Honesty is a Social Media Pillar

There are a few fundamental pillars upon which social media sits; honesty is one of them. No, this isn’t your fathers marketing.

I was reading an interesting article in the New York Times about how companies are starting to add social media specialists to their rolls and how some enterprising individuals are making good use of social media to land these jobs. All good, but two things stood out to me and I wasn’t happy about either. At one point the article talks about David Puner of Dunkin Donuts (@dunkindonuts).

Recently he said he told his tweeps (Twitter followers) he was going to a Bruce Springsteen concert wearing a pink Dunkin’ Donuts cape. So did he? “I didn’t really do that,” he said. “I’m not the type to shoot T-shirts out of a cannon into the crowd.”

It’s not a big thing but it disturbs me. What else has he lied about? David’s and more importantly Dunkin Donuts credibility takes a big hit for this as far as I am concerned. You cannot lie in social media. You should not mislead. Social Media is like your parents, they will always find out eventually and you will be much worse off than if you had just told the truth in the first place. And by the way, he should have done it, and taken a picture. It would have been awesome.

The end of the article talks about David Ready Jr. the winemaker at Murphy-Go0de. The winery is hiring a social media person to tweet about wine.

But there have been drawbacks, too. During a recent interview Mr. Ready was asked if he used Twitter. When he said no, his publicist gave him a stern warning. “She told me to stop telling them I don’t have a Twitter account,” he said. “But then I thought, ‘Aren’t we hiring someone to do that for us?’ ”

Mr. Ready is precisely correct and the publicist, not surprisingly, is an idiot. Why would she set him up to lie about a Twitter account? Is he supposed to say yes?  Someone will check and find out he does not. Remember, your parents. Or if they give him an account but there is nothing in it, it’s just as bad. There is no crime in not having a Twitter account. I’m sure Mr. Ready keeps pretty busy looking after the wine, he doesn’t need to Twitter. In fact, has he said, they are hiring someone to handle Twitter for them. It’s sort of the whole point.

The lesson here is simple, don’t lie. You won’t get away with it and when you don’t someone will Tweet about it or write a blog post about it. If you especially unlucky or if it is a particularly juicy one it may go viral, spreading to tens of thousands of people. In addition, never forget the Long Tail of the Internet. Those blog posts will be around for a very long time. One of the best things about the Internet is that it is forcing business to play fair. It’s much harder to get away with the kinds of nonsense companies typically try to get away with. That’s good for all of us.

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