Although this controversy that erupted on twitter about Chris Brogan and his sponsored KMart post is over a week old (that is a lifetime in this business) it highlights the issues I raised in my previous post about Engadget.
This little controversy is especially interesting because it involves someone very well respected in social media, how it works and how businesses can participate. In fact, Chris Brogan I found out through his post about this issue is writing a book called “Trust Agents” which obviously deals with the tricky subject of building and maintaining trust in this social media world. Then, he finds his own credibility under severe attack.
His comments titled “Advertising and Trust” do as good a job as I can imagine in giving insight into the very dangerous waters of social media. His explanation of all that he has done to be fully transparent is telling. Full disclosure. And yet, as he discovered, full disclosure is far from enough for many in the social media crowd. What this problem seems to highlight more than anything is that one of the primary cultural values of many of the most outspoken in the social media world is that business, money, profit, and making a living are bad things. They are extremely sensitive to the corrupting power of money. And that makes the whole effort of social media marketing especially tricky. It makes the whole problem of building trust in the social media world when you are a for profit business almost mission impossible.