Edelman survey: Trust in all media plunges!

Edelman survey: Trust in all media plunges!

Summary: People's trust in their peers has fallen sharply, bad news for social media gurus. But, all forms of media are affected...


The annual Edelman Trust Barometer always has interesting results. The tenth survey consisted of 4,875 interviews (25 years to 64 years):

The finding that jumped out at me was this:

- 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 because social media has been the 'point of the spear' for so many firms. This is what brings 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 many startups that offer real-time monitoring of the 'social' web. There is less need for their services. But it's not just social media...

Other types of media have also fallen in the Edelman Trust Barometer, but not to the same degree 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.

But why is ALL media less trustworthy?

- Is it because we now have more media now than ever before, both social and traditional sources of media?

- Is it because more of any thing, devalues that thing? We have more media in more forms, at more times, than at anytime in our history. Is trust in media being lost because trust has become more diluted?

- Traditional media still leads as a source for social media. But traditional media is under pressure, with fewer resources. That means more mistakes, less time to check sources, resulting in a lower quality product. That can't be good for building trust in media.

- Is social media losing trust because of all the social media marketeers that seem to be the loudest voices in many streams?

That would make it seem as if social media can be manipulated, or used to an advantage by businesses. Which is exactly what the social media mavens are saying. A key finding of the Edelman Trust Barometer is that trust in businesses is fragile.

Therefore, is it business involvement in social media that is affecting people's trust in social and traditional media?

The Edelman survey has raised some interesting questions...

Topic: Social Enterprise

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • To be honest...(yeah :)

    <I>That would make it seem as if social media can be manipulated, or used to an advantage by businesses. Which is exactly what the social media mavens are saying. A key finding of the Edelman Trust Barometer is that trust in businesses is fragile.</I>

    I think that hit the nail right on the head. If it can be manipulated, or used as an advantage, then how do we know the news isn't biased, or even downright a lie?

    I've said before the only newspaper that has any sort of journalistic integrity is a fictional one called the Daily Planet.

    As long as you have the rich, well connected, and/or big business doing what ever they can to shaft their customers, then no one will have any trust in them. IT itself has numerous examples. Sony's rootkit, RIAA extorting grandmothers who don't even know what a computer is, Geocities selling kid webmasters's data to advertisers, AFTER they said they wouldn't, to just name just a few. Maybe ultimately when people quit buying the junk, and they start loosing money they'll improve.

    By then, civilization will collapse and we'll be back in the 17th century in technology.

    - Kc
    • RE: Edelman survey: Trust in all media plunges!

      Good post,thank you. <a href="http://www.replica-hermes.org">hermes bags</a>
  • 'Trust in all media plunges !'

    Surprise, surprise ! The media well merits the confidence (or lack of same) shown by the public....

  • RE: Edelman survey: Trust in all media plunges!

    Trust needs to be earned, so its no surprise that social media trust started low and may remain low unless/until those sources prove themselves trustworthy. With regard to traditional media (TV, radio, newsprint, etc.), it appears from how they behave that most outlets have become a mouthpiece for either the left or the right. This is quite evident by how they filter their news content in determining what is news-worthy. Therefore, I for one no longer trust them to be fair and impartial. One good example of this is the recent March for Life that took place in DC a few weeks ago. It attracted by some counts 300k participants, but it was almost completely ignored by most major media producers. Another example has been the almost as total lack of coverage for the recent climategate scandal that has helped expose the fraud surrounding the global-warming movement. These examples and others show how one-sided our traditional news media have become. It is now up to each of us to determine for ourselves what sources are trustworthy or not. Maybe that, at least in part, is why our society is becoming so polarized. Technology is less controversial, so its not surprising that there are less trust issues.
  • RE: Edelman survey: Trust in all media plunges!

    It's no wonder that all media are losing the trust of their consumers. We've seen in the past few years how blatant the agendas have become in broadcast media, for instance. You have News Corp. with a conservative bias, just as you have MSNBC, for instance, with a more liberal bias. Token voices in opposition at these providers of content don't diminish the overall tone of their output.

    That's the political side of things. In business, we have all developed finely tuned BS detectors that actively filter the ads and commercials with which we're bombarded 24/7. As more commercials are larded onto things like computer software, email, web sites, and so forth, as we get our new PCs with "Intel Inside" and "Designed for Genuine Microsoft Windows" stickers prominently displayed, as we see police cars with ad space for sale on them, we realize that everything around us is for sale, and a spirit of caveat emptor is the appropriate response to everything we hear, see, and experience. The cynicism this produces shouldn't be surprising, should it? When everyone wants something from you, why should you blindly trust them?

    The real question is, where do we go from here? Is it even possible to trust media, or should we discard that along with every other old-fashioned thing that no longer makes sense?
  • Astroturfing social networks sure don't help

    Social networks are built on a social contract. Marketing mavens that push Astroturf-style campaigns through social networks break the contract.

    It's OK to monitor a social network, and then have business people natively and naturally respond. But any organized response gets immediately dismissed.