Social media has ushered in a new age of transparency for organizations.
With that transparency comes a desire for authenticity.
I’ve spent much of my research career seeking the perfect definition and model of authenticity, and the short answer is, there isn’t one. The perception of authenticity of anything (a restaurant experience, college recruitment materials, green packaging, etc.) varies based on the person who perceives it. However, there is one universal truth about authenticity–it is a highly desired characteristic in interactions, especially in digital environments.
The mandate to be “authentic” in today’s digital environments means PR and other communication professionals advocate more intensely for open, two-way communication.
Given these expectations, allowing comments on organizational blogs and websites—even if they are screened—seems like a no-brainer. You don’t want your clients’ or organization’s digital presence viewed as using an outmoded, one-way “megaphone model” of communication, or stifling opinions of those who engage online.
As a PR practitioner, I convinced clients that enabling comments are signs of transparency and authenticity, and necessary as a tool to invite dialogue and engagement. But I’ve changed my mind.