The New Transparency: When Communications Worlds Collide

 
They say we are supposed to have "naked conversations" with the marketplace.  Just let it all hangWhen-worlds-collide out.   Use blogs and an army of communicators to channel the wonderful aspects of your company.
 
This is what we call transparency, and putting a human face on the affair we call The Enterprise.
 
It is what this day and age of social media has handed us; the current state of things for better or worse.  Not necessarily good or bad in its own right, the new realities present both threats and opportunities.  Those who realize this and are smart will take advantage of the opportunities and mitigate the threats.
 
Where does this leave the people charged with defending The Enterprise and communicating its messages?  Does it expose fault lines and aggravate the tensions that have existed between the legal and PR sides?  
 
Social media savvy PR folks who want to go along for the ride need to do so with the full knowledge that they might be jeopardizing their corporate patrons in the process.   Legal folks charged with protecting The Enterprise and keeping it viable are probably not getting too caught up with or concerned about naked conversations.
 
I have decried prepared statements and PR Speak.  Lately I have begun to realize that in the real world sometimes both are necessary.  As much we are all being encouraged to blog, micro-blog and share our lives on social networks, the elephant in the room is the understanding that there are things we'd all rather not share.
 
Trade secrets, for starters, are of course off limits, just ask Apple and their lawyers.
 
Some have suggested staying away from anything that you would not want your friends, family current or potential employers to see.

As another example, some have proposed Micro PR – pitching out in the open, e.g.via Twitter – as a way to use transparency to reduce pitch spam.  Is this really a realistic model?  What is the gainsay in offering the same access to information that everyone else has?

 
Don't those who have rightfully earned the badge of influencer also deserve the right to private conversations and sometimes a heads up about privileged information?
 
There needs to be balance between naked conversations and private ones, the savvy PR people will understand the value of their information and what the market for it is – who should be most interested – and take it to these people, and not necessarily offer
it up hat in hand in the public square.

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