private. Use care in communicating
online with coworkers, tenants or even
clients on sensitive issues. Consider using the Lists feature on Facebook or the
Circles feature on Google Plus to filter
your posts between your personal and
Private but not Anonymous
Back in the day of AOL and dial-up modems,
we could sneak in and out of chat rooms and
type our rants without consequences, secure
in the knowledge that we were (more or less)
anonymous. The required niceties of face-to-face interaction could be moved aside. With
paper documents, all that was required if we
were tempted to skirt ethical obligations was
a cross-cut shredder. What is posted online,
however, may as well exist forever, potentially
visible to anyone without filters on what we
post. It is perhaps incongruous that, in social
media, we enjoy a modicum of relative privacy, but not anonymity.
Whether you’re a technology immigrant or
a native, social networks are likely where you
are meeting business contacts and growing
your professional relationships. As a result,
ethical behavior is just as important—if not
more important—online, since our comments
can’t be accompanied by facial expressions or
In our text messages, our blog, Facebook or
LinkedIn postings, certainly in our e-mail and
our tweets, we still are bound to maintain:
1. Loyalty to our client, firm, and/or
employer (and our former ones!)
•;We enjoy the interoperability of differ-
ent social networking services (e.g., a
posting on LinkedIn can automatically
also appear on our Twitter account).
Keep track of how your networks share
your information, and who might be
•;Retweets should not be sent in a way
that look like you’re expressing a personal opinion. Consider adding a comment or indicate in some way that you
are not necessarily giving approval to
the information you’re relaying.
3. Ethical relations with other members
of the profession
4. Freedom from conflict of interest
Anything you disclose through social media
may be linked to your employer’s, your firm’s,
or your client’s name. And—nota bene—that
includes items that we post on our personal