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09/14/2009 Openness vs. Spin in Social Media

A friend of mine passed on a blog post this weekend. It was a post by Origin Design + Communication effusively praising Jay Peak's resort social media efforts. Jay Peak was apparently running a Twitter contest giving away free ski passes if you could show a receipt proving you had purchased (but not read) Mitch Joel's book "Six Pixels of Separation."

Why is Jay Peak worth this praise? The number one reason, according to Origin, is because "they are using social media." I have no problem with people praising Jay Peak. I follow Jay's PR director Steve Wright on Twitter, he seems like a very smart professional who's doing a good job in social media.

The problem I have is that Origin Design is Jay Peak's agency and that nowhere in this article do they acknowledge the fact. To be honest, the only way you can find this out is by clicking on a link on the left, almost all the way down where it says "Origin Design."

I don't know whether Origin has anything to do with Jay Peak's social media program. What I do know is that transparency is key in social media. Without it, there's no reason to follow or believe anyone. Origin has a clear vested and monetary interest in Jay Peak. They should have clearly stated their connection.

The goal is to have the post serve as an expert, third party validation for Jay's social media efforts. Even Jay Peak is re-tweeting Origin's post in a "gosh, we're so honored" manner.

The fact is, it's an inside ping-pong game, aimed at misleading people. Origin, if you want to write about Jay Peak, great, just tell us what you're relationship is. And maybe talk about which of your other clients could use help.

Come on guys, put the cards on the table. You're all good at what you do, but if you're trying to fool the consumer, shame on you.

If Origin and Jay want to be really good in social media, try being transparent.


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