In recent years, the creative industry has been growing exponentially due to technological advancement, the right to freedom of expression, lack of job opportunities, and the increasing number of people who prefer self-employment over traditional 9-5 jobs.
As the world becomes more digitalized each day, the number of content creators using their creative skills in various areas such as the arts, literature, music, crafts, design, video, and fashion has increased. Bloggers, YouTubers, artists, podcasters, photographers, TikTokers, and other social media influencers are examples of popular content creators today.
Many people assume that content creation is one of the easiest ways to earn a living because most of those in the creative industry use their natural talents and gifts; but content creators also face challenges.
Being a content creator requires you to come up with new ideas continuously. Furthermore, your success may not be entirely in your control. It may depend on the social media algorithms and other people’s interest or willingness to consume the content you produce.
While trying to stay on top, many content creators do unethical things to each other, their audience, and the people or brands they collaborate with. In this post, we will discuss some of the unethical things content creators do while pursuing success and fame. We shall also mention a few tips to help you learn how to be ethical as a content creator. Read on…
Unethical Things Content Creators Do while Pursuing Success
Let’s be honest; everybody lies, whether to themselves or others. Telling lies and sugarcoating things are common unethical things content creators do while pursuing success, fame, and money. Content creators may lie by showcasing a fake lifestyle, using false facts and statistics, using clickbait titles and images, and giving undeserving positive reviews of the products and services they are promoting. Unfortunately, in some cases, the lies content creators tell can endanger others or make them waste their money.
While many content creators know lying is an unethical thing to do, they may still choose to lie because they have a lot more to gain by telling half-truths and being dishonest. For example, they wish to earn money through paid partnerships; they want you to buy things so they can get a commission; or, perhaps, these content creators are inauthentic because they want to create a narrative where they and their lifestyles seem perfect.
The deceitful content may mislead people relying on these content creators for advice, inspiration, and recommendations, and could even put their lives at risk. Content creators who are usually dishonest about who they are, their lifestyle, and the things they create content about should stop doing it because lying is an unethical practice.
- Stealing content
As a content creator, you need to have the ability to come up with new ideas consistently and share them with your audience. If you are inconsistent or keep reposting your old content, you may lose your followers/subscribers and relevance. Unfortunately, if forced to produce new content at a fast pace, you are bound to run out of ideas and experience burnout at some point.
When experiencing creative burnout, many content creators often seek inspiration from their fellow creators, but many don’t stop there. They may LOVE the other content creator’s work too much or see how well their posts perform on social media and search engines, and thus decide to steal from them.
Stealing is one of the most common unethical things content creators do while pursuing success. People who are unable to generate original ideas may steal from other content creators by;
- Copy-pasting/republishing their content without permission
- Using their content and not giving credit to the original creators, especially photos, audios, videos, and art.
While technology has made it easier for content creators to reach their audience and grow, intellectual property theft has also increased due to the ease of access and thirst for fame. As a content creator, you know how much effort and time goes into coming up with original ideas frequently – so don’t take advantage of a fellow content creator’s hard work by stealing their ideas. Content theft is unethical, and sadly, many creators with a big following often do this to those less popular than them.
- Badmouthing the competition
You may say negative things about the competitors of the brands you are promoting or your fellow content creators, hoping to tear them down and benefit from it. You probably want to discredit them and make their followers and potential customers desert them and come to your side. Some content creators even badmouth others as a way to get their innocent competitors to face the wrath of cancel culture, and hence eliminate them.
Although you may try to excuse it as a part of what you have to do for business and that it is not personal, badmouthing the competition is one of the unethical things content creators do while pursuing success. While it may work sometimes, speaking ill of your competition could backfire on you and be a form of self-sabotage. For instance, badmouthing others can make you seem weak and obsessed with other people instead of focusing on your strengths and brand.
Nonetheless, there are times when saying bad things about a competitor may be okay, especially when the information you provide is legitimate and verifiable. For example, if you are exposing competitors who have done unethical things, such as fellow content creators stealing original ideas from others and brands that are using harmful ingredients or mistreating people and animals. Remember to be careful when publicly bashing another person or business, as it could lead to a lawsuit for defamation in some cases.
READ ALSO: 10 Things You Should Never Apologize for
- Invading others privacy
For some people, such as celebrities and famous successful people, privacy can be an elusive thing. The media and other content creators are always ready to intrude into their personal life, hoping to get a piece of gossip to discuss on their platforms.
Many content creators also include others in their content without informing them or asking for their permission. For example, YouTubers and TikTokers may film unsuspecting people when recording videos in public places and while doing pranks or asking questions on the streets. They may also share photos and videos of their kids who are not old enough to consent to it or know the impact of these actions. Similarly, bloggers may discuss personal details and experiences of their friends and families on their websites without consent.
Though most content creators know the importance of privacy, they may choose to invade other people’s lives anyway because they need to create content for their audience in order to earn a living. Invading other people’s privacy and sharing details of their personal life without permission are some of the unethical things content creators do while pursuing success.
How Content Creators Can Be Ethical
Is a life without a code of ethics worth living? You will not know what is right or wrong if you have no ethical values. And unfortunately, many people often sacrifice their morality while pursuing success. As a content creator who is doing unethical things knowingly or unknowingly, you are being unfair to yourself, your audience, and those you collaborate with.
When you do unethical things, you may also contribute to the decline of the creative industry. People who want to explore their creativity may give up on it when they see the unethical things content creators do while pursuing success and fame. Your unethical behavior could also frustrate and demoralize your fellow content creators and make them give up on their platforms. Content creators have to learn how to be ethical if they want to secure the future of the creative industry.
So, how can content creators be ethical? What does being ethical even mean? Having a good work ethic as a content creator means you are committed to doing a good job, respecting others, and upholding your values, no matter what.
Here are some ways content creators can be ethical and still become successful;
- Be honest and authentic at all times
- Create original content
- Research and only use data from credible sources to avoid misleading your audience
- Seek permission when you have to use other’s content, their image, or experiences
- Give credit to the original creators when you use their content
- Be transparent by disclosing sponsored content and allegiances
- Always respect your audience, fellow content creators, interviewees, etc.
- Take responsibility for your content, even when there are mistakes
- Be professional
- Use your influence and content to protect other people and the planet e.g. from injustices, overexploitation, etc.
And there you have them! Above are some unethical things content creators do while pursuing success. If you are a content creator and have done any of them, you now know the impact of unethical behavior on the creative industry, your audience, and fellow creators.
Don’t be the reason the creative industry stops growing as fast as it has been in the past few years. Learn how to be ethical as a content creator to increase your credibility and chances of success. Try to be a responsible content creator at all times in order to secure the future of the creative industry.
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