Today everyone is a social media expert or guru just by naming and claiming the title. WOMMA and other institutions offer accreditation for some of their courses, but how many of the world’s social media experts have ever taken a course? Should there be requirements or the equivalent of a social media “driving test” taken before being able to claim social media expertise?
Sure the FTC has rules around bloggers and how they must handle their sponsored content, but that is a small portion of the online content. And most monitoring is self-monitored, as it would take armies of FTC regulators and independent watchdogs to monitor the massive amount of content.
And although I have upon occasion used Twitter or a Facebook page to rant and rave about an errant brand that had not giving a satisfactory answer to a problem, I don’t believe that that should be the first place a consumer should go. I’ve seen bloggers rant just because it gives them perceived notoriety and social currency. But shouldn’t there be some sense of integrity and respect for how we handle complaints? Aren’t such rants subject to lawsuits for slander/defamation or the publishing of malicious, threatening statements?
It’s time for greater responsibility on behalf of everyone leveraging social media.
Include links to sources. If you are using a resource for something you’ve written, you should always provide a link the source and state that the source is as part of the copy. Not everyone will click on the link so clearly stating the source with the link over to the complete background just seems to make it crystal clear.
Fact check your facts and figures. The web is full of duplicate information and often the numbers change from site to site. It’s important to check facts and figures from multiple sites and assess the credibility of the source.
Clearly state when something you’ve written is a “personal opinion.” It’s okay to have an opinion. In fact, the web should have more opinions voiced, but if it’s your opinion, it should be made clear that it is your personal thought, not a stated fact.
Give credit where credit is due. All too often content is not credited. Or not credited properly by providing links to the original piece of content. Just yesterday, I found a piece of my content quoted on another site. I wrote that content under my Collective Bias title, yet the site that had quoted my original content called me a “writer.” I’m debating sending an email to them asking them to use my real title that I’ve worked 35 years to attain.
The issue will be monitoring the massive amounts of content and it’s a near impossible task. So we as purveyors of content need to self-regulate and make it part of our personal brand building–the foundations of delivering on the concept of transparency and being a trusted resource. And aren’t those two of the most important tenants of social media?