Social Media Transparency

transparency in social mediaI continue to be amazed at the level of transparency blogging provides.  When a business owner decides to take blogging seriously, it provides a true window into the workings of his or her business.

Sometimes this is a good thing – and sometimes it means that your blog can be working hard at sending the wrong message about your business.

Cath Lawson writes in Dear Blogger – Are You Trying To Sell To The Faithless?

If you were depressed, you probably wouldn’t buy counseling services from someone who wrote constantly about their suicidal thoughts. You might be interested in reading what they had to say but you probably wouldn’t have a whole heap of faith in their ability to help you.

Trouble is, a lot of people do this. They’ll try to sell a product or service but almost every single word they write on their blog screams – “I TOTALLY SUCK AT WHAT I’M TRYING TO SELL”.

Cath is describing social media transparency in action.

Social media transparency in action

Today, as I perused my iGoogle page, I’m able to see the titles of the 3 most recent blog posts of about 50 different bloggers.  I’m amazed at the level of transparency provided by the blog post titles alone.

One blogger has been posting about getting clients to pay their bills.  It doesn’t take a psychic to see that this blogger is having problems with A/R (accounts receivable).  You might think this is a “bad” thing to reveal to your audience but from where I sit, it actually helps to “authenticate” the fact that this blogger has a thriving business.

See, if you’ve got a “real” business then you’re going to deal with REAL business problems.  When I see blog posts from a freelance service provider about collections – I see someone who is about to make a serious change the way he or she does business.  (It doesn’t take too many times of getting “stiffed” as a freelancer before you get REAL comfortable establishing a deposit policy.)

Since I’ve “been there, done that and bought the T-shirt” when it comes to dealing with A/R problems, this level of transparency and authenticity HELPS to build my trust that this blogger’s business is “for real”.

Meanwhile, another blogger has announced that she’s taking a break from blogging to focus on building her business.  This is not a surprise if you look at her last three blog post titles preceding this announcement.  She’s been “hinting” that this for the last few posts.  While her readers are disappointed, they aren’t suprised.

Yet another example of social media transparency in action.

When I start talking about authenticity and transparency, I can’t help but mention Tom Volkar.   In his post Free Yourself Tom writes:

My coaching business has been booming.  It’s become very clear, that I need to cut way back on some blogging and social media activities, in order to focus more on delivering break through results for an increasing number of clients.

You may think, “Of COURSE he’s claiming business is booming!  What else would he be saying?”  Well,  what I’m saying is that even before Tom made this declaration on his blog, his recent blog posts have been “hinting” at this.  Because of the previous body of work  – a.k.a. previous blog posts –  I BELIEVE it when Tom writes that his business is booming.

Transparency and authenticity are both available in abundance over at Tom’s blog – and as a result – business is booming.

Meanwhile, when another blogger is  writing about how fabulously successful his business is and that he has successfully turned blogging into his own personal ATM machine.  That particular blog post has a very hollow ring to it and makes me wonder if he’s one of the blogger’s Cath Lawson had in mind when she wrote her blog post.

You might think the most dangerous time to blog is when you run out of things to say but to that notion I say a hearty – “Oh Nay Nay!”

The most DANGEROUS time to blog is when something is happening in your business that you don’t to reveal.

I’ve recently been talking offline with and about the “uninitiated” who are afraid of what social media and blogging will have to say about their business.  You can watch that train of thought emerge in posts such as “When someone steals your branding” and “The shit fight is beginning – should you join in?

Again, another example of social media transparency in action.

Make no mistake, social media is a powerful force.  The words you blog today will be part of “internet history” for years to come.  However, it’s not just the words YOU blog which will become recorded history. The words other use in their blogs will also become part of that history.

Just remember, if you choose not to participate in the conversation going on in social media, then the cynical and sardonic will be more than happy to define your reputation online for you and social media is providing a plethora of tools which they can use to do just that.


  1. Hi Kathy – I read all those except the ATM guy. And it sounds like you’re right on the mark with him. Folk who make statements like that are rarely running a real business.

    The guy who is posting about getting clients to pay their bills is making the right move. As well as everything you said, I think he’s telling potential customers that he’s not prepared to take any shit.

    I figured some asshole was avoiding paying when I read his posts and I hope their website gets hacked, or something equally horrid. He provides an awesome service and he doesn’t deserve to get ripped off.

    Thank you for mentioning my post and the link by the way.

  2. Hi Kathy,

    I happen to really like transparency. And yet, I see the fine line that can be drawn between too much and too little. Does this mean “it depends” for each person/business out there? It depends on what you’re doing? I’m not sure, although I do believe that you should be cognizant of what you’re saying, and what the possible effects are. Good stuff to think about Kathy.

    Lances last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  3. We coaches hold ourselves to higher levels of authenticity and transparency because without radical integrity we aren’t living by example for our clients. Show me a coach who fears telling it like it is and I’ll show you one with few clients. Authenticity really is the more natural way to go and thus easier to hold to.

    Everything else is just a mask that gets exposed eventually. Thanks Kathy for your continued pointed observations and the link love, of course.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Works last blog post..How To Get the Best Career Advice

  4. Cath – I’m with you. The business owner who is blogging (which I think is different than a “blogger”) is definitely sending a message with his posts about getting paid. Meanwhile, the guy who’s writing about using his blog as an ATM is just blowing smoke.

    Lance- I absolutely ADORE the transparency provided by blogs!!! I must admit, there are a few people who reading their blog has made me decide NOT to do business with them – and vice versa!!!

    Tom – You rock!!! I love the “easier to hold onto” metaphor!! As always – outstanding!!!