Creative Commons License

Trust and Reputation: Twitter and New Media

Thursday, April 08, 2010 at 07:01 AM EDT

Technology changes rapidly. As it evolves it takes with it lots of things that had no intention of changing. Marketing, news, media, business, trust, society, reputations, education, and responsibility (just to name a few).

As citizens and consumers it has always been pretty easy to filter and choose who we trust. Media and advertisers have done most of the job for us. The internet has challenged some of our trust decisions and has cemented others. New media (social networks, social media, crowd-sourcing sites, micro-blogging, etc) has and will have greater impact on how we calculate trust and reputation. New trust decisions will affect where we spend our dollars and where we get our news.

Twitter is a web and mobile tool with phenomenal impact for change and influence. Reputation and trustworthiness can change overnight. Power and influence has been traditionally with those with the dollars to spend on advertising and promotion. You did not need to be nimble if you had the bucks.

Complex and simple trust networks of influentials are forming and swarming. These large and small participatory and opt-in groups gain power by the moment and by the follower. As we move towards geo-location based broadband marketing the entire landscape of trust and consumerism will radically shift.

Flat and one-way media (print, tv, cable) can not compete for trust and reputation. Watching TV or reading newspapers and seeing how these media outlets try to merge new media is humorous and odd. Daily newspapers often get stories and pictures from social networks. TV news (local and cable) read viewers tweets into their coverage of breaking news.

New media is fast. Trust and reputation will fall to those who keep pace and thrive in the new environment. Businesses who engage their customers in effective conversation who seize the media tools to enhance their market position will become front-runners. To achieve the position their business must also be customer centric and have value. New media participants will quickly recognize and rebroadcast the lack of trust and reputation of those trying to game these new systems of influence.

Google changed how we think about accessing information. Craigslist changed how we think about classified ads. eBay changed how we think about garage sales. Twitter and other new media sites are changing how we think about trustworthiness and reputation. Craig Newmark, Craigslist founder, addressed trust and reputation in a recent post on his blog.

"By the end of this decade, power and influence will shift largely to those people with the best reputations and trust networks, from people with money and nominal power. That is, peer networks will confer legitimacy on people emerging from the grassroots."

"We are already seeing a shift in power and influence, a big wave whose significance we'll see by the end of this decade. Right now, it's like the moment before a tsunami, where the water is drawn away from the shore, when it's time to get ahead of that curve'.

Is it time to get your business involved before the water recedes?