Honesty and Social Media: Is It Just Me? Or Does Anyone Else Consider These Things?

Funny question for all of you . . . because this very situation here shows me what can be so refereshing about social media: Honesty.

At the same time, I will admit that providing an honest response to John's question makes me consider that it may upset some people . . . and let's keep it real - doing so can impact our personal brand. A quick cost-benefit analysis always crosses my mind. Now, I think everyone knows that I'm not running for Mayor. I prefer actual relationships with personal friends and family (people I care about; people that I'll drop everything to help if they need me) over a sea of acquaintances or 'online friends'. I prefer to be a straight-up person that will look you in the eye and have a real conversation . . . but doing so on the web is different than doing so in person. Would you agree?

The other question that comes to my mind is along the lines of how 'honesty' can impact a community's revenue potential. How many advertisers would pay to promote their services on a community where someone's negative experience could be front-and-center? Isn't that the fear of advertising on social networks to begin with? To limit this risk, while still promoting the 'open-ness' that community allows, dogmatic discussions about what community is and is not take center stage. It's very understandable when you look at the cube from a business angle; there is a balance to promoting open-ness while also keeping advertisers happy. Some say that pointing back to the money stream is a non-altruistic way to view the world; I agree that perhaps it is . . . and 10 years ago, I would have agreed more. But I've learned many business lessons and become more aware since becoming an entrepreneur. Many answers are hidden within the slipperty path back to the Greenbacks and Benjamins.

I think of all these things: Out of respect for the person asking for honest feedback, I believe he deserves exactly that. At the same time, out of respect for JD and what he's building here, I don't want to cross any lines in how I provide this honest feedback. I want to see RBC continue to grow and thrive, and I want to be honest while also keeping in mind the ramifications to my personal brand . . . so social media is proving to be an interesting medium (to say the least).

Am I alone in thinking through these issues?

Views: 40

Comment by Jim Canto on September 18, 2008 at 1:21pm
You are absolutely NOT alone. The community is the entity.. an individual. It is only as good as it's word and it's reputation. Reputation is a perception... call it a perception within the market the community serves. You don't get a second chance at a good first impression. If we are interested in the reputation and success of the community, we should act accordingly. As an individual member, I would rather have a good reputation in a reputable community than a great reputation in a community riddled with "virtual vandalism".
Comment by Slouch on September 18, 2008 at 1:54pm
Hey Josh, I appreciate you thinking of the network but I am very ok with the kinds of discussions that get started here. It's not often that discussions get out of control. I don't think the concern about vendors wanting to advertise should stop you or anyone from presenting an opinion.
Comment by Joshua Letourneau on September 18, 2008 at 2:10pm
Cool - just wanted to say I want to ensure the growth and thriving of RBC . . . and I'm glad to see it working out great :)


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