Click. A picture of an inappropriate act gets posted on Facebook or Google +.

Tweet. A tasteless gesture gains wider attention through Twitter.

Trust at the Speed of Social Media

Today, more than ever, there is transparency in words and actions. It may not always be wanted, but the communication channels are wide open and available to reach large groups of judges and juries very quickly… almost at the speed of light. It is the new, new transparency, enabled by social media.

Transparency - Social Media

The New Transparency Equation

None of this is new, although some people seem to be adjusting to the new transparency facts.

Personally, I never like the word transparent. It seems so flimsy; something high-priced people say. It has become bureaucratic-speak or position talking points. With social media, transparency turns into immediate accountability, which is what it should be.

As Generation Y or Millennials grow in workplace presence, this new definition of transparency (Transparency = Accountability) is a reality. It goes without really being said that Millennials are tech-savvy and are unafraid to use their social media astuteness when situations demand it. It rightly heightens the accountability factor in the delivery and keeping of trust.

The Long and Short of the New, New Transparency

While the new reality of transparency has lengthened some timelines, it has shortened others. Let’s look at the new timetables.

Shorter time to tell. With the availability of many different channels of immediacy, show-and-tell covers a broad audience in a very quick time. It is the multiplier-effect multiplied. Social networks of thousands are multiplied with each share, tweet, plus, or like. Indiscretions, bad service, or inappropriate actions are quickly heard, seen, and spread.

The race to expose untrustworthy actions and words is on, always on.

Shorter time to discover. With the availability of these social media channels, it is also easy to discover. Through Google or Bing searches, we uncover a lot about individuals and groups. All generations may have read stories of about how someone lost a job opportunity or a college admission because of their inappropriate postings, yet they still happen. Within 5 to 15 minutes, people can discover a great deal about almost anyone.

Trust inspections are at our fingertips.

Longer time to repair. When a bad choice, word, or action is done, the presence of the mistake or wrongdoing will live for longer periods of time. It is owned by the web, and its life seems to have no end. Trying to repair the damage done may never fully happen. Maybe it shouldn’t. Either way, there is a longer shelf-life to bad deeds.

Of course, there is a danger here, too. If someone is wrongly accused, the situation takes on a whole new level of recovery and despair.

Distrust lingers, as information stays entrenched in various sites and images.

Longer time for redemption. While repairing a situation includes trying to remove or bury the information, redemption involves forgiveness, acceptance, and better ways of living. Gaining redemption will be more challenging, as there are more people who know what happened and the experiences remain longer in the public domain. Redemption will, no doubt, take longer, if ever be fully achieved.

Redemptive paths get more challenging to climb, and earning trust again remains elusive.

Trust Is a Philosophy

Trust is a core principle, and it never diminishes. If anything, it needs to be polished and used in a trust activist manner. In other words, trust is not only a principle; it is a philosophy to living and leading – each and every minute.

As new generations grow in presence, we need to raise our trust levels in so many more ways. Join me in a discussion of this in a Trust Across America (Voice America) broadcast on Wednesday, January 16, 11:00 AM Central Time. I will be joined by Randy Conley, Trust Practice Leader at The Ken Blanchard Companies, and a panel of leaders and millennials.

What role does trust play in this new generation? Join the conversation in the comments section below.