Category Archives: social media

The Collapse of Trust

distrustI caught a BBC interview this morning with Richard Edelman, Chairman of Edelman Worldwide. He was speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, about the often-cited Edelman Trust Barometer, his company’s annual global survey on the trust and credibility of key institutions. Edelman himself looked shaken by the results of the 2018 Barometer. Here’s a link to the Executive Summary. I felt it was worth sharing.

Globally — but most especially in the US — there has been an unprecedented crash in trust in institutions, particularly media and government, and in information. People have no faith in the information they have been receiving, and in their own ability to distinguish real information from fake news. Nowhere is this collapse of trust more evident than in the US, where media are under attack from government as never before.

There is an interesting nuance to the fall of trust in media, however: Respondents view “media” as including the non-traditional online platforms, including social media, from which many people get most of their news and insights. But trust has fallen sharply both in social media as sources of truth and (tellingly) in the veracity of information gathered from “people like me” —  peers in social networks. There is a substantial uptick in trust for experts, especially technical experts, and a downgrading of information populism. This reverses a several year trend of cynicism toward expertise, and distrust of the motives and credibility of experts. If accurate and sustained, this reversal could suggest a renewed interest in institutions like science and academia — in my opinion, a welcome and overdue development. Oh, and this includes journalists — respondents say they distrust media, but trust in journalists rose, year-on-year, more sharply than for any other group.

The 2018 Trust Barometer also measured a significant uptick in trust for business leaders, CEOs and brands. That’s the main reason I’m blogging about this.

One of the main forms of work product I generate for corporate clients is Thought Leadership content — bylined articles, white papers, eBooks, guest blog posts and the like. There is great demand for this kind of content because corporate-affiliated thought leaders have important ideas to convey, but little time to devote to writing. I help people who have this quandary to get their ideas out of their heads and into erudite prose.

Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer forces us to confront some dark realities about the global economy. But it also presents us with an opportunity: Globally, people are hungry for ideas, and increasingly are looking to thought leaders from the business community to provide them — including ideas that have little direct connection to your company’s commercial offerings, but for which you nonetheless have genuine authority by virtue of your institutional leadership.

The world is listening. You have knowledge to contribute. Your thought leadership content — already a key component of a realistic Content Marketing program — will find an increasingly receptive audience this year, and that can help increase Awareness and Audience Engagement with your brand. If I can help you to get your ideas out there, please let me know.

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Video is Killing Discourse

videoAn Iranian blogger offers an important observation (in slightly tangled English). The rise of video online is enabling demagogues, who would be laughed off the world stage by an audience that actually read.

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How It All Turned Out

hamsterdance3In November 1989, I found myself in Pittsburgh where — in addition to experiencing firsthand how dead a city’s downtown can be on a Sunday evening — I attended the Association for Computing Machinery‘s Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia. I was surrounded by an international crowd of luminaries on human-computer interaction design, and the question that seemed to be on everybody’s lips was this:

This hypertext stuff is super-cool. So…what’s it for? What’s its practical purpose ever going to be?

Who knew the World Wide Web was about to happen?

Happy 25th anniversary, you world-transforming sewer of porn, pop-ups, narcissism and rage, you.

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How NOT to spam someone on LinkedIn

Confession time: I’m a LinkedIn spammer. OK, not exactly. What I mean is, one of the ways in which I market my services is by sending messages to people with whom I share various LinkedIn.com Groups — people I don’t actually know. LinkedIn facilitates this, and the truth is that it’s an effective way to reach prospective clients, if it’s done considerately and with the requisite flair, and if the message you share has some actual relevance to the recipient. Actually, it’s worked out rather well.

But it is SO EASY TO SCREW THIS UP. I offer this message as a case in point.

spamIt arrived in my LinkedIn inbox. Needless to say, Andrea is a complete stranger. We’re both members of a group — probably one related to Digital Marketing. LinkedIn allows people who share a group to message one another if they opt into this. In its early days, LinkedIn was very squeamish about this kind of unsolicited contact, but the Groups feature has designed into it the recognition that people want to interact with peers with whom they have things in common. This was part of LinkedIn’s coming of age.

I’m happy to know Andrea wishes me well — she and the other attractive, mid-20ish female who sent me this exact same message earlier this week. I’m very curious whether women who are members of this group have been receiving this same message from handsome 25ish male Inside Sales Specialists at Consultant / Independent in the last week or so. Ladies?

Here are a few other things that made me cynical about this message (i.e., reasons I trashed it):

  • “I wanted to take a few minutes from you today.” Did you now? Aren’t you thoughtful.
  • “…’hosted’ video conferencing is changing real-time collaboration.” Mmm. Is it? Not mine, so far. Where have I been?
  • “(A) white paper that will tell you why this technology is spreading like wildfire.” Just what I need — a document that satisfies my burning desire to know the reason behind an irrelevant phenomenon I hadn’t noticed.
  • Free Download Link. Oh good. A link to click, from a complete stranger, with no affiliation, offering something I never asked for. Lemme at it!
  • “I hope you would find this interesting.” Setting aside the bizarre verb tense…thanks for sharing your hopes and dreams, pretty, young, inappropriately-familiar Andrea. Life can be so cruel.

I believe this last bit is supposed to be a “Call to Action” — the payoff you are supposed to use to cap off every selling letter or blog post. Here’s mine: By all means, look into social media groups or networks as ways to cultivate leads, if yours is the sort of product or service for which there is a realistic expectation of actual demand among your peers in those groups. But:

  • Approach people respectfully, and be 100% aboveboard about who you are and who you work for;
  • Understand that pandering to the recipient’s vanity is not going to get your message read;
  • Have something of practical value to offer, and understand that not everyone in the group has a reason to want it — this tactic only works with carefully targeted members (i.e., a group is not the same thing as a mass mailing list);
  • Do remember that the web is a snake pit, and clicking a link in an unsolicited message from a stranger is an act of faith. If you haven’t earned the recipient’s trust, even asking them to click is insulting his or her intelligence; and
  • Wind up your message with a compelling and reasonable request — for a live call, or a meeting, for instance — one that promises actual value to the reader.

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Follow my pinboard (Sorry, no recipes)

pinterestIf I were in the business of crocheting stories, dancing case studies or baking white papers — or if I was more deeply involved in video production — odds are it would have occurred to me sooner to set up a pinboard on Pinterest. I don’t mean to belittle what actually is a very intriguing medium for visually oriented content. I’m just a word guy, and I have a writer’s biases.

Anyway, it’s arrived: Peter Dorfman Creative Services is now on Pinterest. I plan to use it as a place to share links to my work as it appears on clients’ sites, as well as my own posts and articles on content marketing, writing, social media, knowledge management, and life in general. Once I get some experience with it, I’ll have thoughts on the use of Pinterest by professional services firms.

Do follow me there.

Incidentally, “no recipes” is just an assumption I’m making today about the way I will use this pinboard — or future pinboards. Before long I might be singing a different tune.

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I’m on Google+. Just because.

gplusI’m regularly reminded by the pundits in the social media game that Google+ is an essential place for brands to be seen — including my own. I don’t mean to be unkind, but I’m still waiting to be convinced.

Nevertheless, I maintain an active presence there, and have just started a Group, called Content Directors. It’s an invitation only group that is intended for people who are responsible for Content Marketing programs for their organizations — operating companies, not-for-profits and government agencies. If you’re accountable for your organization’s content, the group is for you to network with your peers who share this responsibility.

Do join it, if the shoe fits.

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