Leading in the Age of Super- Transparency

Group C Article

The article that we read talked about the current age of super transparency and how to manage the virility of things that are generated by this super transparency. The article opens up by talking about a girl named Martha Payne who is a 9 year old girl who starts blogging about her school lunches and criticizes her lunch under the name “veg” which is short for “Veritas ex gusta” which means “Truth in Tasting”. She starts to call the lunches rubbish and she claims that is doesn’t have the nutritional value that she needs. Within a few days Jamie Oliver tweeted in support of her and a newspaper picked up it. Within the first 6 weeks she got 2 million hits! Unfortunately, after this the school council asked that they take down the site. The community around this website were outraged. They expressed it and sent tons of emails to the town to express their dismay. Shortly afterward the council responded and allowed the website to be opened back up. I think this is a perfect example of something going viral and the school organization didn’t know how to handle and control it. In fact they got backlash for making the wrong decision.

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After this the article talks about old data vs new data. It makes the reference to old data being like puddle. They talked about how in the old system, water would stay in the puddle until moved to the other puddle by force. This is like how data stayed in certain groups until it was moved to another group with action. But now with the onset of social media and other social influencers, the data is now like a flood, you cant control or direct it. I thought this was an interesting explanation and it totally makes sense.


The article then talks about excitable network and talks about how excitable networks are formed and how data put into excitable networks can spread on. It also hits on the spread of emotions and how the reference can make a big impact. The article even makes mention that there are positive ways for things to go viral for marketing campaigns but even then marketers are still weary of the idea of managing virility because you can’t really manage it, you have to mention your assumptions around it before you put it out there, and that can be very tricky.

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Finally the article gives tips for managing a super transparent world. The tips are listed below and are fairly self- explanatory.

  1. Examine your assumptions about how you can keep information contained.
  2. Review your strategy for dealing with vulnerability to unintended transparency.
  3. Review your organization’s operations for issues that might be problematic if revealed.
  4. Assume that others will put out information about your organization for their own reasons and that you won’t be able to prevent it.
  5. Recognize that new information flows change what people consider to be fair.



  1. Great post. Seems like a very interesting article. I think the puddle reference is a very good analogy of what social media can do to information. I also think that the backlash that the school received from taking down the website complaining about the lunches is a great example of how not to deal with something going viral. I find it interesting how some things go viral without intending to do so while other things that are intended t go viral fail miserably. Just goes to show how unpredictable social media can be.

  2. This is a great post. I agree that it is vital for organizations to learn how information is being spread nowadays. If they simply assume that information is still being shared in the days before the rise of social media they are likely to make severe mistakes. I think that the rules mentioned in the post are great rules for organizations to keep in mind when navigating the new world of information sharing. Although I think that even more rules would helpful considering how complex the world of social media is.

  3. My group also read this article and I think you did a great job of summarizing it. I liked how there were recommendations on how companies can be proactive in managing their data. The examples used like the young girl’s food blog and the PR exec’s racist tweet show that it’s very difficult to predict what will gain traction. Managers can’t fully control the direction the public takes the company’s content but they can certainly view SM in a new way to be more deliberate & cautious.

  4. Nice summary. My group also had to read this article and I think the main reproach I’d have to make to it is that it seemed to consider flow of information as mainly bad for a company. But to me, companies can’t really exist anymore without that external flow of data. UGC especially are very important and when a consumer looks for an opinion on a company or one of its products (which is now part of his usual consumer path), it’s very unlikely that he/she will trust something said directly by the company. Rather than that, he will give way more trust to other consumers and their experience. So actually, companies have to deal with the fact that they can’t control that information but also that they are highly dependent on that information.

  5. great example of how not to deal with something going viral. The life of a viral star must be unusual. Very little work for a lot of exposure and no little money in return. Your fifteen minutes of fame got a little easier with the internet.

  6. yifanhong04233 · ·

    In the age of social media, governemnts, organizations and big companies are more aware of their behaviors or words. On the other hand, corruptions or other injustice will be more noticed and under more survillence. This article also reminds me of the Panama Papers, which is now viral on social media.

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