Bzzzzzzzzzzz. That sound you hear are the wheels spinning in my head. Or is it the bee in my bonnet. Or the new rant I feel coming on about being transparent in our online social networking and social media.

Remember Coolerites, for me, social networking and social media are about getting to know, like and trust someone before you ever get to meet them.

And while all roads might lead to Rome … on the Internet superhighway, for this blogger, they lead to the trifecta of “know, like, trust.”

What we’re doing is about identifying and engaging people we don’t know, we’re building new relationships, and, if we’re selling something (whether it’s ideas, products or services) we get that product or service know, liked and trusted.

So back to the relationship factor. Relationships, whether personal, romantic or business, are built upon trust. If I don’t trust you, I don’t believe you, I don’t like you, and I won’t want to get to know you.

Transparency is part of trust. I came across a great post, Transparency in social media. Do you trust me? by Wayne Sutton on his blog, Social Wayne:

What is Transparency?
Let’s talk Transparency. Transparency is one of those social media / marketing buzzwords you’ll hear when being pitched a social media campaign, but what exactly does it mean? Traditionally transparency is referenced with news media to inform the public why and how information is gathered from various sources. In plain English, transparency means I tell you who I received the information from so you know that it’s credible or that I was not the originator of the information. In media transparency leads to credibility, it builds the trust from someone reporting information by providing credible sources.

Transparency in Social Media
But what about transparency in social media? The same holds true yet it also has a double meaning. Transparency in social media especially pertaining to blogging and covering a product, brand or service means that’s I’m giving you an honest non-biased opinion or truth when I write or cover a particular topic. Online this can mean that, I am who I say I am online and that my reason for posting or having a discussion about a product, brand or service does not have any hidden agendas. Or if I’m posting or having a discussion about a product, brand or service and was paid or hired to do so, you’ll know about it up front or it will be included in the conversations.

Why is transparency so important?
Transparency is about trust and with everyone trying to grab your attention online whether it is through a youtube video, blog post, facebook ad or a tweet, trust relationship marketing will be one of the key ways brands will try to sell their services to customers. In other words brands will contact you saying, blog out this, or can you tweet this. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that but will you let your readers or subscriber know that you were paid to post content about a particular brand upfront or at all?