Social Media and The Evolution of Trust in Media

October 24, 2005 in Other Than That - news, business & other nonsense | Comments (0)


WARNING – If you work anywhere in or around the realm of marketing communications, this is not for the weak of spine or tender of ego.
Enter at your own risk.

Disclosure: Though I often define myself as a Journalist when asked the age-old question: So, what do you do? I currently lean towards the marketing side of the fence. Since May 2003 I have run business development for Porter Novelli, one of public relations’ Big 5 (though hopefully this industry can avoid the depth of the scandals that rocked those folks.). Prior to that, I ran guest booking (and for a time ran the on-air talent department, but that is another story), at what was then called ZDTV, which became TechTV, which then was eaten by Comcast, merged with G4 and subsequently disappeared.
If you are interested, feel free to peruse my CV.
(Interesting thing about that phrase, curriculum vitae, the literal Latin definition is race of life. No wonder I am so exhausted after updating my resume.
Disclaimer: In my role at Porter Novelli I am tasked with identifying new business opportunities and then overseeing the process of preparing for, pitching and (hopefully) winning the business. My focus is largely within the Bay Area, although I work unofficially in the same capacity with other offices on an as needed basis. I do not have any day-to-day responsibilities for existing clients, though on occasion I will provide support for a specific project or a particular client.
I believe in my firm, and have respect for those with whom I work. There may be clients within our network the businesses of which do not map to my own beliefs. The writings here reflect purely my personal beliefs and general precepts that guide my actions and do not represent those of the firm for which I work.

If you have made it this far, congratulations.
I’m the one writing and I’m exhausted by reading through all of this. If this were a podcast I could have buried all that information as a tagline spoken like an LP being played at the wrong speed.
But in this new world’s emerging civilization of social media, it seems you are better off getting everything on the table right away. It’s all about transparency.
Unless you know me already, why should you give a good goddamn about what I have to say? How you know that you can trust what I say? How do you know that my perspectives and statements mean anything in the big picture?
It’s about trust.
Presumably you came to this site through other trusted sources and so the whole guilt by association thing comes into play. But does that work for you if the links are four, five and six degrees separated? Truthfully, besides believing things for myself based on my own experience, there aren’t that many degrees away that I am comfortable traveling.
Or at least that’s where my comfort level has been until now.
The explosion of social media (blogging, podcasting and the like) offers anyone with access to the Internet an immediate and transparent filter for verifying validity.
So even if this tome is the first thing of mine you see, you can go elsewhere on my site, or run my name through your search resource of choice and see what other items come up. You have access to information that can assuage any doubts you may have about the credibility of my voice. If you find I have lied or misrepresented myself, then you cease to trust me, making any future information I share inconsequential.
It’s a basic equation. If I’m truthful, I’m seen as credible. When I gain credibility I become a valued source of information.
You may ask what makes this any different from how things have always been?
The answer is that things are not all that different, at least not in terms of theory. In terms of practice it’s a whole new paradigm.
I have been in and around communications since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and there is an irrefutable fact that truth and transparency are not always the hallmarks of marketing communications. In the old world order, it sometimes took quite some time before the façade of a false pitch was revealed.
Things have changed.
In this open, honest, transparent and accountable arena of social media, the time has come to be honest – with our clients, with the public and with our selves.
In the world of social media, the gloves are off.
If you would like to know more about my thoughts on this, see my entry entitled: “Social Media: A Catalyst for Corporate Darwinism.”


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