Transparency in Social Media

Monday, July 25, 2011

One of the driving forces behind many of the changes in business today is the consumers' demand for more corporate transparency and authenticity. This is often credited to the advent of social media, but in reality the demands come from a shift in how the post-modern and millennial generations view the world and social media is simply a conduit for their message.

Somewhere along the way though, people have confused transparency with laying all of their cards face up on the table. The two are quite different. One has a healthy place in business, the other is simply foolish. 

Trade secrets, client confidentiality issues, ideas and projects that are not yet "ready for primetime" should be kept offline. Doing so doesn't make you or your company any less transparent.

A venue charging for a preferred vendor list and hoping that the companies who sign up keep the paid relationship quiet from their clients lacks needed transparency. A wedding professional who receives free services in exchange for online publicity yet who never discloses the gift or discount lacks legal transparency. On the other hand, a company that keeps quiet about filming a television pilot or about getting ready to launch a new product doesn't lack transparency; they have an appropriate sense of timing.

Be transparent. Don't be stupid.

This post was originally published July 2010.

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