Trust me I’m an avatar

Over on the Neilsen blog is a great set of numbers showing that a survey of 25,000 internet users across 50 countries found that people tend to trust the recommendations of friends and online aquaintances much more than anything other interaction.
Trust friends
This should not come as any great surprise, and presumably given these are internet users, bothering to respond to a survey they feel quite strongly about how they get to know about products and ideas and how they choose their path.
This links with the discussion on New World Notes about trusting anonymous avatars. The split between knowing who someone is, versus respecting what they actually do online without needing to know their physical embodiment in any way. I am not going to retype my comment from that discussion, merely to indicate that trust and the effort put into the trust of others is as valid online as offline. The expression of that trust and the notion of understanding the signals we give off in a digital expression (I keep linking back to my Lie to Me post) I find very intriguing and something that become even more important to products, brands and business online given the graph at the start of this post.

If you want people to buy your product, service etc. You need them to get to know you or your representatives in ways that is far more engaging, based on dialogue and trust. That aspirational glossy TV advert will become a very expensive low return item compared to the engagement of a real person with the customers.

2 thoughts on “Trust me I’m an avatar

  1. Completely 😉
    I predict that within 5 years, Social Media Spend shall consume the majority of traditional advertising/media spend, and end up being a fraction of the cost for that very reason. People buy people, not empty promises, made by claims in ads..

  2. Gray Beam

    Whether in a virtual world, or the real world, people develop trust in an identity (could be a person, avatar, brand name, whatever). Any entity has to earn that trust – build their reputation. And Reputations spread – sometime very quickly – whether they are good or bad. As Gray Beam, I have a reputation – it means something to a number of people. They can tell others their assessment of me, and if they are trusted, my reputation (trustworthiness) is transmitted by association. My real life persona also has a reputation. But someone who does not know my real life identity will not accord that identity the same trust as they would Gray Beam, even though we are (essentially) the same person. If I were to say to that person, “Oh, you know me as Gray Beam.”, my real identity reputation would modify, ironically, because I vouch for myself using an identity they do know and trust.

    Not to say don’t people lie or deceive, but a pattern of behavior that leads to trust of an entity is, for most people, the more preferred way to get what they accept as accurate (or trusted) information. And the entity they trust does not always have to have to exist as such in the real world.

    Reputations, I believe, are important, and will become more so as we move to settings where our sources of information are more and more virtual.

    (hmm reading over this – not sure this will make sense to anyone but me – but I’ll give it a try…..)

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