It's a trust thing

SimonGeneral4 Comments

Edelman launched its eighth annual Trust Barometer this morning in London. The survey looks at how well trusted individuals and organisations are among 3,100 “opinion formers” across 18 countries.

David Brain has a good summary of the findings, especially those that relate to the UK. The media release is here, and FT coverage here.

As someone who spends most of his professional life as a local government communicator, it was depressing (but not surprising) to see that trust in government has nearly halved, from 33% in 2005 to just 16 per cent in 2006. In 13 of 18 countries governments were the least trusted institution.

My take from this is that governments need to focus their communication efforts more on facilitating communication and influencing among more trusted groups – essentially communicating by proxy, rather than directly from government to citizen (or government to citizen via traditional media!).

Ian has a good analysis of what the barometer results mean for bloggers and social media. Trust in bloggers went down from 10% in 2005 to 6% in 2006 – bad news on the surface.

However Ian’s right – how the question is framed can influence this result. Trust in “people like you” was 45% in UK/France/Germany – the joint highest group rated. Personally I’d count people I know who blog as “people I know”, but people who blog who I don’t have a connection with as blogger.

David explains what factors affect the credbility of a “person like you” in the UK:

shared interests (72%), while same gender (7%), religion (6%) and race/ethnicity (2%)

So I guess the barometer shows that blogging itself doesn’t build trust, it’s the relationships that form when you blog and participate in blog-related communities that build trust and can lead on to influence reputation.

Thanks to Stephen Davies for the invitation to this morning’s presentation – unfortunately I couldn’t make it up to London today owing to much last-minute preparations for Medway’s 2012 programme launch tomorrow.

As well as hearing the barometer results presentation, it would have been a great opportunity to catch up with bloggers I have met (Ian Delaney and Stuart Bruce) and meet several bloggers I haven’t had to the chance to meet yet (Stephen, David Brain, Iain Dale and Hugh MacLeod).

4 Comments on “It's a trust thing”

  1. Sorry we missed you and hope the launch goes well tomorrow. Hope you can make the next one of ours. Question though. Stuart Bruce and I were discussing what the word should be for two bloggers who have read each others blog for a while and then who “meet” which is what we did today for the first time. “Meet” seems inadequate when you feel you have a bit of a relationship . . . Hugh McLeod suggested that “fleshpoint” was a better word! Ideas on a postcard to . . . .

  2. Ian, thanks for the comment – your post got me thinking

    David, maybe it’s the difference between “meeting” face to face, and “knowing” someone online?

    Anyhow, hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to meet sometime soon!

  3. Pingback: A PR Guy's Musings - Stuart Bruce

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