Brands in Public and Google Sidewiki – Transparency coming to get you!

September 30th, 2009

We are being watched! By us!!

Since we started giving presentations on social media in 2007, we’ve been saying get transparent, or transparency will come to get you.

Brands in Public and Google Sidewiki are two ways that this transparency is actively coming to get brands.

Brands in Public brings together everything people are saying about a brand across the social web. Similar to Twitter search, but across other social networks as well. Similar to an internal monitoring solution like Dialogix or Radian6, but public.

Google Sidewiki, meanwhile, lets people comment on your website (or any website), whether you have commenting facility or not.

Brands in Public has already been criticised as potential blackmail, while Google Sidewiki has been called game-changing.

I think Sidewiki will be game-changing in the long term. But it’s not a new idea. Feedly and Friendfeed have allowed people to see what others have said about a site for over a year now (at least it feels like that long). But both of those products are fairly niche, and even though Sidewiki is from Google, it will probably be niche to start off with as well.

That’s great news! It means you – and I – have time to prepare for a genuinely transparent web, where the conversation about our brand is everywhere.

It’s no longer about achieving total control. Instead, it’s how to embrace the risk, and let go sensibly.

What are you struggling with in the area of transparency? Are you in a large organisation where it’s a major cultural hurdle, or are you a one-person business engaging in social networking, and not sure where the line is on personal vs. business voice?

Love to hear your experience.

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