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.