Being Taken Seriously Online

A Q&A from the discussion with Matt Flannery:

Question from Autumn Walden, Center for High Impact Philanthropy:

As we are a new research center housed in the University of Pennsylvania, can we take advantage of online social networks such as Facebook or Second Life and still be taken seriously in the academic and philanthropic community?

Matt Flannery:

I imagine so, but I’ve been out of academia for a long time so I forget exactly what it takes to get taken seriously. Most of all, I wouldn’t worry about being taken seriously.

I love Matt’s answer. But it is a serious question. Most people do want to be taken seriously. How would you answer Autumn’s question?


  1. Meghan says:

    I guess I would ask *why* they are considering a social networking site. In social media, Authenticity breeds respect. If they are using facebook or other sites to fufil a true need in their organization:
    –increase discussion,
    –garner input,
    –connect with like-minded audiences who are already using this type of media (already using being the operative words here)
    Then they’ll be taken seriously. Even with audiences who may be hesitant or resistant to social media, if they can show that their existance on those sites is driving real content and connection then they’ll be fine. Which is all a long way of saying: The proof is in the pudding.

  2. Leyla Farah says:

    Who’s your audience? Are they regular users of the sites you mention? If they are, it’s probable that you’re at greater risk of not being taken seriously if you don’t have a (well-executed) presence on those sites as well.