Should I Share What I Ate for Lunch via Social Media? Authenticity vs Transparency

difference social media authenticity transparency

One of the top questions we hear from clients, students of our workshops and training and brands of all sizes as it relates to fears of engaging in social media is…

“Do I have to share what I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner?”

The simple answer to this question is NO!

The next set of questions we hear are as follows:

What do I talk about?

How much is too much?

What do I share?

When do I share it?

How do I share it?

What if my competition is watching me?

What if my boss is listening?

What if our board of directors is watching us?

Should I talk about my dog? My kids?

Should I tweet and Instagram pictures of my family? My vacations? My workouts?


The truth is that I can't answer each of these questions the same for every person. It depends on many factors such as who is your audience, what do they want from you? What do they need from you? What is your brand persona? How transparent are you and your organization?

If you take a look at the questions above, at the core we are asking “how much do I share of what with who?”

To understand this, and to help you answer the question, let's first dig into the definition of authenticity and transparency.


authentic — adj
1. not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.
2. having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence authenticated; verified: an authentic document ofo the Middle ages; an authentic work of the old master.
3. entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy


transparency — adj
1. easily detected or seen thru. 
2. readily understood. 
3. characterized by visibility or accessibility of information, especially concerning business practices. 

social media transparencyTransparency is how much you share and authenticity is the truth of your words and actions.

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to  building their social brand is blurring these two words. They may wind up holding back and never letting people really get to know or connect with them. On the flip side, they may do the opposite and share everything including where they eat, sleep, breathe and go 24 hours a day.

Many confuse transparency with authenticity and think that if they don't share the same thing with everyone then they are not authentic or real. This couldn't be further from the truth.

You are not a fake if you have different levels of transparency with different people. 

The truth is you will and should have different relationships with different people. Relationships are human to human and should not be based on cookie cutter conversations or content frameworks.

As a result, it is natural for your level of transparency to differ based on the relationship you desire or have with individual people or groups of people, such as social media communities.

It is this uniqueness that makes relationships so special and unique. It's the type and varying level of information shared between two human beings that builds trust and enables us to nurture real relationships. Relationships that bring both personal and professional benefit.

Because we have unique relationship with each person, doesn't mean it's a fake or that we are not being authentic. We all connect in different ways. We are all inspired in different ways. We all establish and earn trust in different ways.

Watch this video to learn more: 


Talk Human to Me Series

talk human to me brand humanization strategies This blog post is part of a series titled “Talk Human to Me“. It includes a deep look at brand humanization and the power of the human brand.

Subscribe to the series for updates and access to special videos, webinar training, worksheets and more. Would love to hear your input and have you participate in discussions and debates as we challenge each other to be more human from the inside out within our lives and business.

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About the Author:

CEO / Founder Marketing Nutz, full service social media, digital marketing, experiential brand, conversion optimization agency. Ranked by Forbes as Top 10 Social Media Women and 10 Social Media Power Influencer. Keynote speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. Helps businesses of all sizes integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups.


  1. kayross February 3, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Thanks Pam for a very helpful article – people often ask me what they should write about on their social media channels. However, the way you defined “authenticity” in your video didn’t quite make sense to me. It seems to me that authenticity doesn’t necessarily mean that what you’re saying is the objective truth – it means it’s an accurate and consistent reflection of you and your brand, personality, values…

    • PamMktgNut February 4, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Good point @kayross:disqus. However, it means that we trust you are telling us the truth. Of course you may be wrong, but it is the best truth that you know, that you are not making up something to fool others or get something from them. If you are a fraud then you are a fraud, and I guess that is authentic for you? 😉 ha

      If you read the definition of authenticity it also includes trustworthiness.

      • kayross February 4, 2014 at 11:37 pm

        Ah yes, thanks Pam. I like that phrase: “the best truth that you know”.

  2. Judia Black February 3, 2014 at 8:55 am

    No, you don’t HAVE to share what you ate for lunch on social media, but if you are a food blogger, I would say it is very relevant to your audience! 🙂 All humor aside, this is an informative article on the difference between authenticity and transparency.

    • PamMktgNut February 4, 2014 at 8:28 am

      @judiablack:disqus yes it is all about your audience and what they want to hear in combo with you being yourself. Transparency is different for every person and every brand. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. Have a great week!

  3. Guest February 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Absolutely share real life happenings. YUP I ate chicken wings last night. YUM! I think folks that share other folks images are FAKE with a capital “F”.

  4. thephotographer4you February 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Absolutely share real life happenings. YUP I ate chicken wings last night. YUM! Folks that share other folks photography can come off as “FAKE” with a capital “F”!!!!

    • Judia Black February 5, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Why is it fake to share other someone else’s photograph if it moves or inspires you? To me it’s like sharing a visual quote. It can be authentic to acknowledge others.

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