Do you want to be told what to believe or believe what your told?!
It appears that we are increasingly likely to take what people tell us on social media as fact. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2012 Twitter and Facebook have had an upsurge in credibility in the last year.
The survey found it was the number of times that something is seen repeated on Twitter, Facebook or Blogs that determines its credibility. Websites that were previously percieved as untrustworthy are now seen as respected sources of information with a 75% increase in trust over the past year across the World
This is the next trend – as such Companies are trying to find ways to manipulate social media to promote their own agenda. However, consumers are not stupid we are moving away from traditional advertising because we know it is all about the sell, we are moving towards trusting social media because we get the information from different sources that are not being paid to promote so we believe it is genuine. Its important that Companies keep the confidence in their products and encourage their consumers to promote what they believe is good and not try and tell us what they think we want to hear.
Google have recenlty been under fire for promoting their secondary services via search and is currently under investigation by the European competition authorities for alleged monopoly abuse
They have introduced a search update in America called ‘search plus your World’ which means users will see more links to Google+ when they do generic web searches. In a recent blog post Google wrote ‘Starting today if you search for a topic like music or baseball you might see prominent people who frequently discuss this topic on Google+ appearing on the right hand side of the results page’
Is this tainting search to gain a competitive advantage and is the risk that loyal Google users will feel like they are being manipulated? I am a loyal Google user and love the Brand, I trust Google search to bring me the information I need so I am disappointed that they are using their platform to leverage other products which if I wanted to see I would search for!
Twitter, Facebook & MySpace have created a browser add on called ‘Don’t be evil’ which was one of Googles first mottos. The software will negate the effects of the Google update.
Alex Macgillivray, Twitters most senior lawyer said in a recent statement:
“For years, people have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet. Often, they want to know more about world events and breaking news. Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million Tweets every day on virtually every topic. As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results. We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.”
Maybe Twitter and Facebook could see this as less of a threat and more of a potential competitive advantage. If Google persist on tainting search they are in danger of losing the loyalty of their users who will in turn look to other sources of independent information. We are living in a time where we have choices and it appears we want to believe what we hear from sources we trust not what other people want us to hear. Come on Google do good not evil!