There is an old saying: “Those who know don’t tell, and those who tell, don’t know.”
We don’t hear honest stories enough but if we did I think that could be a catalyst for real change.
These are the things we should blog about more, not only because we need to vent and get support but also it’s the personal stories that reflect social reality.
- The personal is political.
- The personal is economic.
- The personal is cultural.
The personal can change society for the better.
What happens when we proliferate the opposite? All the supposedly "authentic" and "unbiased" interviews, case studies, market research, Facebook posts, Tweets and blogs that are only there to sell.
Typically they have no disclaimer at all, because you're just supposed to know that they're promotional.
Truth be told, I have come to expect it but also feel a little angry trying to figure out the credentials of every piece of information out there. I fully understand that "product placement" is a value creator in the New Economy. But the longer-term consequence of undermining true social media is a culture of inherent distrust.
A couple of issues here:
- How do we make it safe for people to share their personal experiences in a constructive way?
- How can we establish rules of the road, so that business blogs and posts are clearly “marked” to the reader so that they know where your interests lie and so they can judge for themselves how big a grain of salt they should take it with?
We are seeing the rise of a transparency ethic that insists on peeling away the layers of the onion ruthlessly, even if it seems like no matter how much you do so there is always more underneath.
It’s one of those social experiments where we don’t have all the answers now, and so we will inevitably make many mistakes until we find some kind of balance.
The most important civil right we have is free speech. We shouldn't ruin it with phony sales talk.
All opinions my own. Photo by Philippe Teuwen via Flickr.