Social media, especially Facebook, is, among other things, a life experiment for me as an IT professional and “corporate executive.” In particular, I’m insatiably curious about the role that social media technology plays in transparency — breaking down the barriers and often hypocritical behaviors between personal and professional lives that allow for university football coaches to lead double lives as pedophiles, Secret Service agents with the trust of Top Secret clearance to cheat on their spouses with prostitutes, and Board members and executives to conspire and misappropriate money from non-profit healthcare organizations.
How truthful is the complete circle of our lives? The recent flap over employers asking for Facebook passwords is an interesting twist on personal honesty vs. personal privacy. Should we care if we have no secrets? Does social media reveal the truth and the real person in us, or not? This study from the University of Texas seems to think so (see the article, Manifestations of Personality in OnLine Social Networks, published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking).
None of us hold perfect behavior. Accepting that, if you are going to make a mistake in personal behavior and organizational leadership, err towards transparency, not secrecy. Open up your life. If the worst thing they accuse you of is “too much honesty… too much information,” I suspect you’ll still get a clear pass through the Pearly Gates.
Editor’s Note: In addition to his role as senior technology advisor and CIO Mentor for the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, Dale Sanders is also senior vice president at Healthcare Quality Catalyst and senior research fellow for The Advisory Board Company.