Who do you trust on social media?

Over the past few weeks social media has had a big issue in terms of its credibility. During this period we’ve seen pieces ranging from a Forbes contributor (not a Forbes staff writer) writing a linkbait article on influential folks to incorrect information regarding the Boston Marathon Bombings has further diluted the trust that we can have with information shared in the space.

Trust us, we're expertCall it what you will, but social media’s hubris is ego.

Our society’s appetite for recognition and breaking news has fostered this culture. Being given a retweet by a big name or influence helps boost Klout scores and when it comes to breaking news, being first is better than correctright CNN?

While it is easy to point at CNN or Forbes and laugh, the two media juggernauts help showcase how it is easy to get caught up in the rat race of social media. In the case of Forbes, they’ve fallen victim to the idiom of Content is King, empowering contributors to produce content for their site to appease the search engines while giving the contributors a credible pulpit. With CNN they wanted to be out ahead of a site like Reddit or some dude Tweeting images of bullet holes in his kitchen. There is also the issue of hacking, which happened to the AP and helped tank Wall Street.

With that said, the question has to be asked.  Who can you trust in social media?

I am not sure that there is a good answer to that. Peer-to-Peer sites like Klout and PeerIndex don’t give real authority, but give an equated value based on algorithms and the media can be wrong. It is really up to each individual to determine who exactly it is that they trust.

For me, if I see 3-5 friends sharing a story, I’ll click a few links. This helps me tremendously in terms of keeping up with things. I also look at my live stream on Twitter and if a story catches my eye I will look and then Google to see if there are more sources reporting on the same thing when it comes to breaking news. This also is how I share things… if it can’t be verified and might be sketchy I’ll avoid sharing.

Who do you trust in social? How do you verify your information?

Image: phauly

8 Responses to Who do you trust on social media?
  1. AmyVernon
    April 29, 2013 | 10:46 am

    The people I trust on social tend to be people who’ve gained my trust. Whom I’ve seen, over time, provide quality – links, content, whatever. I’ve come to trust Forbes, HuffPo and others like them less, because I don’t know the background of the person writing the piece. 
    I used to trust mainstream sources more readily, but now I’m more circumspect. Overall, they’re more right than wrong. But I don’t trust the first, immediate bursts of information, because they’re more likely to be incorrect.
    I trust these sites in the aggregate – like Wikipedia and Reddit. I trust them as initial jumping off points, as when information is wrong in those spots, people are very likely to jump in and correct the error. Finding those corrections can be difficult at times.
    I trust myself – my ability to ferret out who is trustworthy and who is not.

  2. jeffespo
    April 29, 2013 | 10:58 am

    AmyVernon I trust you as well. My big thing is just seeing the whole race to inaccuracy and feeding the SEO beast. Like this is what I expected out of blogs circa 2007 not 2013, but hey I guess some bloggers and social dudes and dudettes are more trustworthy than the media.

  3. AmyVernon
    April 29, 2013 | 11:06 am

    jeffespo It definitely has spiraled out of control. I would like to think this, too, shall pass. But …

  4. Erin F.
    April 29, 2013 | 2:35 pm

    I tend to trust the people I know well. If I know their political leanings and things of that nature, I then know how to approach the information they share.
    I’m an academic by nature (maybe nurture). I believe in going to the original source when at all possible.

  5. jimstorer
    April 29, 2013 | 11:16 pm

    It sounds so cliche, but trust is earned not through one interaction, but by continued trustworthiness. Personally, I have a hard time “trusting” someone I’ve never met face-to-face. I may “respect” them and appreciate their opinions, but they’ve yet to earn my explicit trust. I know others have a much looser working definition of trust that guides them, but for me it’s not enough. Trust is earned through continuous, consistent behavior. I trust some of the people I’ve worked with in social over the years because I have deep understanding of who they are and how they share. I trust everyone on TheCR team because they show me day in and day out that they deserve it. And I trust a bunch of our members (including you Jeff), who I’ve worked and spoken with over the years, developing a basis for that trust. There are other folks too, but I don’t want to go naming names. 🙂 
    Jim | jimstorer

  6. jeffespo
    April 30, 2013 | 7:27 am

    jimstorer well said Jim. The dilution of accuracy in the race to be first has kind of soured me on networks. When everything went down with the Marathon I was taking a nap with my son, then I get Tweets FB messages and IMs asking are you OK, turned on the TV and saw different stories on different channels. Hooker boots was saying one thing on Fox and then on Channel 5 it was something completely different. It only continued through Friday’s forced stay at home day. In the space we play in, my BS filter goes up when research is shared outside of a few sources.

  7. jeffespo
    April 30, 2013 | 7:28 am

    Erin F. So like the X-Files you default to trust no one?

  8. Erin F.
    April 30, 2013 | 8:45 am

    jeffespo Perhaps so. I sometimes have a strong vein of cynicism running through my veins.