Authenticity, Transparency, Privacy and Our Public Persona

Posted by Alexander Irving under Blogging, General, New Media, Strategy, The PR Mindset

7/30/2009 , 6:05:14 AM

Reach Out & Touch Someone

We’ve written a number of blog posts on staying aware of your on-line legacy when participating in the social media  community (e.g. What Not to Do in Public Places and The World Wide Web is a Very Sticky Place).  The thrust of the posts was primarily to make you aware of the potential consequences of what you write in Facebook and on Twitter.

But there is a whole other element of awareness about social media that needs mention .… the element of ‘authenticity’.  We are, after all, human beings as well as professionals … and have in common many feelings and problems we don’t share in public because they are … well …  ‘private’.

Someone being ‘authentic’, (sharing who they really are, what they really think, or what is really happening to them) always gets my full attention … and quite often … identification.  What they say resonates. I am drawn to them.  I listen on a whole different level.  They become ‘more important’ to me, beyond my first level of interest.

I suspect it has to do with the basic stuff of relationships … risk and trust.  Their words and feelings touch me, resonate, and ripple outwards (thus this post).  All of us who read the message or experience are affected and want to share it with others.  Another recent example of a visceral reaction to a personal experience was the unbelievably dramatic response to Susan Boyle on the ‘Britains Have Talent’ show.

A day or so ago, scanning my Google Reader for interesting blog posts, I ran across the post below from Mari Smith, one of the good guy (gal) Facebook and social media consultants.  Suddenly, I am paying even closer attention to Mari and her writings.  I realize she lives not far from Sharon and me here in the San Diego area.

I’ve followed her blog for a while now and learned many good things from her.  Now I want to meet her, speak with her, and perhaps find out how we might work together to our client’s benefit.  I am drawn to her on a whole different level.


What motivated me to get off my butt and consider taking action to contact her?  Answer … Her blog post, “Choosing To Share My Private Journey – A Transparent Update“.  It’s personal and off-topic for her area of expertise.  But I guess it wasn’t off-topic at all.  It made her real to me.  It made me want to meet this interesting person who is also a professional Facebook and social media coach … someone real and authentic.  For companies and individuals involved and using social media, isn’t that one of our goals?  To shake people up and get them involved enough to take action.  Hmmmm … I guess her post accomplished a lot.  I guess it wasn’t off-topic .

Glad to meet you Mari.  I look forward to learning more about you and your work in the near future.

How Do You Feel About Sharing Your Personal Experiences In Public Places?

How Much of You Do you Share With Your Clients?  How Do You Deal With This?

Title photo by Yolise

One response to “Authenticity, Transparency, Privacy and Our Public Persona”

  1. Poza Salon says:

    I really don’t mind sharing my personal experiences online. I am an open book, what you see is …ME. I do wonder though..if this is different depending on your age group. It seems that generation X & Y( I’m a Y) are more open online.
    Can’t wait to read everyone elses response 🙂
    Sara” Zahava” Thornton