Smoke and mirrors

Smoke and mirrors is actually a classic technique in magical illusions that makes an entity appear to hover in empty space, sometimes passed off as conjured spirits. There’s a simple “sciencey” explanation for this. Sounds cool – huh? Since this technique was documented in 1770, we have gone on to incorporate the phrase into real life situations referring to the manipulation of the truth with misleading or irrelevant information. And we see it on rotation each and every day – professionally and personally. It’s a careful balance. One of the standard comments we would hear when listening to my dear old pop’s stories was that he would “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”, illustrating that throughout the generations people have been straddling this conundrum. With the constant and rapid confrontation of information we have in today’s world we really need to gain control.

Too much dishonesty can make us suspicious and less trusting – and that is not the image you would want to portray. Today’s businesses need to be transparent. In saying this, our social media platforms seem to be propped up on this idealistic world; how do we stop this infiltrating into our social media business sites and why should it be permissible and so widespread across our personal profile sites?

Here at Cuckoo we’ve included Transparency as one of our key “Buzzwords” and defined it as:

Being open and honest in the way a business conducts itself. No more hiding behind frosted glass.

Widespread falsity and idealistic representations of people’s lives are smacking us in the face each time we are online. Dare I even mention the K word?? Perfection is sought by many and is easily portrayed as filtered snapshots of utopian worlds. So many subscribe to the idea of portraying their perfect life to the world. According to Ivan Widjaya, “people can now be anyone they want, do whatever they want using social media”. She refers to a new disorder “the pursuit of perfection”. This pursuit comes complete with a whole bag of issues, dishonesty to friends, family and self, mental health and anxiety concerns. It’s quite possible a new epidemic sweeping the world affecting all online generations.

Let’s be honest, no really, let’s be honest. Authenticity is a great asset for any person or business and if we can pull it off – lets pop it right up there. Let’s communicate with our customers, friends, and family openly and honestly, and perhaps if we can’t, how about laying low on Facebook for a bit. Admit your failings and celebrate your genuine successes. People will see you as human (because we still are) and feel that connection.

Look at the recent closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Former premier of QLD and GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie stood up and faced the music for the way in which the ceremony excluded the televised entrance of the athletes, a disappointment to many that this tradition was not honoured. Whilst Beattie was unlikely to have been the sole decision maker about this, he fronted up, the following morning, to the Surfers Paradise beachfront to meet with locals, visitors and media, accepting full responsibility. In Beattie’s words: ‘No organisation is perfect, people make mistakes’. Own the failure and move on…. A few more days on and it appears his new line is that Australians are all a bunch of whingers, but that’s a whole other story… Despite Beattie being a former politician, the acceptance and authenticity was appreciated and a good way to address the disappointment of the masses.

Whilst smoke and mirrors may seem to work in the personal lives of celebrities and wanna be celebrities, its just not gonna cut it in today’s international marketplace. Get caught out, don’t admit to your failings, and you’re doing yourself and your business a great dis-service. Honest communication is the key. We know this, we’re good at it, need help – give us a bell.