I was attending a talk by Bryan Rhoads of Intel, and he mentioned that Intel requires their social media practitioners to be transparent about their roles at Intel. I think this is a good practice to follow, and one that might seem to be common sense, but as we know sometimes common sense is not so…common. But for any business engaged in social media, its essential to have an understanding of what being transparent really means.

Being transparent about your job or role in a business is a good start, but its also important to be transparent about your agenda and purpose for being on a given site. People respect honesty and not surprisingly it also helps open doors when people feel that you are being open with them about your interest and reason for being on a site.

Transparency has an additional benefit. It shows a willingness to take a risk and participate in a public forum. And you won’t always be right, there will be moments you make mistakes, but transparency shows a willingness to accept that and understand that participation in a public forum does provide some risks, but also benefits, because people can put a face to the business and develop relationships with people instead of with business logos.

What do you think? How does your business approach transparency in social media?