I had an interesting discussion about privacy at Agritechnica with a strong proponent of privacy on the internet. To me, however, having let that Genie out of the bottle long ago I’m a strong proponent of transparency on the internet. I see it as being a competitive advantage because “consumers can relate to people much more effectively than they can a logo or brand.”
“It’s the same reason why we tell our children not to lie. It’s human. It’s in our DNA; and unless you’re a habitual liar, you practice transparency everyday in your personal relationships. Why should it change on the social web?
I just got off the phone with Wailin Wong, who is a Technology Reporter at the Chicago Tribune. She is starting a new column at the on social media/networking and we had a brief discussion today about the importance of honesty and transparency in the social web (I’ll link to the column when it is live). My brief response – since our call only lasted about 15 minutes – was as follows, and I am going of off memory here:
The concept of social media is not new. By nature we are social in the way we interact in our daily relationships with our friends, colleagues and loved ones. And generally, in those relationships we do not lie or deceive because nine times out of ten people get caught. Personally, I think lying is wrong; and it also has a tendency of pissing people off. This valuable life lesson should also be practiced in social media. For those companies that choose to ignore the simple concept of “transparency” can find that their company or brand will indeed go viral but not with the message they were intending. Social media is an opportunity for companies to represent themselves as real people and build real relationships others. Consumers (and I hate that word) can relate to people much more effectively than they can a logo or brand.” Source: Why is transparency so important in Social Media?
One of the reasons I’m a solopreneur is so that I can work with the kind of people I want to work with. In my case, my transparency is a filter that eliminates bad matches from the beginning. If someone doesn’t like my politics, my faith, etc. they probably won’t like working with me…
Now that I’ve exposed by bias, I’d like to talk about how I do it. One of the problems with social media is that each service has a profile they want you to fill out. The problem is that if you do something like change your tagline, etc., you have to remember to go back and change it at every service you use. For that reason, I’m in favor of using a few that I find useful and trying to refer people to those profile sites whenever possible. A few sites that I use and recommend follow…
I am the only ‘Todd Lohenry’ in the universe [thanks, mom!] so I don’t have any problems being found on the internet [although sometimes I wish I did]. If you, however, have a name like ‘Mike Brown’ and want to be found in Google Search, nothing it more important than populating your Google Profile…
Long before Google Profiles became available, I was using Retaggr which is kind of a web 2.0 business card. Retaggr allows you to fill in your user name info for hundreds of social media sites so that people can see where you hang out on the internet and connect with you there. Furthermore, Retaggr provides code for your signature file that can be used in conjunction with Microsoft Outlook, Google Apps, Gmail, etc. [I wrote about this in the post ‘Socialize your email‘]. Using the WiseStamp Firefox add-on, I’m not only able to re-express the Retaggr information, but even tell people what chat services I use and what my last blog post was [but I digress]…
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