Technology Sector and Social Media Reign in Trust Research

Today Global public relations agency Edelman released the results of their 2013 trust barometer. The research takes into consideration the opinions of over 30,000 people from around the world. The barometer looks at levels of trust within four key institutions – government, business, media and non-governmental organisations.

barometer

A key point we have picked up on within Edelman’s results is the rise in people’s trust of social media. Unsurprisingly as a result of the Leveson Enquiry overall trust in the UK media has dropped. But still within this and probably as a result there has been a huge rise in people’s trust of social media and use of social networking sites, up a staggering 75%.

This trend in undoubtedly linked to another finding of Edelman’s that global technology is the most trusted industry sector. The combination of these findings signifies a promising future for online marketing and development businesses like us. When discussing the results of the trust barometer this morning Robert Shrimsley managing editor of the Financial Times online stated that people trust companies who deliver things to them – hence the popularity with tech companies.

These trends highlight the continuously increasing role social media is playing within the communication industry. The already high standard of trust is an added advantage to online agencies as this is where much of their public communication begins.

The result of the rising power of social media in contrast to traditional media means that as a whole it must be taken more seriously. Social media is often done, but not often done well. Bad management can tarnish a reputation incredibly quickly and that initial trust that wasn’t so hard to gain in the first place can all but disappear.

The growing trust in social media does still have its pitfalls. Websites like Twitter and Facebook feed off gossip and “word of mouth” so to speak and users on these sites can have a huge amount of social influence. Information can be easily distorted and twisted and spread incredibly quickly. And this is the main difference, traditional media at least has rules and standards where untruthful information should not be published. Social media however cannot be controlled in a similar way.

Hopefully the results of Edelman’s 2013 barometer in the increasing trust in social media and continual trust in the technology industry is a sign of a promising future. However as always we must proceed with caution.

What do you think? Do you feel this is an accurate representation? Where do you place most trust?

For the full results of the Edelman’s 2013 trust Barometer see: http://trust.edelman.com/slides/2013-edelman-trust-barometer/

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