Mark Slater’s Weblog

Musings about work, life, and all things in between

The Paradox of Fake

everyone i know now shares information or participates in a sharing exercise online.

this article this morning, got me thinking about what i believe is the paradox of fake. Its all around us in our business lives and it is being slowly eroded. The fakeness (is that a word?) like a bubble that so many of us exist within in our professional lives is slowly becoming transparent.

consider this

We were talking to the VP for online strategy at a big Silicon Valley company last week. Among other tasks she helps the company’s senior executives create a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

“Some of them are terrified,” she said.

What’s so scary? Many executives fear posting something personal that might prove damaging. It needn’t be a lampshade on the head, either. Perhaps it’s vacation photos from a second home that looks too opulent at a time when employees are losing jobs. Or maybe their support for a controversial ballot proposition proves a bit too vocal.

That’s why you see some executives, if they’re on Facebook at all, posed in their profile picture as if for the annual report, and with nothing personal posted to their “information” tab. Such reticence will soon be scarce as all of us recognize the powerful and important reasons for sharing our personal selves online.

That is positively commical. The very executives who’s mandate is to drive the populations publicness – has second thoughts about lifting its skirt! This is the paradox of fake when these people are so conflicted by being who they really are as it clashes with who they believe they professionally feel the need to be seen as.

The bottom line is we live our lives in public. In fact we always have. We have just chosen to speak about privacy rather than our own level of publicness. read Jeff jarvis on the subject. This is a great article that truly captures this notion of publicness, and why statements like that above, Coming from the harvard Business School no less are truly perplexing.

the paradox of fake – demands that if you truly want your professional persona seperated from who you really are – then you cannot exist in any fashion online – no digital mirror, no ambient intimacy – nothing. The internet wont let you. If you try to control this and put a PR piece out there, you will be found out for what you really are eventually.

Which brings me to my last point: The importance of face to face interaction has grown exponentially. For me its still the ground zero of who a person truly is.

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