Honesty is such a lonely word

I hope all of you readers are having nice weather – we sure are!  88 and sunny today. 

As you all know I am taking a Social Media class so at least two blogs per week will be dedicated to that class.  The required reading for the class is SocialCorp, by Joel Postman.  It is an enjoyable, quick read but it makes my head spin a little.  I cannot believe how much has passed me by while I was preoccupied with updating my facebook status. 

One of the key points the book is makes that users of social media (me blogging in this case) is most well received if it is transparent. He uses the word transparency, but I hate that word.  I will try not to use it.  I associate the word transparency as a term that is overused by politicians and officials in an effort to convince their audience that they are transparent when they are anything but.  He uses “authentic and truthful”.  I like those, so I will use those.  This concept seems obvious to me, does it to you as well?  Of course we are going to gravitate toward truth.  As you know if you have been reading my blog I have been painfully truthful.  You know more about my domestic mishaps than I would likely be comfortable in sharing if we had a face to face relationship.  I mean heck, I may have a hard time getting a job after I have publicly admitted to you all that I procrastinate,  I drive way too fast while putting on makeup and talking on the phone and I have skipped class.  Yikes. 

But my blog is a personal blog – and we are examining corporate media.  What is exciting to learn is that many corporations participate in some sort of media – twitter, blogs etc.  That makes me feel empowered.  That means I have a voice that they will listen to.  If I receive poor service at Wal-Mart – I can go on their web blog and tell them about it. I would also expect to receive a response that would satisfy me.  They certainly do not want me spreading a bad word about them on their website or worse, other websites, so they are motivated to appease me somehow.   Now that I am learning all of these new things, I also learned that many companies have been caught being deceitful on their websites or blogs. It seems that in 2007, two individuals wrote a blog that spoke well of Wal-Mart.  These two individuals packed up their RV and traveled the country to various Wal-Marts and blogged about how great it was.  Later it was revealed that they were paid BY Wal-Mart to do this.  Isn’t that handy. So what are the legal ramifications for this?  Not a whole lot.  See laws against this type of activity really haven’t been written yet – social media is just too new. 

I just went to Wal-Mart this afternoon.  The place was packed with people buying all sorts of summertime items – just like me.  It is hard to see how Wal-Mart has hurt from their deceitful practices.

What do you think?  Do you think that on the whole corporations are using blogs, and websites, twitter and facebook in a way that is honest and authentic?  From my previous blog, it is obvious that many of you think the answer is no.  Do any of you have an example of a company that does a great job?  Postman has one that he this is awesome.  It is a company I am certain you know. Can any of you guess?


Filed under adult education, Alicia Legg, Continuing Education, No Adult Left Behind

3 responses to “Honesty is such a lonely word

  1. Nice work on the blog, Alicia. Keep it up. I’m not a huge fan of the term “transparency,” either. Notice it takes a couple of pages in the book to define it, and it has several meanings. Honesty may be a better word. In fact, it may be more transparent than transparency.

    The SEC uses the word often. A definition I saw in one SEC speech was “free from pretense or deceit.” http://www.sec.gov/news/speech/2007/spch022307jww.htm

    • Perhaps the reasons politicians call for “transparency” so often is that they want their words and actions to become unseen via invisibility instead of being hidden.

  2. Hello Mr. Postman. It is an amazing honor that you have read and responded to my blog. I must admit that it took a moment for me to really realize that it was YOU responding. I am a little star struck. To have the privilege to have a conversation with the author of my textbook, or any book for that matter, is an experience that I would never have imagined. This certainly is a testament to how social media brings us together in unlikely ways, but more of a testament of how dedicated you are to your audience. The link you provided was insightful. Thank you for sharing it. This does provide some deeper meaning to the use of the word. It seems that the term “transparency” has proliferated in the past 5 years. I don’t remember hearing it much before that. The reason I have a pejorative association with it is because it seems it is often used in response to something scandalous. “We intend to be completely transparent in this matter” – it feels phony. It is perfectly in place in your text because it is relevant to social media and it is a modern term. Also, the poor association of this term is mine alone. Mr. Postman, it is my honor and privilege to have you respond. We will be examining in great detail the content of your text in the next 5 weeks. I invite you to please comment on my blog again- it would be my honor to hear your thoughts. I certainly will look forward to it.

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