It’s not easy being open-hearted online

I work with a range of clients who struggle with this question of ‘how open to be online’ – it’s a real struggle to know how open you should be with your knowledge, struggles and learnings/failures.

But there are people taking real risks by sharing their story online – see Define American‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning founder Jose Antonio Vargas and his deeply vulnerable story of being an undocumented American.

It kinda puts our futzing in perspective, no?

The web’s over-used mantras of authenticity and transparency are holding strong in the webby lexicon. But though I find them annoying, I still find myself using them to describe successful online endeavours. These web values are important and interconnected – if you’re not being real, people can usually see right through you.

The Intertubes may be a vast network of billions, but it’s still oddly intimate – our words are still interact with one person at a time. And we can generally sniff out the fake, deceptive writing in a short order, despite marketing and PR having spun us into circles over decades of media exposure. We’ve developed ad-space radar and affiliate distaste, blocking these from our web experience so as to seek out some truthful, reliable sources to inform our worldview and decisions.

Can we take off our policy wonk, academic, jargon-laden posturing once in a while and be a bit more real with our online audiences?

Image courtesy of tracy the astonishing