Here’s another serious topic for discussion: how do you, in social media, reconcile openness and secrecy?

Let me give you an example from World of Warcraft. One of the side parts of the game (a very big side part for me) is the in-game economy. You make gold by creating stuff, by killing stuff, or by trading with other players for their stuff. In the game, there are “secrets” – great spots for earning gold through killing things or great tactics to use in the Auction House (an in-game eBay of sorts).

These secrets are powerful, capable of generating hundreds or thousands of gold a day, compared to the average player who earns perhaps a few dozen gold a day. The catch is this: their value decreases in direct proportion to the number of people who know and use the secrets, because the server’s economy is a zero sum game – if I know the secret and you learn it, at best our earning potential is halved, unless you’re truly incompetent.

There are lots of similar examples in real life – in the world of search engine optimization, Google Juice is more or less a fixed sum game. If I learn a powerful SEO tactic, the more people who know it, the less value it has.

Contrast this with the social media world of sharing everything (from the mundane to the powerful), openness, and transparency. If you share something of value, your social currency increases among those you share it with.

Here’s the questions I have for you: how do you value a secret vs. the social currency earned for sharing the secret? Which is more valuable to you, and in what context?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments. Yesterday’s discussion was especially good to read, so I look forward to hearing less from me and more from you.

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