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Christopher Columbus and Telling the Truth via Social Media

Monday is a day off from work for me. Columbus Day. Nice.

We celebrate him because he was a great hero. He discovered America. When? In 1492, of course.

Photo credit: Christopher Columbus by OZinOH via Flickr

Photo credit: Christopher Columbus by OZinOH via Flickr

Real historians say none of this is true. His name wasn’t Christopher Columbus, rather, it was Cristobol Colon.

He never stepped foot on the mainland. He was on an island in the Caribbean.

And, he wasn’t the first. Vikings were here 500 years before Chris.

I don’t want to harsh your holiday; but, he wasn’t a nice guy. By a long shot.

But we needed a hero. So somebody buffed him up and did a fabulous job of PR. Now we have Christopher Columbus, the myth, the legend, the lie.

As Greg Laden has said, “Columbus had a publicist.”

And we have used that lie to…communicate the truth.

Somebody wanted you to be inspired by Colon’s risk-taking, adventurism, and domination.

We do it all the time. We tell stories that are not true, to communicate something that is true. Think Aesop’s fables. Think advertising. Think PR.

SPOILER ALERT:  If you are under 10 years of age, navigate away from this page NOW. There’s the myth of Santa Claus to inspire kids that they can behave better during the cold winter months.

I’ll stop there. You can imagine the rest.

This blog is my confession. I’m a practitioner of promotion-speak.

I’m not unaccustomed to telling a story that’s not true to serve a true purpose:  You’ll benefit from the product or service I have to offer. So please buy. Now.

But it doesn’t work on social media.

Speak the truth to serve the truth. Save the polished PR phrases for advertisements and news releases, not your Tweets.

Happy Holiday.

by Kevin Perry

Kevin is a blogger and account manager with KimberMedia. And he’s a no slouch with WordPress. So he’s in on our website maintenance projects, too. Kevin has a long history as a project manager. He schemes, then gets things done. He’s a small business owner, an association executive, a registered lobbyist, a yoga teacher, a biologist and a word nerd. He likes to sing in the choir at church, travel, make sauerkraut, and laugh a lot.