The other week I came across an article in the Swedish newspaper which covered how a dating site’s advertising campaign had caused public outrage by promoting cheating. The message was ‘Revitalize your life – have an affair’. The Swedish Advertising Ombudsmannen found it did not go against marketing ethics, as the advertising of the service is so closely connected to the business offer.
That unethical services exist online will probably not surprise anyone, but it’s hard not to get a little afraid of the dark when our online moral decay is now accepted by a governmental body. They have argued that it is only the advertising which is being judged, not the service in itself (since they could not test it). But this level of ignorance, of how our online behaviour affects our off-line life, might be something we are all a little guilty of.
When people lose their jobs because of impulsive tweets, marriages are broken over blog posts, and kids are cyberbullied, we should start to understand the seriousness of our behavior. A bad joke online is a slap in the face offline.
The amount of services which are built upon our online activity is forever growing. We are not invisible, our actions are constantly recorded and archived in the big (not-so-fluffy-puffy-white) cloud. And the moment we realize that our online behavior has consequences and is interconnected to our physical world, we will hopefully start to adapt it to reality.
(The image is merely used to illustrate how our online and offline presence are linked; it does not relate back to the content in any other way)