Since posting the original post Scott as contacted me to say that he was misquoted and that he didn’t say that immediacy trumps authenticity – and I’m happy to update the post to reflect this. I’ve included the original post below for context.
The conversation I had with Scott raises some interesting issues – including the problem of paraphrasing in 140 characters, the value of social media when an audience shares something incorrectly [either because paraphrasing misrepresents what was said, or because it has been misunderstood] and the potential pitfalls of allowing a message to be shared by third-parties. It also demonstrates the importance of context – a point made by Scott that makes is that it’s always best to be in the room to hear first hand what is being said. I couldn’t agree more.
But it raises trust issues with anything posted on a social platform and – as I have said repeatedly – the ability of an algorhythm [Google’s, Klout’s…] to determine who should be trusted, who is credible and who adds value. If the only context is the sharing of a social post or volume of repeat visits to a website these algorhythms have no way of measuring the accuracy, relevance, accuracy or credibility of individual accounts.
I don’t know how technology fixes this, but I do question the value of computers measuring credibility or trust. The only sensible way would appear to be in the same room – to hear what is said and to see the whites of somebody’s eyes in order to judge that individuals credibility and trustworthiness. It also suggests that Apple has its social policy spot on – and more companies should follow the company’s lead.
And, it also raises questions about my approach to these questions. I’m increasingly spending less time on social platforms and more time meeting people in person – and in that vein I’m inviting Scott for a coffee. It seems unfair for me to judge him based on social media and online – so until I have the chance to meet him I’ll reserve my judgement. Name a coffee shop in the city we both call home and a time Scott, and I’ll be there.
It’s a great sound bite, but it is simply not true.
If you’ve read the THINK blog before you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of Scott Stratten [@unmarketing on Twitter]. I read his first book, watched some videos and read a few interviews with him and wasn’t impressed. But I have to be honest even I was surprised by what I read from the Canadian Public Relations Society annual conference – at which he was a keynote speaker.
If you believe Scott, speed of response – immediacy to use his words – is now more important than authenticity. Being quick to respond is, it would appear, more important than being real or credible.
Ask yourself, would you rather somebody respond with a quick answer than a right answer? Reply as quickly as possible or when they have the correct answer? Pretend to be something they aren’t, in the name of speed, or be themselves? Do you want somebody to tell you then can help you – only to find out down the line that they can’t? Do you want a pilot to do the first thing he thinks of in an emergency – or the right thing?! What if the EMS sent out the first available person, rather than somebody that was qualified to provide treatment?!
I know which I’d prefer.
My other concern about this approach is that expecting to build long-term relationships, based on speed, rather than credibility and trust is setting unreasonable expectations. I’m also not sure that the people you’re trying to build relationships with will hang around if they find out you’ve lied to them for the sake of speed. Relationships take time to build – for a good reason. Immediacy is the biggest social deception.
I hate the word authentic because, more often than not, it is used by people that are trying to convince you they are being themselves – rather than actually being themselves. “Authenticity” is a mask worn by people that are scared you’ll see who they really are if they are themselves.
I’ve been reading about Apple this morning – discussions about whether the company is social or anti-social because it shies away from the mainstream social platforms. They are, to my mind, one of the most social companies out there because they’ve built relationships – strong relationships that are the envy of many – based on strong, real, values and continually delivering exceptional products. Steve Jobs once said he’d rather have the best product in a segment rather than the first product to market – quality over speed; “authenticity” over immediacy. People may not have liked Steve Jobs personality, but they love the products created around the values which he lived and worked by…
But that’s another post!
Which shows somebody cares most – speed or being real? Let me know in the comments below.