Genuine vs Transparent


For a while now I’ve felt that “transparency” is an outdated term that was hot when business began flocking to social media, as if they had to suddenly take off all their clothes, empty their wallets and let us into their homes.

I’ve been saying that being genuine is the real key – honest interactions that communicate directly without the slight-of-hand that we’ve come to expect from promotional campaigns. Just tell us what you’re about, show us that you care what kind of experience we have as the customer, and work to maintain a relationship with us.

Having spent some time managing the rather sizable social media presences of companies has only reinforced this belief. From where I sit, many times transparency can create more problems than it theoretically solves. We don’t need Best Buy telling us their revenue model. We should be see them admit when they make a mistake and work to improve themselves. Honesty and availability trump “tell-all” every time.

Mind you, I’m not saying that companies should operate under a cloak of secrecy – far from it. I’ve just felt that there’s a rush to share too much at times, and just how much is appropriate to share depends on the industry in which you work.

Jeff Turner’s presentation at REtechSouth discussed transparency in a way that aligned it much more with my idea of being genuine – how context was very important, along intent and being honest and open. I agree with all of those things, and they fall into my idea of being genuine in the online space. The fact that Jeff had to explain where people were mistaking transparency for oversharing and being rude simply exposes my issues with the overuse of the term. However, Jeff being the dynamic and intelligent person that he is, I definitely have been rethinking my stance. Are Jeff and I talking about the same thing but using different terms? Have I abandoned what might be the more appropriate term because I’ve grown weary of its abuse?

Will I continue to talk like a senator filibustering?

What do YOU think?