Can Social Media washing exist ?

by Laurent François


I had a very interesting argument with a friend of mine who’s journalist. In a very provocative way, he tried to tell me that my job was like greenwashing, but in Social Media.

Let’s quote greenwashing definition (Wikipedia):

Greenwashing (green whitewash) is the practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly, such as by presenting cost cuts as reductions in use of resources.[1] It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.[2]”

So to say: that I could spread wrong facts or biased information to general public in order to improve my clients’ reputations.

Problem is: even if Citizen L. was Citizen Kane, it won’t work in our digital world.

Why that?

  • because truth always emerges, and even faster now through Social Web
    – if a lie was diffused among a public of influencers, they could have a very aggressive posture
    – you can now face and analyse facts in very diverse, parallel ways: access to these data are not vertical anymore
  • because influence is about working with relevant & legitimate people. If you go & look for a referent person in a specific field, you can hope that he’ll check & analyse all the messages we sent to him
  • because in the digital world, you don’t have the right to errors anymore. For the first time in communication history, lies are weaker than denials
  • because influencers are also journalists (good news)
  • because trying to infiltrate forums is just not possible: IP makes you feel like a white rabbit in front of hunters
  • because influencing means convincing, not spamming

2 Comments to “Can Social Media washing exist ?”

  1. Absolutely love your insights here. Whilst you focus on businesses spinning their green credentials, it is equally applicable to companies spinning ay market promise.

    In a social media world, I agree with you, any companies marketing promise that doesnt meet reality will be caught out.

    Social media acts like a peer review in some ways.

    I think your journalist friend kind of does not get what social media really is.

  2. hi Cam,

    thanks for your comment. well, I think you’re right; but my journalist friend is obviously right to be a bit suspicious on companies that try to sell too “marketed” solutions that try to solve a company’s reputation as if it was a direct & mechanical process.

    glad to see you here, comment whenever you want!


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