Who I Trust On Social Media. …Do I Trust Anyone?

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Today we were asked to identify who we trust on social media.  I was not really sure where to go with this assignment because I don’t really feel like I go on social media to engage in “trusting relationships.”  So, in order to do the assignment, I began to reflect on what I was looking for when choosing to follow someone on social media.  To me, earning trust on social media is delivering the content or experience or even personality that I followed you for.  So I suppose I would say that a social media account that I “trust” is one without a lot of surprises.

In order to find specific people that I trust on social media, I literally went through my list of followed accounts and eliminated any organizations.  Not that I don’t trust organizations to deliver to social media profile I followed them for, but because this assignment asked us to speak about individuals specifically.  After I sorted out the individuals, I went through and asked myself the following questions: “Why have I followed this person?” and “Have they delivered on that expectation?”

For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised with my results.  Most of the people that I follow have remained consistent on social media and whatever they are “selling” has been apparent, but not in my face.  For example, I follow the Twitter account for our very own President, Barack Obama.  Now, I am not so naïve to think that President Obama is sitting in the White House coming up with insightful Tweets to share with me.  But the account does deliver on showing me “candid” pictures of the president during his travels, as well as discusses issues that I would assume the President finds important.  I also have chosen to follow Speaker of the House John Boehner in hopes that he will provide a counter argument to many of the issues the President discusses and by that regard, he is certainly running a trustworthy social media presence.  On a more personal scale, I follow some of my favorite graffiti artists trusting them to “debut” new works and purchase opportunities on these platforms before anywhere else.

What I have found myself reflecting on most during this assignment is the question of whether or not I actually trust ANYONE on social media.  Maybe my definition of trust is skewed.  Maybe I expect too little from the people I follow because I don’t really expect anyone to be trust worthy in the first place.  Overall, I have enjoyed the exercise and have a lot to think about when trying to create trust with the people that follow me.

Am I cynical for not really trusting anyone on social media?

Is social media really the platform for expressing and maintaining real trustworthy relationships?  Is “social media trust” different than “real trust?”

Let me know what you think in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Who I Trust On Social Media. …Do I Trust Anyone?

  1. Hi Jake,
    You bring up a great question. Is social media trust different than real trust? I think it depends on how you look at things. I mention two women that I follow on my post that I trust because they talk about their triumphs and struggles in weight loss and muscle gain. At the same time, do I send out my personal details over Instagram or reach out to them consistently looking for a response? No. I think that there is a big difference between my true friends that I speak to on a regular basis and people that I connect with and feel are trustworthy on social media. I think that when it comes to being trustworthy on social media, a big part of it, for myself is making me feel as though they are real and not just putting their best foot forward all the time as most people (including myself) tend to do. Great post!

  2. Amanda, thanks for following up with a discussion on the differences between trust. I think you brought up some great points in regards to the ways that we express our trust on social media. I like your example of giving your personal information out in order to connect with someone: its not really that silly to do something like this is in real life with someone you trust, but on social media its completely different. I agree with the need to feel real as well. I hate it when an account feels like someone is being paid to run it. Thanks for the comment!

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