(Image Credit: Doug Buckley of http://hyperactive.to)
I love seeing how people create something out of nothing, so of course my interest was piqued when I saw the title of Marc Ensign’s blog post a couple weeks ago: 3 Dead Simple Ways to Get a Bazillion Likes on Facebook While Still in Your Pajamas (and Make Millions Doing It). I had to read it. Fast. (Not that I really want or need a bazillion likes, but you know, I want to know how other people get them. Especially in their pajamas.)
But oh NO! He revealed to me a whole new layer of reality that I had not realized existed. You mean you can PAY people (and bots) to go LIKE your business page on Facebook? You mean people actually DO this? Marc pokes at the flimsy practice a little more:
Besides, this isn’t about the truth or integrity anyway. This is about perception and that warm fuzzy feeling you get when large numbers of people pretend to like you. Even if they aren’t real. It’s no different than when I was a kid and would buy my own “You’re Terrific!” stickers and put them on my homework assignment. It made me feel good and it fooled my parents. Everybody wins.
After searching around a little more, I was surprised to find out that the practice of proliferating false and misleading information is rather widespread. For example, an August 2012 article in Forbes calls out the widespread use of fake and paid-for reviews on Amazon.
If you’re interested in promoting high quality, you should not do stuff like this. In the October 2012 QP, Henry J. Lindborg reflects on the role of the quality function in maintaining the organization’s image:
The quality movement has been at the forefront of ensuring what an organization shows to the world is what it is. I once asked Phil Crosby to help define a set of “quality values”. His response: “Quality is integrity.”
Showing what you really are to the world demonstrates integrity as well as authenticity – and in addition, prevents waste! Here’s how that connection is made: in addition to the seven types of waste, unevenness in production and overburdening of people and equipment are also considered harmful to process flow according to Taichi Ohno’s definition. Proliferation of junk information online overburdens people and makes it more difficult for them to make unbiased decisions. Producing and sharing false and misleading information is waste, even when it leads to more sales!
If your organization (or initiative) has a social media strategy, you might want to consider how the quality of information you present reflects your integrity – and other core values.