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Ethics and business

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Stage one: The Embryonic Root

Remember the first blog? I said something like, there may be changes in my business, on this website and in my attitude. There may be things I express in this blog you don’t agree with, and you never have to agree with me, please feel free to be your own kind of flower. Well, I am using this as a disclaimer before you read the following thoughts.

I watched a netflix documentary called, Terms and Conditions May Apply, and later read in the Wall Street Journal about the exit of Instagram employees due to clashes with Facebook (Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012). This combined with allegations regarding Facebook’s unauthorized disclosure of users’ data has me concerned. As a result, I posted my last message 9/27/18 on Instagram.

Dear friends,
Many of you know I have been suspicious of social media and it took a lot for me to kick my butt into the 21st century...I am a big supporter of how social media is used to share beauty, uplift ourselves through art, social and political expression. The positives of social media are as apparent as its flaws. I am happy to have stuck my toes in the water with this platform. However this is my last posting due to the lack of personal privacy we agree to when accepting the user agreements. I watched a documentary on Netflix and attached it as the second photo, please consider watching. In these politically charged times where many of us gather to raise our diverse voices in defense of human rights, please educate yourselves on who owns the social media platforms you are using. Wishing everyone in the world peace.

After posting I felt a rush of satisfaction followed by a sense of relief, then it occurred to me I needed to figure out how to delete my account. Ironically I turned to google, and then spent the next 45 minutes going down rabbit holes trying to figure out how to delete the darn account because you can’t actually find the delete my account option even when you are logged into Instagram; they really don’t want you to leave. Once I found the permanent delete I was warned I may never again use my prior information including email, name etc. to open a future Instagram account. Because I only use Instagram to promote my business I gave this some thought. What values do I want to align my business with? Can I justify using social media platforms that are owned by companies that have proved themselves untrustworthy, because….

It’s not personal, it’s business. Scorsese’s The Godfather

I suppose I shouldn’t take it personally that the US government no longer needs a warrant to search my phone records, emails or social media because I signed away my privacy rights in an agreement when I activated my phone, email, apps and social media accounts. Accepting an agreement allows the service you are using to share your personal information and communication records with third parties for multiple reasons outlined in your service agreement. Third party purchasers of information and consumers of spyware are often linked to government agencies.

I’ve heard some folks explain their acceptance of these terms by justifying that there really is nothing private about digital media, between cookies and people sharing every thought and move thru postings or text. This is true, if you use digital media your digital footprints are monitored for marketing as well as for any potential threats to the country. But digital media scans are not just about protection, protests have been broken up before forming and random people have been arrested for use of “key terms” because governments can acquire digital communications if there is perceived threat. Everything you post can be called into question and there is no such thing as a permanent delete. Every piece of information you post can be accessed if desired. I’ve heard folks accept even these terms, because they don’t perceive their own behavior as questionable. When I look at my profiles I think I am pretty benign, but what about my phone history, every photo taken, every text can be accessed because there is no such thing as a deleted digital image or message. I’m sorry, but how many have experienced the context of a text or email reading differently than the writer’s intent? Meanings can be misconstrued.

Then there is history (you know, the thing that we are warned repeats itself) where I looked to see what has been perceived as threatening by governments past. In thinking about those who use social media as a political platform, please don’t silence your voice, but be aware social media networks are used world wide and it has already been demonstrated that governments will shut down civil protest as well as punish artistic and self expression if it does not align with the governing powers’ ideology. Because there is no permanent delete for digital media, what happens when a photo or video taken at a party with friends gets called into question by any power who perceives the gathering as a threat? No matter how outlandish this seems, don’t forget in this democratic country we have repeatedly demonstrated how citizens are treated when perceived as a threat to national security.... any thoughts, Senator McCarthy?

The choice to eliminate Instagram as an advertising tool is not simply about the loopholes that allow third party access to personal information, but because of the predatory nature of social media companies who promote the exchange of personal information under the guise of networking with others for social or business gain. These companies are not upfront about how they use the personal information their sites encourage you to share. If you want me to promote my likes and dislikes while linking my personal data to a social address list, then be transparent and up front with me as a consumer. Don’t bury my lack of rights and privacy in a hard to read, way too long document that requires my agreement in order to proceed with your service. It is deceptive, and as a business owner I aim to limit my alignments with predatory companies.

The first embryonic root of my organic business has burst forth in an intentional move to rely less heavily on social media networks to advertise workshops and my budding aromatherapy practice. So when you ask me, “How will people find the business?”, remind yourself that you made it here. If you got this far, thank you for taking time to read my ramble and I hope whether or not you like what I share, we can still admire the beauty of our differences, because diversity thrives in a garden.

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