But honesty and integrity are personal attributes. What’s more interesting is social media's role leveling our internal playing field of honesty and integrity. When social media levels the playing field for our personal/private and professional/public brands...things get interesting.
I read a steady stream of dialogue about the erosion of personal privacy in our digital media age. Coupled with this is the ever-growing blend of professional and personal personas. Each week is another example of an employee, contractor, consultant, CEO, political leader...sharing a heart-felt, personal and private opinion on x social media which is strikingly inconsistent with their professional and public roles.
The stories race through the blogosphere, twitterville, facebook communities. Tales of woe and tales of warning follow. Each new story makes the subject the poster-child of the instant for not recognizing the power of social media and the internet to expose our private lives, to overlap private with professional.
All the points are excellent. The warnings should be heeded.
But is the cause of concern the loss of privacy or the exposure of the inconsistencies in our lives? When an employee is paid to smile and promote a brand whose promises fall a few undotted i’s and uncrossed t’s short of honest and then chooses to bash that same brand on their facebook page...where is the failure of judgment? Where is the indiscretion? Sharing a few snarky threads on Facebook, etal or spending the day betraying one’s principles and personal integrity.
I can’t remember a single story saying maybe the indiscretion was in first compromising their principles at the job. Granted we all have choices to make and different standards upon which we make those choices. But at the point where you stand for a brand’s misrepresentations during the day (and take the paycheck) and then stand against them with your community (and take their applause) the issue isn’t exposing your private life to your public life. The issue is you expose your public life to your private community.
And the anger that arises seems to be the anger where the veil of a community’s illusions, delusions, are ripped unwillingly from our eyes. Maybe the more appropriate metaphor is that of a mirror. These examples scare us because we see our selves in them. And that view of ourselves isn’t so becoming. And, the social media mob turns on the exposed member and cries foul and banishes them into oblivion with the resulting deletion of their profiles.
As the line between fades between our personal and professional, private and public, lives, our own internal playing field of honesty and integrity will level. THAT’s when we’ll see real change, constructive change, sustainable change. Until then we’ll keep hearing the sounds, in the form of these stories, of these obstructions crashing down around us.