Posted by Tom Foremski - February 2, 2010
The annual Edelman Trust Barometer always yields some interesting results. The tenth survey consisted of 4,875 interviews (25 years to 64 years):
The finding that jumped out at me was this one (buried in the report):
- Trust in information from friends and peers, "people like me," dropped by 20 points, from 47 to 27 percent.
- Trust in information from digital media--blogs, social networks, and free content sources like Wikipedia or Google news, remains low: only between 11 percent and 22 percent of respondents express trust in information about companies from these sources.
This is bad news for PR agencies. Social media has been the 'point of the spear' for so many firms. This is what has been bringing in new business.
This is bad news for all the 'social media experts' out there trying to convince companies to buy their services because of the potential brand damage from not responding to 'conversations' in social media.
What's the point in jumping to engage if people don't trust their peers anyway?
This is bad news for 'citizen' journalism. People don't trust news written by their peers. So much for traditional media outlets trying to pad out their coverage with local bloggers. This potentially lowers trust in the media brand.
This is bad news for many startups that offer real-time monitoring of the 'social' web. There is less need for their services.
It's not just social media...
Other types of media have also fallen in the Edelman Trust Barometer, but not all to the same extent as trust in peers.
- Trust in credibility of TV news declined by 20 points, from 44 to 24 percent.
- Trust in news coverage on the radio dropped by 17 points, from 48 to 31 percent.
- Trust in newspapers fell by 14 points, from 46 to 32 percent.
- Only 38 percent trust media (as an institution) to do what is right, down from 46 percent in 2008.
- Media companies (as an industry) have declined in credibility by 16 points (from 48 to 32 percent).
- In the U.S., media companies are tied with the insurance industry for last place. Banks are second from the bottom.
- Top trusted industry is technology and it has widened its lead over other industries.
- Tied for the second most trusted industry is Biotech and Automotive at 63 percent, followed by Energy, Retail and Food at 61 percent.
Here is Richard Edelman, head of the largest independent PR agency presenting some of the findings at an employee event: