Did social media cause us to demand honesty and personality in business? Or was the development of social media an inevitable result of the inauthenticity and lack of trust that shadowed corporate America?
A concept that I’ve long thought about since first learning about business, was that I didn’t want to be that “stuck-up, fake” business person. I wanted the business world to “loosen up”. I wanted to help change the mentality.
I watched Mark Hughes, author of Buzz Marketing (I highly recommend this book) speak the other day and he said something that really resonated with me. It’s also in his book:
“Corporation mistrust is just a few headlines away: Enron, Adelphia, MCI, Tyco etc…Corporations have demonstrated that they can easily lie, mislead, or obfuscate…the solution is to abandon any appearance of a corporate look. Corporate looks slick. Corporate looks like there’s something being hidden amid seeming perfection.”
It got me thinking a lot. It explained my perspective of the business world very well. It also got me thinking about social media (surprised?).
Then Jennifer Wilbur posted this rant on Arik Hanson’s blog. It got me thinking even more. Jen rages:
“Is it just me, or do people talking about someone acting “professionally” often seem to make judgments based on one’s dress, language and polish, rather than on the quality of one’s ethical behavior and technical savvy?”
She speaks about this problem of the professional image being viewed as more important than having strong professional qualities. She also brings up the breach of trust by corporate America.
…but this has always been the case. At least, as long as I’ve known it, it’s always been about clean resumes, cleaner suits and cleanest images. So why the sudden shift? Why is it that NOW we’re calling for honesty, trust, transparency, personality, and all these concepts that have become the center of conversation?
Did social media cause us to believe in these values? I don’t think so. I believe the shift to these values is a social response to a negative and dangerous “professional mentality” that could no longer be allowed to exist, and social media is just one method we’re using to change it.
Regardless of “embracing social media”…Are you still thinking with the old “professional business mentality”?