Where’s the trust gone?

Photo used with kind permission by Levi Neeson

I’ve been a fan of Jenna Marbles’ YouTube channel. They are my guilty pleasure online. Light entertainment… or so I thought. Recently Jenna celebrated her 200th video and 4 years on youtube that has turned into a career for her. The scale of what she has accomplished blew me away even though it shouldn’t have.

I contacted a prolific blogger and friend of mine, Mark Schaefer, asking whether he had ever written a blog post about the impact of video bloggers like Jenna and he offered me the opportunity to write a guest post for him.

And I started by writing:

Jenna Marbles is my guilty pleasure online, not sure why but probably because she presents herself as genuine

… hang on…”presents herself as genuine”?… hmm…. maybe: “seems genuine” or “comes across as genuine” or “appears genuine”…

It wasn’t until days after I realised that I had not considered just writing: “IS genuine”. Is.

Why was it so hard for me to accept somebody online is actually just being good old-fashioned genuine? No hidden agenda?

Is there any trust online at all?

If I complain about a company on Twitter, I am not doing it to help fellow customers or to inform the company. I do it to get something fixed. And the company replying aren’t doing it to please me. They are doing it to stop me from complaining to avoid looking bad to their other customers.

If a friend posts something on Facebook, do I trust it to be genuine? That selfie of her hugging a wine glass next to a bunch of smiling friends at “The Fat Duck”, are they actually genuinely having fun or are they just smiling to make their online alter ego look good?

As an industry we keep telling our clients that they need to built trust online, but how will they ever stand a chance if we can’t even trust each other as individuals online?

We all assume digital has brought us closer, but our instincts and senses, built up over centuries and vital parts to how we communicate and build trust, are being numbed by the invisible, but very solid veil digital communication has introduced between us as individuals.

Have we underestimating the value of physical contact and can we recreate it online?

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Share your thoughts

  • You have to earn trust though through numerous encounters with people. Online, you may not have as many encounters as say offline. But it takes time

    That said, I don’t really trust many human beings. More often than not, they let you down and it’s easier if that is online.