His life is an open window
: A nice Fred Wilson moment on transparency as a raison du blog:
People ask me why I blog. I tell them that it helps me in my business. It allows me to reach more people and connect to more people (many of whom I know only through my blog) than I could ever do over the phone and email. It helps me get out ideas that I am interested in and foster discussion of them so that I can figure out where to invest. It gets me out ahead of the curve.
But on top of that, it allows me to disclose myself; who I am, what I like, who I love, what I listen to, who I am going to vote for, and many more aspects of myself, to the world. If you are not going to like me, you’ll know it from my blog. If you are going to come see me, you’ll know me before you even meet me.
Some people I’ve met with recently ask me if I think its weird or funny that they “know” me from my blog a lot better than I know them. It doesn’t bother me. Blogging makes me transparent. And I like that.
We’ve heard the jokes about candidates for President in years to come whose old opinions will be dragged up from their blogs. And I’ll just bet that will keep would-be pols from blogging. But that’s a bad thing, for transparency is just what is needed in politics.
I spoke with a journalist recently who said he couldn’t blog because he’d probably reveal some opinion that might keep him from, say, covering the White House someday. Organizationally, he’s right; that’s what his bosses would say. But that, too, is a bad thing, for transparency and honesty and candor are just journalism needs.
Fred’s right: About the only business he can imagine where transparency is a bad thing is national security.
As for the rest of us: It could be the beginning of an era of honesty (or at least candor): the age of transparency. That (you’ll be sorry to know) is why I think Howard Stern is so appealing to so many; it’s his blunt honesty. That is also why reality TV is so big; we love seeing people stripped of their pretense.
Sadly, most of society is not transparent at all. You don’t know what goes on it the boardrooms of the companies whose stock you own. You don’t know what happens in most of government. You want to know more about how the news sausage is made.
If citizens’ media leads to any big social change — emphasis on “if” — it could be a drive toward transparency by example. If Fred Wilson and Mark Cuban and Margaret Cho and you and i are willing to stand out here naked, why isn’t the next guy? What does he have to hide? And if he isn’t willing to show us his after we show him ours, then do we want to trust him with our vote or our money or our news?