Do We Trust Anything Anymore? Surprising New Data From SXSW

Do We Trust Anything Anymore? Surprising New Data From SXSW

Among those sessions was the "SXSW Report on Trust: Gov’t, Tech & Media" a discussion with none other than journalist Dan Rather, joined by a panel of experts to weigh in on the annual Trust Barometer: a flash poll of event attendees conducted by SXSW and communications firm Edelman to measure trust in future technologies, media, government, and business. The Majority of SXSW Attendees Trust the Media What the Survey Results Say The Trust Barometer indicates 61% of SXSW attendees trust the media (compare that to the global average of 43%), with a scant 14% believing that media, in general, cannot be improved or repaired. However, the panel was sure to make a distinction between the media as a collection of reporters, publications, and news applications -- and social media platforms. "Social media and search [are] not media," said Clifton, during the panel discussion. "Social platforms are not media publishers. It’s a community that’s publishing content, and we have to delineate.” Apparently, the audience polled was able to make that distinction, with 98% responding that "media" meant journalists. Trust in Business, Government, and Future Technology Is Down What the Survey Results Say While the Trust Barometer surprisingly indicated trust in the media is up, the audience also reported a declined level of faith in business (31% -- 21 percentage points lower than the global average). There wasn't a great deal of context around these results discussed, though many of them echo the overall sentiment discussed around the trust in media and concerns about social platforms and search engines. "A guide for that is: What’s right for your employees? "If [employees] trust the business, they're going to be more bought-in," Brunner said, "and bring that level of authenticity to your customers."

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sxsw trust barometer

Events kicked off today for SXSW — a multi-day series of festivals and conferences in Austin, TX — with a jam-packed, star-studded lineup of interviews and panels on the convergence of interactive, film, and music.

Among those sessions was the “SXSW Report on Trust: Gov’t, Tech & Media” a discussion with none other than journalist Dan Rather, joined by a panel of experts to weigh in on the annual Trust Barometer: a flash poll of event attendees conducted by SXSW and communications firm Edelman to measure trust in future technologies, media, government, and business.

Rather was joined by SXSW Director Hugh Forrest, WP Engine’s Heather Brunner, and Edelman Digital’s Jess Clifton to discuss the results of the poll in a panel moderated by Edelman CEO Richard Edelman.

Here are the findings that stood out.

Live From SXSW, Day One: Do We Trust Anything Anymore?

The Majority of SXSW Attendees Trust the Media

What the Survey Results Say

The Trust Barometer indicates 61% of SXSW attendees trust the media (compare that to the global average of 43%), with a scant 14% believing that media, in general, cannot be improved or repaired.

However, the panel was sure to make a distinction between the media as a collection of reporters, publications, and news applications — and social media platforms.

“Social media and search [are] not media,” said Clifton, during the panel discussion. “Social platforms are not media publishers. It’s a community that’s publishing content, and we have to delineate.”

Apparently, the audience polled was able to make that distinction, with 98% responding that “media” meant journalists.

That could explain why 84% are more trusting of traditional media outlets, and significantly less so of search engines (44%) and social media (20%).

That low faith in social media, however, could be tied to the ongoing allegations of it being weaponized to spread misinformation by outside agents. Nine out of 10 members of that same polled audience seemed to have significant concerns in this area, saying they’re worried about false information or fake news being published with negative intent.

That aligns with new research from MIT which shows false news is 70% more likely to be re-tweeted than accurate information. So, while at first glance, a high rate of trust in the media may come as surprise, the distinction between traditional sources of news (and those who report it) and the platforms used to share it is crucial.

Trust in Business, Government, and Future Technology Is Down

What the Survey Results Say

While the Trust Barometer surprisingly indicated trust in the media…

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