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July 13, 2007


Johnny Chan

You raise a lot of good questions, Nick. As is the case with all actions, it's important to get down to "the why". In John Mackey's case, we can only speculate on what "the why" was. IMO, it's pretty clear that John did it to shift the public opinion to his corner. As we all know, points come across more effectively when you're one of the crowd. Though we understand that bias and behavioral tendencies likely would have skewed group dynamics had John been transparent, there's still no excuse for his actions.

"Commitment to transparency" is rule #1 for SMM, especially when you're taking a position where full disclosure is necessary. It's easy to hide behind the guise of a handle or an avatar. Heck, that's a reason why social networking has exploded the way that it has - it gives people to live out alter-egos or to act like the person they've always wanted to be. But there are rules of engagement with online communities. As always, it's about content, context, and engagement. It maybe okay to fudge about your height on your dating profile, but in the context of corporate marketing, transparency reigns supreme. Also, you get off the hook a heck of a lot easier (and cheaper) in the former than the latter.

Great commentary Nick.

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