White-Collar Politics

Interesting series recently on white-collar crime from Laurie Taylor on “Thinking Allowed”. This week’s program was on social software communications in the post-Obama party-political election environment, and it was interesting that Laurie joined up the two subjects, in the intent and honesty of communication in these channels. Bingo.

The inventors of the internet didn’t overlook the fact that “trust” was top of the stack of priorities when communicating meaningfully, but the more un-mediated open social software communications are the norm, the less trust is explicit in the process – the medium inexorably becomes the message – “everybody’s doing it”.

Misguided  expectations – in any objective truth or value in the content of messages are unmet – and since no-one can admit to being a gullible soft-touch, scepticism tends to the downright cynical end of the trust spectrum. One aspect of such misguided expectation for objective truth is the process of justifying decisions in organizations, and the reality that in order to make decisions, much of the formal justification – eg in systems and procedures – has to be “fiddled” if the organization is to function (organizational hypocrisy). The greater the unmediated public communication, the more facts are seen to be “fiddled” and the less the uninvolved trust the involved, the greater the demand for more formal justification, the greater the demand to “fiddle” …. etc. Information is more and more mis-information.

The problem is the misguided expectation of ever greater objectivity in communications, rather than recognition that trust is above such things – almost literally.

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