It's a trust thing

SimonGeneral

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).