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Perusing the “Activity” function last night on Twitter, I noticed that someone I was following had just followed what is best described as a porn tweet account.  I didn’t even know they existed!

Anyway, I don’t know this person but I’m interested in their business.  They are the founder/CEO of a major people change organisation which relates closely to my own work.  Seeing that they actually use Twitter and that we have networks in common we ended up following each other.

Ethics in the moment

What happened next was spontaneous.  I unfollowed them.

Immediately after I found myself questioning whether I was being prudish.  Did it actually matter if this person, like many others, liked pornography?  I’ve not felt the need to unfollow anyone because of an ethical issue.  Yet this felt like one.

On reflection, I’m surprised at their stupidity of publicly following a porn tweet account.  I don’t see a place for this in business or professional circles and I don’t believe such actions build the right type of engagement.  Personally, I don’t want to be associated with people on Twitter who do.

Looking at their client list I think they are playing with fire.  It’s the kind of action that can lose you business with clients who care about their reputation & associations.

A learning experience!

I have my own ethical standards and values but I don’t force these upon others.  I think I’m very much a live and let live kind of person.  This just felt wrong to me.

Yet I have to say I’ve never experienced Twitterethics before.  So I want to share my actions & thoughts for your scrutiny!

What are your thoughts?

What would you have done?

What ethical dilemmas have you faced on Social Media?

Would love to hear from you!


6 thoughts on “Twitterethics

  1. There are a lot of “porn accounts” out there, most of them ‘bots. I get followed by a couple each week – usually girls’ names with a string of numbers and avb avatar of an attractive young woman. I block them immediately.

    The other day, I realised I had inadvertently followed what I took to be a porn account: a double entendre user name and a photo of an attractive young woman. I noticed because the account responded to a question I had posed. We then had a conversation. (So clearly NOT a ‘bot!)

    I decided to continue following the account.

    I don’t think one should judge ove’s connections by their connections. It is easy to follow people without thinking too much about it – some people have even set up “auto follow back”, which I think is bonkers – but if that is how they want to use Twitter, that’s their business. I follow many accounts I know I disagree with if only to challenge my own views and assumptions. (I think I drew the line at following the BNP – but I’m pretty sure some BNP members follow me!)

    I’m not saying you did the wrong thing – we can all follow anyone we want – but don’t assume your connection is addicted to porn in the workplace!


    Posted by patrickhadfield | November 9, 2012, 9:35 AM
    • Thanks for adding here Patrick & apologies that the original comments weren’t already here to view – I thought they were and they add colour to the post (see below).

      Funnily there was a spate of these porn accounts trying to connect with me too but probably about 12 months ago and I’ve not heard of them since – good riddance!

      You raise an interesting point when you say we shouldn’t judge other’s based on their connections. There’s a part of me that thinks this is wisdom and people deserve to judged on their own merit. Yet, my sense is that we are all regularly judging people on twitter through the relationships and content we share and propagate. Most of this is taken in a positive & useful sense but at some level our connections seem to provide a useful judgement of the individual. Do you see that also?


      Posted by David Goddin | November 9, 2012, 10:00 AM
  2. Annoyingly it seems the original posts comments from Blogger haven’t imported into WordPress properly… please see here for the original comments :-


    Posted by David Goddin | November 9, 2012, 9:51 AM
    • I think I definitely agree with Jon on this one!

      It is an interesting issue, though. I made a decision when I started on Twitter to have a single account, rather than one personal and one professional account – if only because I reckoned (a) it was a better representation of who I am (b) two accounts would be too complicated – leading to a worse reaction when I screw up and post from the wrong account!

      This means that I follow and tweet about lots of different things from the same account: business issues, economics, politics, jazz, movies, whisky, wine, food – and, of course, cats. I also sometimes retweet others’ tweets that I disagree with – sometimes with an added comment highlighting the disagreement, sometimes not. I have been known to swear. I’m pretty sure that I must have linked to stuff that others might find offensive.

      It is too easy to follow people who are just like me, but much healthier to follow others too. I personally wouldn’t normally extend this to porn accounts – and if someone started retweeting links to porn (or other spam) I would unfollow. But if people want to follow porn accounts – or Nadine Dorries, or Lady Gaga, or … Well, that should be fine!


      Posted by patrickhadfield | November 9, 2012, 1:54 PM


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