Imagine that it is your first day working as a professional writer at the company of your dreams. You have completed your internship and you are now a paid part of the team. On top of that, you just received your first assignment: you must compose the company information section for the company’s new Facebook page.
Obviously, you will begin by researching all the products and/or services your employer offers, any awards and/or positive reviews they have received, as well as anything specific that your boss has given you to include. After you have gathered all the information, you must decide what information to use and what to put aside. Finally, you have to figure out the best way to convey this information via Facebook.
This is where it gets tricky. It would be easy to declare that your company sells the best product in the world, but is that accurate? Certainly, it is your job to show the best side of your company, but you must be honest while doing this. By exaggerating the great qualities of the company and its products and/or services, you run the risk of turning off consumers because it sounds “too good to be true,” or simply because your company cannot live up to the exorbitantly high standards you have set.
Regardless of the aforementioned issue, it is still your ethical responsibility to be honest in your writing, whatever the cost. Ethics are not something that can be quantified and they differ from person to person “since values and policies are without demonstrable proofs,” as Jacobi says. However, it is obviously unethical to lie so telling the truth in your writing should never be an ethical argument; it should be a standard in everything you write. Honesty is just as important when writing as it is when speaking to someone because you are still having a conversation with your readers. Would you lie to a customer if speaking with them in person? Assuming that the answer is “no,” as I hope it is, then it would follow that you should not lie to them with exaggerations or half-truths on a company profile.
If your company is a good one with excellent products and/or services, then these products and services will sell themselves. You will have enough positive, truthful, and provable information to write an appropriate company profile for Facebook without making up statistics, “Come check out the number 1 shoe retailer in the world!” or exaggerating in any other way. People do not like to be lied to and it is important for them to trust a brand before they want to put their hard earned money into a company’s hands.
Be clever, be heartfelt, be informative, and above all be honest in your writings and you cannot go wrong.
Autumn Jennings is finishing up her B.A. Degree in Professional Writing, Rhetoric, and Technology at USF. Her interests lie in Rhetoric and Ethics.