Can We Be Honest, Here?
Warning: This post has no answers, to do lists or tips.
It does have questions.
I came across another very thought provoking post on Google+ this week. This one from Patrick Sharp, an artist, musician and animator.
In his post, Patrick laid out his thoughts on: Establishing efficient communication through social transparency.
He says that the more “socially transparent” we are, the higher the level of social communication we exercise. He uses Facebook and Google+ to demonstrate this.
Because our interactions on Facebook come from pre established relationships, it reinforces “social vagueness” as opposed to “social transparency”. This is because the people we interact with are friends and family and therefore we censor our content so as not to push any buttons or offend anyone.
Because Google+ is a platform where we tend to interact with people based on shared interests, we can be more transparent.
While I understand that we sometimes hold things back from friends, I’m not so sure that we’re all that transparent with people that we don’t have a history with either.
I struggle a bit with the word “transparency” in this context. If self censorship represents social vagueness, then is being entirely honest; social transparency?
When we’re home interacting with family and friends, we usually “tread lightly” because we’re very aware of our shared backstories.
On the other hand, when we go on a trip we can be whoever we want to be and say whatever we want to say. We can also fabricate an entirely a new persona.
As someone aware of my online reputation, my social interaction is influenced by the personal brand I have cultivated.
I’m not sure that Google+ facilitates more transparency as much as it gives us more liberty to choose how transparent we want to be.
To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.
– Edward R. Murrow
As Patrick points out, it’s not that Google+ by definition is a more transparent platform, it’s that it makes it easier because of the distance we have from the people we are close to.
Facebook until recently, was populated solely by close family and friends. In the last while, more peers and acquaintances have appeared on my profile stream so now I’m more conscious of what I post there. (Personal note: clean up Facebook)
On Google+, because of the ease of managing segments of personal and professional followers, I spend much more time there. I suppose I could say that my social interaction there is neither vague or transparent, but “translucent”.
Authenticity is the anthem of social media and if we sing along with it, are we being more transparent?
Or does it come down to a question of not what we choose to share, but what we choose not to?
If we’re transparent, do people see us or thorough us?
(cue Mr. Cellophane)
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.