If you have a business, this article is a must read. If you don’t have a business, this article is a must read. People are much more in control of their environment, career, life, etc. when they are fully literate. Yes I know you can read and write; but are you fully literate?
Does social media affect the value of relationships; the ability to trust an individual or organization; and the overall flow of currency in an economy?
To answer this question let’s look at the state of Georgia, the city of Atlanta and the social media of the city’s individuals, businesses and government agencies with influence. In 2012 Georgia was rated the most corrupt state in the Union. 650 employees were found to have taken gifts from vendors in 2007 and 2008, which is a violation of state law, and yet there have been no penalties since 1999. All 50 states had less than desirable results; but are the states with less problems also those with leaders who are influential and engaged? Many of our local politicians only engage in social media during election time. Each person holding an office should have a reputation profile. By closing the gap on easy deception, there will be more pressure to provide good service, transparency and full disclosure online and off. The voice of the customer and community is becoming a necessary ingredient to corporate and government policy, local and global. But this necessity can not be met if the citizens are not fully literate and engaged.
Atlanta is a city that is hungry for transparency, collaboration and trust.
Thousands of Atlanta start-ups and innovators in the education, music, television, healthcare, nonprofit and government sectors are changing the face of their industries. Those innovators who have grasped the concepts, benefits and returns of having a strong so-media strategy are influential among their online communities, appreciated by their customers and admired by their peers. As in every industry the people eventually drive the culture and not the trend setters and product pushers. This means the power is always in the hands of the public. An organization with quality based values, when policed by it’s members, who are engaged and transparent, is less susceptible to fraud and deceit.
I’ve written two previous articles about trust, reputation, online branding and transparency in the past. After several online discussions and presenting the topics in various forums, I have come to see that it needs to be simplified. There is fear around privacy, and online safety as well as the future capabilities of computers. Like with all societal debates, there are various view points, levels of experience and reasons for agreement or disagreement around technological advancements. It is difficult if not impossible to narrow the discussion down so that it addresses all concerns while being simple enough for all to understand. This article includes excerpts from previous articles, comments and questions that I have gathered from real individuals with real concerns.
The advancements in computer technology is scary at times; should we be concerned, and how do we stay protected?
Literacy builds courage, which in turn builds trust. Technology is moving at a rate that is mind blowing at times; however we need only fear it if we are not literate of the functionality, how to succeed, and how to stay safe. In the article Building reputation and finding trust, I posed a few questions.
Without transparency there can be no trust. Don’t believe me? When is the last time you got a job without a background check? When is the last time you dated someone without Googling them? Do you purchase things online without first researching the company and their sales ratings? When you leave this article you will click my profile to see if I know what I am talking about. If you are not doing any or all of these things, how has that been working out for you?
There were no “reputation networks” or “online influence ratings” a few years ago. If you still aren’t buying the notion of online influence, check out my article ‘Getting to the bottom line of social influence’. Giving truthful information when signing on to reputation websites may even be scary, to someone who is legitimate and trusted, if they fear being exposed. Safety and privacy is important, relative to your own interpretation. However, be sure that your interpretation of privacy coincides with your industry. Being overly suspicious is a sure way not to find other trustworthy people; and refusing to learn about technology is a sure way to illiteracy.
There is no trust without transparency.
Connect.me started with a group of Trust Anchors to help users establish reputation and credibility online. Drummond Reed, one of the founders of Connect.me and the Respect Network shares, one thing he wants people who have not yet joined any reputation network and don’t get what it is all about to keep in mind:
Reputation networks may seem as novel today as social networks were a decade ago. But the reason they will become as widespread as social networks is because they enable people to share not just who they know, but what they value about those connections. That knowledge has great value, and at Connect.Me we believe a peer-to-peer reputation network designed to help individuals capture and share that value — a “Wikipedia or reputation” — can unlock the tremendous potential of what Rachel Botsman refers to in her video as the Reputation Economy — of what Doc Searls calls the Intention Economy (in his book of that name).
The Respect Network is an organization of companies including Connect.me, TrustCloud, and Kyntex. My profile on each is a representation of the work that I’ve done, the lives I have touched and my credibility. I am a Founding Trust Anchor of Connect.me; and I have a pretty okay TrustCard. After a few years of research it has become evident that not being open to trust is what makes you susceptible to being scammed. There are no black and white rules of trust or innovation. You can not ignore something profound simply because you do not understand it.
If each individual, like with most other things, does their part to maintain respect, privacy, accurate numbers, share honestly and be transparent; there will be less confusion and it will be easier to identify the people who are dishonest or those trying to “game the system” to promote their own numbers. Some continue to write off social media and even the Internet as a passing fad. But writing off a concept does not make it any less valid; and it also does not save us from the fear that bombards us when we are in the dark about things that are certain to affect us.