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Do You Trust Your Social Network?

Would you attend a public event announced solely via one Facebook post on one fan page?

I was presented with this question a few weeks ago when a popular TV series posted on their Facebook page that the new season would be screened at a local cinema over a week before the air date. The only instruction in the post was to send a message to a generic email address and then your name would be put on “the list.” There wasn’t any information about the event on the TV station or cinema websites and I found myself growing quite skeptical. It turned out that my cynicism was completely un-founded. Not only was my name on the “the list” but the event was entirely free and boasted complimentary beer, wine and pizza. What’s more, the house was packed! Hundreds stood in line and didn’t make it into the theater due to capacity restrictions. I ended up in the second row in front of an IMAX screen and barring a few episodes of motion sickness, it was a great evening!

I felt rather guilty (and okay perhaps old) for questioning the legitimacy of something promoted solely via a social network.  After all, I know that social media is an incredibly powerful tool that’s being utilized more and more for promotions and campaigns. However, two things about the situation really impressed upon me the power of social media:

  1. Reach: One post on one social media network drove hundreds of individuals to attend.
  2. Trust: Many of these individuals even arrived in costume—attendees that were obviously less skeptical than me.

The level of trust that individuals have towards information gleaned from social media is what really amazes me. It turns out that globally society’s trust in social media is increasing at dramatic rates. According to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer, public trust in content sharing sites including Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr has grown by as much as 88%. In some areas of the world, such as China, trust is being transferred from traditional media sources (TV and newspapers). The trust levels for these communication vehicles are
rapidly decreasing. The Edelman Trust Barometer reported that China’s trust of TV fell from 74 to 43% in the last year.1

With such a broad reach and increasing consumer trust the question is raised:

Will social media overtake other traditional avenues of advertising such as TV commercials and radio ads?

 

1. Daniel J. Edelman, Inc. (2012, January 30). Trust in Media: Digital and Otherwise. Retrieved from http://trust.edelman.com/slides/trust-in-media-digital-and-otherwise/

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