Social Media and Abuse of Trust?

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Tim Otis at Daily Axiom recently spoke about what he labeled “social media @-kissers.” These are individuals who abuse social media trust by using social media in a strategic manner. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“I feel as though we’ve really abused the issue of trust in some ways, and have actually redefined the notion of it by simply kissing up to blog writers via comment, retweeting Twitter posts—and for what? Their approval? Since when is approval even remotely close to trust? Being connected is all about approval, not about trust. Somehow social media has blurred those lines and people are listening to it.”

This is certainly not a new concept. Many folks have recognized this for quite sometime and I commend Tim for speaking out on something he feels strongly about. In many ways, I agree with him.

Reading further, Tim notes what we should all know about social media. It’s about being natural:

“…I’ve found the same thing time and time again: [social media is] about being natural. The minute you’re forcing something to go through to reach your targeted audience, you will fail, because it reeks of being contrived.”

Tim’s post got me thinking about the true effectiveness of social media, especially Twitter, so I shared my thoughts on his blog. I agree with his points regarding abuse of trust issues, seeking SM celebrity approval and agenda-setting, but I do not necessarily think that it derails the effectiveness of the service. That is because in many cases, Twitter is an extension of our real life actions.

I was reminded of the “Twitter is a cocktail party,” comparison. When one goes to a cocktail party or networking event, many work the room with a purpose. Some people act natural and some come off as phony. The phony can obviously be spotted miles away, yet I’ve seen both strategies result in the same successful outcome.

Is this right? Is it wrong? Will we ever truly know?

What I do know is that at the end of the day, you will always be able to find me hanging out with the “natural” crowd.

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4 thoughts on “Social Media and Abuse of Trust?

  1. Great post Nick. Seems to me on all the social networking websites have their fair share of people/crap you need to filter through. Can’t help but think about our discussions about accountability after reading through this.

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