In the several roles I have online (professional, educational, consultative, personal) I find that I have to cope with varying degrees of perceived authenticity. I’ve been reading Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, partly because I’m a storyteller and I appreciate being able to look at the way I formulate ideas and thoughts into stories in more a narrative arc, and partly because of the Web Strategies for Storytelling class I am taking this Fall at the University of Washington in conjunction with my Master of Communication in Digital Media (MCDM) program.
Anyway, the chapter I’m reading now is on the credibility of your story. Since credibility leads pretty much straight to authenticity, I started to think about how credible I am in each of these arenas and how that came about (and how it might change). Not surprisingly, the online roles that are bolstered to some degree by personal, face-to-face contact carry a different quality of credibility. This really points up the nature of the more human nature of social media (“I’ve met you, I know you a little better, and that helps me trust what you say.”). It also points to the challenges of online roles that have little or no face-to-face components.
I watched an online video today on Jason Falls’ blog about four books he recommended reading. Although I only came upon his blog (“met him”, if you will) today, he has attained greater credibility with me because of two things:
- His video book reviews. He has personalized an experience that is important to me; I enjoy hearing about good books in my chats with friends and colleagues, and the video creates an openness that reached past what a simple blog post book review would have done.
- I already have two of the four books on my Kindle. OK, so that’s serendipity, but it strengthens his other recommendations to me. And it also made me bookmark his blog….
So these are all things that I want to get to. The kind of online credibility and authenticity that makes a first-time visitor go with your recommendations (or at least some of them) and want to come back for more.