Authenticity in Social Media

I intentionally try to avoid traditionally controversial subjects in my blog such as politics and religion to name a few.  I have other things I’d rather write about and want to keep my blog on more of a professional level than personal level.  I’d also rather not add fuel to the fire of a rumor.  So, it’s with some hesitation that I write this post.

I read an article on The Hill about Mitt Romney’s Twitter account that I thought was rather interesting.  Presidential candidates seemingly have everything scrutinized with a magnifying glass these days.  Someone noticed that Romney’s account, which had been averaging 3,000-4,000 new followers daily had suddenly picked up almost 100,000 followers in a two-day period.  And, this increase occurred without any significant change in his engagement with followers.  Immediately the speculation was that his campaign was buying Twitter followers.

This certainly is not very newsworthy, especially since it’s speculation at this point.  But fact or fiction, it is a great example of the importance that authenticity plays in social media.  In a previous post that still generates weekly views, I offered 3 reasons why quality is more important than quantity when it comes to social media.

The number one reason I listed in that post is that when fans/followers can be bought, your authenticity comes into question.  Whether it’s a politician or a consumer brand, most people won’t tolerate a fake.  Engagement cannot happen with fans/followers who do not have a true interest, let alone may not exist in the first place.

Don’t just take my word for it.  A recent research study from About.com demonstrated that activity (i.e., engagement) on a Facebook page was a better indicator of trust than the number of “likes” a page had.  In fact, 84% said that being trustworthy is a requirement before interacting with a page or info source.

Again, fact or fiction, here’s a current reminder why quality is more important than quantity when it comes to social media.  What are your thoughts when it comes to authenticity in social media?

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2 thoughts on “Authenticity in Social Media

  1. Arthur, this very topic has come to my attention several times recently. I heard on a recent NPR news article about research studies that say people are often depressed after reading FaceBook posts because of other’s happiness or successes. The article says that what people post are the happy parts but nothing is said about the circumstances that lead this person or family to their destination such as going into debt or squabbles over the trip etc. Honestly, I have found myself being envious at times. This is something I’d like to read more about. Then, while driving through our small village, I have noticed the sermon listings at one of the local churches. I am fascinated by the broad topics spoken about there. This past Sunday was “The Lies We Tell on FaceBook.” I am so intrigued by this that I will be contacting the pastor to get a copy of his sermon. I would imagine there is a definite envy on LinkedIn due to the economy and unevenness of people gaining and losing employment. No one talks about it but there *must* be an emotional response. Because it all intrigues me, I remain connected, partly as an analyst, partly as an engaged member.

  2. Pingback: Authenticity in Advertising | Arthur Catalanello Consulting

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