How open are you?

A couple weeks ago, my company launched its online presence, The Collaboratory. Part of the site contains a feed of our communications activity – whether public tweets, private “yams”, or messages emailed. Each channel carries a varying level of opacity, for good reason.

After operating the live stream in public view for a couple weeks, each of us has reflected upon the experience and shared our thoughts. My take:

The Collaboratory made me rethink my perspective on authenticity in social media. For the most part, people live by the old T.S. Eliot quote, “prepare a face to meet the faces you meet.” That is, despite claims of openness, most social media presences are carefully crafted, user-controlled portraits of what they want the world to see. As a company that advises clients on social spaces, it’s paramount that we push on boundaries ourselves. I’ll admit, I was uncomfortable when we turned the feed public – but the more I thought about what was being shared, the more I realized how often legacy thinking can roadblock new ideas…and how much work we have ahead of us before people truly understand the fundamentals behind social business design.

To read perspectives from the entire team, read We Work In Public on the Dachis Group Collaboratory.

And if you find the content interesting, may I suggest subscribing to the Collaboratory’s RSS feed.

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  1. Quite a step. I get the transparency of public social media but I’m not sure I see the benefit to revealing emails? Do only select email notifications go to the stream? And if it’s selective, why? Just trying to understand better.

  2. When I was younger I always told myself that I’d always think like a young person — having an open mind to new ideas, embracing change, turning over the status quo when necessary, etc. But when I read how people in the cohort just a decade younger than me are doing the things you describe here….well…I feel like an old fuddy duddy.

    My gut instinct is that it’s a good thing to
    “put on a face to meet other faces.” It’s about being polite and civil, not about being a phony. One thing I love about written communication is that you have the ability to edit, re-edit, write and re-write, until your core idea gets expressed. That rarely happens effectively if you just blurt things out.

    I don’t see how exposing the inner workings behind the curtain would help me, as a worker, thinker, and entrepreneur. It feels like walking to the supermarket in my pyjamas

  3. All email sent from my corporate account gets into the stream. But not all information needs to be exposed. I think if you look beyond the surface of what’s happening, the implications are clear. But what we’re planning to do specifically doesn’t need to be revealed at this point…

  4. What I really like about the concept is the filter it forces the individual to put on him or herself. From my experience with live tweeting during internal company meetings, I know that I have thought twice about typing something into Twitter that may not have needed to be typed in the first place. I also really like that other tools can be used to perform tasks that have forever been just lumped into E-mail because it was available…

    This is a big step, Pete. 🙂


  5. Great article on social media. I am subscribing your RSS now. More power to you guys. 🙂
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    Flickr Photo by Marin Labar I just finished the first day of a training on Network Effectiveness for Packard Grantees facilitated by the good folks at Monitor Institute. I wanted to capture some reflections around my burning question: How do…

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