Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In information we trust

It's natural for us to seek trust in information we come across. Whether it's reading something in a newspaper, Wikipedia page, eBay ad, CV, Amazon review or Facebook profile, we always want the reassurance that what we're reading is valid and credible. What if you're basing a piece of research on that information? Or making a financial investment? Or you simply just don't believe it? You need trust.

For companies or organisations who provide information (or individuals acting on behalf of those organisations), we can usually base our trust on reputation, our own previous experience, brand perception, independent auditors (such as Intelligent Giving) and the opinions of our friends and family. We don't need to see the credentials of an individual TV reporter, in-store advisor or charity collector (other than verifying that the money will go to the charity!) if we have trust in the organisations they represent.

For individual information providers, it's not so straightforward. What do you base your trust on, especially if you don't know an individual personally? Perhaps they seem nice? Perhaps they have a good eBay feedback score? Perhaps they have been personally recommended by others? Perhaps they profess to have some sort of expertise in a relevant topic?

As individuals more easily compete with organisations in the digital landscape, how can you trust them?

No comments: