Class number ten, AKA snow day, focused on the fourth and final post-engagement principle, honesty. I think Kaplan says it best, “Last but not least, be honest and respect the rules of the game … Never expect that other participants may not find out who stands behind some anonymous user account; after all, you’re dealing with some of the most technologically sophisticated people on the planet.” (p. 67). Social media require honesty and transparency.
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) really does a great job outlining this concept. Disclose identity, disclose payment, disclose relationship, be genuinely honest, respect venue laws, and follow the law. Once again, Wal-Mart was in the middle of a scandal in the next case. I know, it was a surprise to me as well. Although they were not being completely honest, we can still learn from this case that a little dishonesty does make a good story, and in Wal-Mart’s eye’s, create good publicity and generate a good marketing idea. But all in all it’s not a good idea to be dishonest, especially if you’re one of the biggest companies in the world! The next case was the one where blogger Crystal Cox started attacking Kevin Padrick, trustee of the assets of a bankrupt company. In this case we learned about search engine optimization (SEO) and how she used this tactic to ruin him. As a result of this vicious attack Padrick’s “ … business as a financial adviser had dropped by half since Ms. Cox started in on him, and any search of his name or his company turned up page after page on Google detailing his supposed skullduggery, showing up under a variety of sites, including Bend Oregon News, Bankruptcy Corruption, and Northwest Tribune.” Eventually, Padrick sued Cox in court and won, but in my eyes did not receive a settlement that was substantial enough to make up for his business woes. Rather than an organization or its employees being the purveyors of dishonesty, they are (in this case) the victims. The end result, however, is effectively the same: Dishonesty is eventually revealed and punished. Finally, the Sony Play Station Portable case was just awful! It was honestly comical how the “bloggers” replied to people calling the company’s bluff. It made me laugh out loud, literally.
In conclusion of this lesson it’s safe to say that the truth will catch up with you, especially in a medium with hordes of skeptics and fact-checkers.