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Trust is linked to Transparency. Discuss.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. In the age that we live in today, privacy is dead. The more we share, the richer the picture people can build up about us.

We live in an always on, entirely open, information rich, platform agnostic super high way of facts, however trivial or indeed factual.

This won’t be the case for everyone and will differ wildly for industries/disciplines (my brother, the accountant is probably one of the exceptions) but for the bunch of us living the dream in this whole online pr/ digital advertising / social media type life..

We can see where they are on Foursquare, who they are with on tagged photos on Facebook, what they had for lunch on Twitter (yawn), who they work for on LinkedIn, what music they listen to on MySpace, Spotify or, what videos they watch on YouTube and find out about a friends purchases on Blippy.

This is all public information. We are openly allowing the dissemination of this information out there in to the ether. And this somewhat frightening thought doesn’t bother me at all. Should it?

But what brought this thinking along was when my boss @helenium and her boss @ewarwoowar added me as a friend on Facebook yesterday. Facebook is a funny one because I didn’t accept my mother as a friend. I want some private space somewhere on the Internet! So this did bother me for a short while, I’ll be honest. The one place I can allow myself some privacy on was being infiltrated. But then I thought what have I got to worry about and accepted. Self censorship is all the rage these days.

The crux of my argument (to myself) rested on the fact that if i didn’t accept their friend request I would obviously have something to hide and they wouldn’t be able to trust me. So in that respect, privacy is dead and the levels of transparency proffered is directly linked to trust. Because I’d have something to hide if I didn’t open my profile up to them. I don’t have anything to hide bar from some unsavoury drunken pictures when out and about but that’s me outside of work, it’s a different story entirely. And that I believe is respected with a really good work life balance at Dare. I think they kinda want you to have a personality and a life rather than the other way around.

We’ve seen that there are cases that this data can be used to show that we need to be wary what exactly it is we’re telling everyone, is a perfect example. It’s fine to check in to a bar but if you A) give out your home address and B) check in and out of it, someone can know when you’ve left home for work in the morning and be lying in wait. A sinister and terrifying thought but one that is valid nonetheless. Don’t get me started on checking in to tube stations..

If you are googling someone who you just want to find out a bit more about and nothing comes up, wouldn’t you be more concerned than seeing a few drunken photos of them on a weekend? I know what I think. Being private is now being hidden. Privacy is dead.

So what does this all mean and where are we heading?

Well, social media has opened us up to the world. For better or worse we now know or have the ability to know the very last minute detail about the people we work with and the same applies for people we might be hiring. We’d probably check them out online before even the first interview takes place and know quite personal facts about them before that very first hello.


An example: A friend told me recently about someone they were looking at hiring, so a couple of weeks before the initial interview was pencilled in they started keeping more of an eye on their online profiles. Over time, the friend said that they felt that they had built an accurate enough picture of the individual by how they talk and carry themselves with others online that they didn’t pursue employment with the individual. Again, fascinating, but this time a pitfall of being openly transparent.

Again, fascinating, but this time a pitfall of being openly transparent. Being more open is good but be careful.

I could go on. But I won’t.

Trust is linked to Transparency. Discuss.

One reply on “Trust is linked to Transparency. Discuss.”

Interesting post, Mike…The thing that amuses me about talking about privacy in relation to personal profiles is that…personally, I really don't think it's dead. Because it's all opt-in. What you put on your profiles, what you tweet, where you check-in on Foursquare…it's all done with an eye to what you really want people to know. Okay, so it doesn't stop people oversharing, but the point is they're choosing to put it in the public arena, it isn't being put out there for them despite their express wishes.

I think the bit where privacy really is dead in relation to the internet more importantly, is the stuff that we don't want mining because it's technically not in the 'public' sphere ('scuse me while I give a hearty glare in the general Google direction).

As for employers and family…tricky one, but there's always the “politely decline and offer a reason” route…or if all else fails (I know I wimp out on that one), there's always the limited profile settings 😉

Also, I think companies have been screening social profiles for quite a while ( Surely it has to be better for a company to realise the would-be employee might not be the best fit for their company before hiring them? It's a double-edged knife, I think, given that profiles might give the wrong impression, but personally, I think your networks are usually a fairly accurate reflection of your personality.

*shrug* My two pennies, for what they're worth 🙂

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