Oh Baby Please Give A Little Respect, Privacy, and Transparency, To Me

plui/ November 26, 2015/ Ponderings/ 1 comments

Transparency and privacy is not what is used to be. These terms have evolved as much as social media and the Internet has taken over daily human life. Paul Klein states in his Forbes article, Transparency: Social Media is Forcing You to Tell the Truth, “what transparency means to business has changed dramatically”, and in the old business world, only a “minimum degree of disclosure to which agreements, dealings, practices, and transactions are open to all for verification…” But in today’s free-flowing digital world, this simply isn’t enough. The users of social media and the Internet won’t allow it, especially for institutions of both the public and private. [1]Transparency: Social Media is Forcing You to Tell the Truth, Paul Klein. Forbes, ...continue

Transparency, privacy, and respect, especially for non-profit organizations and government agencies, due to the amount of public and ethical responsibilities they are accountable for. Social media is a transparent-hungry and shame-mongering arena at times, unfortunately, and respected organizations need to be as authentic and unshady as possible and constantly. Here are 3 strategies government agencies can demonstrate transparency to all of it’s constituents and public at large:


Government agencies can make it protocol and policy to outsource to trusted affiliates and constituents of the general public before rolling out a major project, whether it is a new program initiative or policy. By crowdsourcing opinions and thoughts from the public, an agency displays a trust towards their audience and shows that they are listening. The agency must execute this authentically to show commitment to transparency and that their voices can induce change.

Staff Culture

Internally, a government agency can implements a set of organizational policies to foster a culture of healthy understanding with transparency in social media. Staff and employees will in turn have the skills to be positive representatives of the agency, which will translate into engagement with constituents online and creating efficient and authentic relationships.


Similar to crowdsourcing, where a government agency genuinely asks from the public for input to enact positive change, petitions is a strategy to help enact change in response to a negative event. Petitions could be created by the public to uncover a problem within a government agency, and they can also be used by agencies to advocate transparency and ethical practice in the wider public arena. Agencies must respond to and not ignore petitions and complaints made by their audience.

Respect & Disrespect:

Other than transparency, general respect and disrespect has also evolved in social media over the years. As I mentioned before, we are currently operating in a social culture of shaming whenever an individual or an organization does something presumable unethical or politically incorrect. It is important to know how to operate respectfully to avoid public problems a disrespectful post can cause. It is also important to know how to respond and react when these incidents occur around an organization you are affiliated with. Below are examples of a respectful social media post and a disrespectful social media post:

Nerdist - Men In Black Featuring Women post


Vestra Inet - www.vestrainet.com

Vestra Inet – www.vestrainet.com

The first image is an especially respectful post made by the Nerdist.com Facebook Page. This post respectfully highlights a current social issue in employment equality by making a satirical reference to Jeopardy. Nerdist appealed to it’s audience with humour and many relatable pop culture references. The second image is an example of a disrespectful post made by an Ontario-based web design company highlighted in the red box.

Whether or not the heads of the company agree with the public response to their job posting, a restoration of respect is needed on all social media fronts. Public statements made on all active social media platforms will be needed to help restore trust and respect, as well as displaying a change to drive more transparency throughout the organization.

Written by Philbert Lui

References   [ + ]

1. Transparency: Social Media is Forcing You to Tell the Truth, Paul Klein. Forbes, “http://www.forbes.com/sites/csr/2011/07/12/transparency-social-media-is-forcing-you-to-tell-the-truth

1 Comment

  1. The job posting is a great negative example

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