Follow Me Or Be My FriendCopy_RightMcCorkindale, Tina. (2012). Follow me or be my friend: How organizations are using Twitter and Facebook to build relationships and to communicate transparently and authentically. In S. Duhé (Ed.), New media and public relations (2nd ed. pp. 67-74). New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.


With the increasing popularity of social media, organizations need to properly and strategically integrate these channels into their day-to-day activities. Two of the most popular sites public relations practitioners use and monitor are Twitter and Facebook. Being able to communicate both transparently and authentically using dialogic communication on these sites may be a challenge for some organizations. This chapter explores the concepts of transparency and authenticity, discusses how organizations are using Facebook and Twitter to build relationships, and provides suggestions on how organizations can use these two sites.


Review of theoretical and applied research relating to transparency and authenticity as it relates to social media.

Key Findings

1)      Transparency is providing and releasing accurate information, both positive and negative, in a timely manner to assist stakeholders with their decision-making process as well as to hold organizations accountable.

2)      To be transparent, organizations should disclose the individuals responsible for managing their social media accounts and openly resolve stakeholder issues.

3)      In social media, authenticity is genuineness of the communication through a real and non-contrived conversation.

4)      Research has found engaging in dialogic communication, or two-way communication, on social media increases credibility and builds relationships.

5)      Facebook and Twitter should be treated as communities where organizations engage in transparent and authentic communication, as well as listen to their stakeholders.

Implications for Practice

Organizations must be aware of how they are communicating and engaging with various stakeholders. To be authentic and transparent, organizations must do the following:

  • Establish a social media policy
  • Effectively measure social media
  • Follow those who follow them
  • Answer and respond to all inquiries/issues
  • Do not send auto direct messages on Twitter
  • Be open, honest, and forthright
  • Be real, use a “human” voice, and be professional.

Article Location
The book that contains this chapter can be ordered online at:

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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