You Trust the Newspaper More than Your Online Friends?

I just finished the book, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Li and Bernoff. They dissect the social-media landscape for executives and corporate types and invent all sorts of metrics by which to drive home the point about social media…that it is changing everything.

Or is it?

Now, on their blog, Li and Bernoff publish this chart:


The good old newspaper still out ranks most social media outlets, including the information your own best friends put on their online profiles. And look at company blogs!

We are in a weird place in terms of our online “trustyness”. Other than emails and critics, we trust algorythms most. Robots are more trusted than your blog posts.

Gravity also helps the Trust-O-Meter. Tangible dead trees still carry a legacy of trust from two centuries of print information products. Oddly enough, the site ranks sigificantly lower than it’s print-based counter part. Same information, different delivery. Yet the New York Times (the paper) is losing money. Weird?

If Forrester (the pollster) would have included “A Telephone Call from Someone You Know” on their list, I’d wager that would out-do email as the most trusted source of information. Or what if they added, “A One Hour Lunch Conversation with Someone You Know”?

Not fair to lump a lunch into the items on the above list? I think it is very relevant. I believe the reason email out-does all other forms of communication is because it is more likely to be an additional way stay connected with people you also connect with during lunch and telephone conversations. The trust is not inherent in the medium. That source (email) leverages previously developed offline trust.

But why trust me? I’m only good for about 18% “trustiness”, according to this survey. Or maybe, if you include lunches with me and the occasional phone call, I’d be up around 51% trusty. You’ve got to give me more than the robot!



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