Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Edelman Barometer: Trust Is Very Volatile Across ALL Media Inc Social

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 3, 2010

We share a common belief that trust is an important currency in today's world especially in the digital realm.

Trust, we are taught, is hard won. It takes a long time to establish trust yet it can be destroyed in minutes.

But is that really true?

I've been looking at the Edelman Trust Barometer reports and it shows that trust in businesses, in media both social and traditional, in NGOs, in governments, jumps up and down by large margins from year to year.

I've been particularly interested in trust in social and traditional media. In the latest report, trust in peers, which represents social media, plunged by 20 points from 47 percent of those surveyed in the prior year, to 27 percent. Trust in other forms of media also fell by large margins.

[Wow! Edelman Survey Finds Trust In Peers Plunges!!! Bad News For Social Media Mavens]

Yet in 2008 I reported that the Edelman survey showed: Mainstream Media Trust Soars

"American's trust in mainstream media jumps an astonishing 36 per cent to 45 per cent from 33 percent in the prior year. "

It looks like 'trust' is a very volatile commodity. It's not a slow build. It can be quickly reestablished.

- How will this affect businesses and their competitive strategies?

- Is it worth taking risks with 'trust' because any wrong turns can be relatively quickly repaired?

This could lead to anti-social business practices, as companies pursue questionable strategies for short-term profits because new 'trust' can be quickly built back up.

It would be good to see future Edelman Trust Barometers cast some light on the reasons why trust is such a surprisingly volatile quality.


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