Should You Be Worried About Faking It?

Issue 21

Fake news. It's a term which has dominated for weeks and makes us all wonder who and what we are now supposed to believe.

The Donald has taken it under his wing and barks it at any media outlet who wont tow his line. Even Jeremy Corbyn’s accused the BBC of reporting fake news when they challenged him about another resignation whisper surrounding the Labour leader.

It’s not that hard to take a simple stat and twist it in any way you chose. It’s important to make distinctions, no matter how fine the line. There’s inaccurate reporting, there lies and then there’s fake news. Creating the latter to suit your narrative is sinister in the extreme.

Wikipedia took it to new levels when its editors voted to ban the Daily Mail as a source in all but exceptional circumstances, deeming the news group ‘generally unreliable.’

It’s an extraordinary move and a weird and worrying environment to be operating in where your political stance, such is the general polarization in sentiment, can be the making or breaking of your organisation. Apparently, you’re either a hardline Nazi sympathizer or a leftie snowflake. In reality, I think most of us actually sit in the shades of grey in between the black or white that others want to label us with..

Post Trump’s attempted travel ban, a host of major organisations had to take a stance and take one quickly. Starbucks responded by saying they’ll hire 10,000 US immigrants. Nike stood shoulder to shoulder with their Somalian born star, Mo Farah and Uber, who were deemed too slow to respond, got hit square in the pocket. #DeleteUber was trending worldwide and Lyft, a similar style of app-based taxi service and a rival to Uber, found its way into Apple’s top ten most used apps in the days immediately after Trumps announcement.

Don’t tell me social media has no affect on your business.

Facebook, who took the brunt of fake news criticism during the US elections at the back end of last year, have promised to improve their news feed and become better at spotting the bogus stuff. Easier said than done.

But what does it all mean for you and me, trying to keep up and keep track of how and what we doing when it comes to creating credible stories for our business?

One interesting development in this, and will be something that affects our every day usage of Facebook, is their publicly-stated intentions to introduce new signals to identify authentic content. As a part of that, its is increasing its monitoring of the horrid request for likes, comments or shares. Facebook identifies this as ‘gaming’ posts a route to generating artificially high post numbers and will therefore penalise them. The very thing you’re trying to achieve will have the reverse effect and your posts run the risk of sinking down the feed without a trace.

I’ll be honest, I’m glad. Those like and share posts lack imagination and creativity and show that you aren’t taking the time to listen to your audience and understand what they actually want. If all they want from you is free stuff, I’d suggest their loyalty to your brand is flimsy at best.

So stay authentic, friends. Facebook’s going to reward that now and as Uber has experienced, other platforms will reward or punish you accordingly if you’re not seen to be acting in a human manner. You have no need to worry about being ‘found out’ if you’re keeping things level and straight with your audiences.

Talk to other humans like they’re other humans. Listen to them too. Identify what it is they like about you, your product or your service and speak rationally. You shouldn’t have to worry about faking it if you’re being a human being.

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