Security n’ Social media

Whoah. Wow. Whoah.

We could not keep ourselves from saying these (and repeat them)  in class as our professor ‘revealed’ some new social media sites we haven’t known or heard before. Our Communication Trends and Styles (OrCom 152) class has never been this interesting, I can say. It was like being able to explore a secret passage in a deep excavation beyond expectation. Perhaps, we have never thought social media are actually beyond tweets, likes, posts, or comments.

Of all what our professor, Sir Barry, showed our class, the efficiency that the Internet gives a person to organize various social media sites while monitoring every update connected to an organization, celebrity, product, or anything there is impacted me the most. The core of our lesson today was how important image and reputation are to organizations and how new social media impact these nowadays. I usually fail to remember that aside from pleasing target markets and doing PR, organizations should prioritize crafting tactics on how to take over their competitors given the relay of tons of information. Information should be designed to engage to customers in one hand and to provide a defense against competitors in the other.

But then, the bigger issue here becomes how are organizations able to manage image and reputation in one hand and security in the other as they stand atop of social media?

Let me illustrate my point in relating what Joshua Cooper Ramo explained in his book The Age of the Unthinkable.

Glass- House Dangers

Ramo says that every nation now, in the context of globalization, is like glass house that is open for other nations to take surveillance on. This is the norm now, for if a nation has to shut itself from globalization,  it opts to suffer.

“If your country is open and democratic, then my open and democratic country can see what you are thinking. You can see what we are thinking.”

Similarly, I realized from today’s class that taking good care of your image and reputation entails comparing yourself with others. The sense is like “there is no such thing as good of there is no bad”. Moreover, in the business setting, every business should be ‘good’ all the time. This now implies segregating what should be in the limelight and what should be kept hidden.

There should be no walls anymore that organizations build to protect themselves from their external environment but instead have strategies that will make them protected while giving out more information.

Monitoring your competitors online seems to be an exciting task actually. It’s more interesting because of the fact that the Net is borderless unlike national war zones. Online battlefield is what the Internet is all about for organizations. Information war is now taken into a higher level where catapults, armies, and shields all comprise an organizational image.

Organization X can track all the information they need to have about their competitors and their competitors can do the same. But then, is this scenario gives an organization more of a benefit or more of a threat?


“Positive transparency means more clarity should mean more stability.”

The idea of positive transparency among nation-states is also applicable to organizations. The more information people has about you, the more they get to know you. The more you disclose honest and genuine information, the more likely you can gain public’s trust. The more people trust you, the more you can earn your way to ‘stability’ as an organization.

But then, nothing works one way. Everything surely has its counterpart.

The existence of “negative transparency” is also discussed in the book. Transparency makes one nervous and realize that there is nothing to be complacent about in return. Ramo explicates this:

If your neighbor’s house was transparent and you could watch him polishing his gun collection, would this  make you feel nervous or less? What if you just watched him while he watched you?

Information battle makes one, or an organization, alert and prepared than ever at the very least. This is another thing organizations should prioritize:  how to be ready at all times given that environmental uncertainties abound. An organization must keep an observing eye to its surroundings and watch its competitors’ every move without being too anxious on their part.

Disclosing too little information in social media is detrimental nowadays for organizations as well giving out too much. How the battle will be won over relies on how companies develop strategies on how they can deliver just the right amount of information to its public, allow customers to be brand ambassadors themselves and let the web pages and blogs do the talking for them. To thrive as an organization may mean being Machiavellian of some sort but keeping the organization’s values intact and adhering to corporate ethical principles will surely lead organizations as glass houses the security they long to have.

4 responses

  1. As orcommunicologists, I believe that we are the ones responsible for disclosing the right amount, and kind of information to our publics.
    Your are right that the organization may be compared to nation-states. (I remember our DS126 class.) Both nation-states and organizations must have transparency and accountability to be able to reduce environmental uncertainties, develop and maintain a good relationship with the publics, and remain in existence. It is not only in transparency that we gain trust; but also in accountability. Organizations must face the consequences of every action they do. This entails trust from the publics, as well as respect. They will then provide positive feedback towards the organization and they will do the talking for them, of course through word-of-mouth and social media. 🙂

    August 3, 2010 at 10:39 AM

  2. Yes,I agree. Nation- states are like organizations. The government needs to be more transparent! That’s why I’m suggesting they attend our 152 class 🙂

    But seriously, people want our government offices to be more transparent. We also want to be aware of what they’re doing and what we could do to help. Hmmm…The government is for the people so why not let the people be closer to the government? Filipinos lead the way in the use of Facebook! The government could make use of that opportunity.

    I’m taking back what I suggested. It would be too crowded if they attend our class. 🙂

    August 7, 2010 at 10:27 PM

  3. blahblahblogsheet

    I seriously love that book! It happens that the issue of transparency was my favorite concept he discussed. Anyway, I believe that it is the company’s responsibility to regulate information they give out using new social media. There should just be a balance on information dissemination, not too little not too much.

    October 2, 2010 at 7:22 PM

  4. I think Positive Transparency is the answer to the woes of privacy and the cons of glass houses that organizations nowadays are being afflicted of. After all, if you have nothing bad to hide why be anxious of covering things up, right? But as we are not living in an ideal world and a lot of companies are aiming on bringing down their competitors, it is necessary for organizations to be vigilant and observe so that at the first sign of trouble, they can counter it already with good online publicity and their good reputation.

    October 2, 2010 at 7:53 PM

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