Just a few sentences from now, I'm going to tell you something that everyone should know about doing business in social media, and how it pertains to this community, Social Media Today. 

But why should you believe me? How would I know anything about Social Media Today? 

Check the author's name on this post. It should say Mark Lazen. And the picture. Goofy white guy. Looks like he hasn't shaved even when he has.

If you click through to my profile, you'll see that I'm the CTO of Social Media Today. You'll see how you can catch me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. If you still suspect I may be a robot, you can connect with me or send me a message right on this site, and if you leave a (friendly) comment on this post, I'll definitely respond.

(By the way, if the picture is NOT a goofy white guy, then this post has been scraped by some unscrupulous site and the middle paragraphs replaced with links to remedies for ugly belly fat. Do not click them. That stuff does not work.)

The point is that you can only gauge the credibility of this post in the context of authorship, and what's more, you need to know that the authorship is accurately reported.

The connection between author and content, transparency, and disclosure of affiliation is even more important online than off. Absent in the online world are the thousand subtle clues of credibility we rely on when decide who to trust in our non-virtual lives. Positive clues like familiar surroundings, eye contact, the recommendation of a friend. Negative clues like the sketchy way that one guy keeps popping his gum while you're trying to talk.

And it's not enough to see my picture and profile. You need to know that the people managing this site validate the authorship of the posts we publish. You have to trust us so you can trust our contributors.

Ensuring the provenance of everything we publish is a challenge in a community like ours, where more than a hundred posts are submitted for consideration every day, and when it is part of our mission to give new voices an opportunity to be heard.

That's why we insist that there be a complete and credible profile associated with every post we publish. That's why we don't publish posts under fake names, or when the profile picture is a company logo. We only publish posts by people. And corporations are NOT people, my friend.

Our value proposition to our contributors is simple: we strive to create an environment that reflects well on them, where trust is the rule and where the expectations are clear and fair. Absolute transparency of identity and affiliation is a requirement that serves us all.

Let us know what you think.