The State of Maryland took steps to make it clear that social media is no different from any other channel, at least with respect to political campaign rules. First off, congratulations and kudos to Maryland for making a move that all states should follow.
Essentially, this change means that messages being sent, regardless of the channel they are being sent on, must name the source of the message. As noted in the article, this is typically a message like “”I’m ‘Candidate Joe Smith, and I approve this message.’ Paid for by the Committee to Elect Joe Smith.””
While this is clearly important for political campaigns it is equally critical for all types of organizations across the public and private sector. As I noted in my post, A checklist: Engagement Guidelines for The Social Organization:
“All accounts on all channels must identify their relationship to the Social Organization. In other words, be honest, no guerilla marketing where you praise the company you work for without admitting you work for that company.“
Within The Social Ecosystem relationships can only be built where trust has been established. While some organizations in some markets can make sales (for politics this equates to getting votes) without building relationships, and in the absence of trust, this will become more difficult over the course of the next several years. If your organization is now successful without building relationships, consider your time limited based upon the following factors:
- Government. If you do not live in an “open government”, where individuals and businesses are free to create value in their own way, you have time. Consider yourself lucky or unlucky, I won’t judge.
- Technology and economics. There are many areas in the United States and throughout the rest of the world where the lack of bandwidth and other technologies makes it possible to stick with the status quo. If your local community does not yet have competition you have time. In the United States internet usage is still at only 78% and most of this is due to poor infrastructure and/or an economic inability to afford to go on-line.
If it is not yet necessary for your organization to build relationships and “sell” in a more open way, will you wait until you are forced to do so?