What’s Yours is Mine: Ethics and Etiquette of Mobile Communication

14 Jun

Living in the information age, I have heard lectures on technology’s effect on print publication in numerous journalism and English classes.  In my classes, we debate questions like:

“Will the Kindle, other e-books, or the Google books site replace print books?” And, “Will online news sites, blogs, and social media extinguish print newspapers and magazines?”

As part of the publishing business, I can’t help considering the implications of mobile media in regards to ethics and etiquette. What is the protocol in using and citing information from Google books? How accurate are blogs? Is it dangerous to receive all my news from social media sites?

I can’t answer all these questions, but I can provide some context and a point of view on the subject of ethics and etiquette in mobile media.


Now that people carry hundreds of books around in a single device and express their opinions and views in a blog like this for anyone to read without the need for a traditional medium such as a newspaper or book, the lines of accuracy and ownership are blurred.

Mobile media allows people to receive their news minute-by-minute through tweets or RSS feeds on news sites. It allows students to access Google books to read for their classes instead of buying print copies. People take short cuts. They blindly rely on technology, but this reliance can be unwise especially in regards to social media where not all information is accurate and not every opinion is trusted.

The publishing industry shouldn’t blindly rely on technology, but it should USE mobile media. The industry should not be afraid to embrace modes of mobile communication because these modes may be unreliable or because publishers don’t want mobile to eclipse print.

Like books and magazines, mobile media just allows people another way to interact with information. When television became popular, many people believed the radio would disappear, but it still has its place in the communication world. The same is true of print publishing. Many new means of mobile communication exist now, but that does not mean print will disappear.

Take a look back at: the changing landscape of communication


Bill Tancer, the global manager of global research at Hitwise, the world’s leading online competitive insight service, says social media is the number one use of the Internet today (Public Relations Journal 2009).

The print business should embrace mobile media, especially social media, to give their readers a full interactive experience: dispatching day-to-day information through websites and blogs; advertising and networking through social media; and producing a lasting product through print.


In order to do that, some rules of etiquette should be established in order to maintain accuracy and ethical behavior in regards to mobile media. In her book, Dispatches from Blogistan, Suzanne Stefanac lays down a primer of guidelines or rules for bloggers to follow in order to preserve the integrity of information in online media. Some of her rules include acknowledging personal bias and thoroughly researching facts.

I think Stefanac points out the important need for reliability in mobile communication today—one publishers should take to heart in their communication through social media.

As you can see from this blog, TSTC uses mobile media in order to interact with our viewers. Also, check us out on our website, Twitter, and Facebook.


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