Transparency, Opacity or Radical Translucency?
How do you gain influence in an age of transparency? Social media has given us a completely new audience to engage with, but it doesn’t mean that the rules have changed—we must be as open and honest in the online realm as we are in conversation, print or multimedia forms.
Think of it has having a performance with a purpose: the purpose of your performance in the blogosphere and twitterverse could be for greater social good or just the advancement of your brand or identity. It is extremely important to remain transparent throughout social media in order to build trust. Once trust is established, you become the “go-to” when the waters are calm as well as when there is concern. This ensures your voice is heard and more importantly, listened to.
Expectations of interactions online have changed because of the presence of social media in every facet of our lives and as a result, there is a tremendous want for authenticity. So be authentic, be human, and be real. Transparency however does come with a risk—the risk of opacity. PR has always had the role of gatekeeper and the messenger of information. Giving the illusion that you’re hiding things behind a gate (whether you mean to or not) may stir curiosity or suspicion in the eyes of consumers. So what’s the solution?
It’s a concept called radical translucency, keeping a delicate balance between opacity and transparency. Think of it as a shower curtain: you can see just enough to know what is there, but you’re not able to see the most intimate details, which are the only details that should remain private. While keeping this balance, there needs to be relationship building within the influencer circles: listening, engagement, sharing and helping. This provides an opportunity to be sort of a mini-media company by partaking in content curation and sharing—a huge component of gaining influence online.
Hear more of the PRWeek Influence in the Age of Transparency webcast with Steve Barrett (editor-in-chief, PRWeek), Catherine Fisher (director, corporate communications, Netflix), Bert DuMars (VP, e-business and interactive marketing, Newell Rubbermaid), Bonin Bough (global director of digital and social media, PepsiCo) and Jennifer Houston (president, WE Studio D, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide).
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