Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Building Trust through Social Media Communication

It has been quite a challenge preparing for social media communication for my public relations lectures with my students.The reason being that these are some channels the students are already using it as they perceive, learn from others using it and experiment with it as they go along.So essentially there is no formal training in the use of the same.But there is a science behind why we use social media the way we do and how we can better the use.The trust that we form so easily on a basis of texts being transmitted is something to be understood so that use of social media will improve.

Greg Ferenstein in his post on, the site on social media on the web elaborately explains the science behind building trust in social media communication.He takes the studies by Professor Judy Olson into account on how people perceive, her findings based on a pillar of psychological research, she says that people often pass judgement with or without any good information.When we make a mistake the blame is on everything but ourselves, but when somebody else goes wrong the person is to be blamed.

The above lead to an important finding that responsiveness is the key for digital communication.On the digital arena, there is only text available to establish credibility as body language and voice intonation are absent.Speed is also an important factor.The faster you reply to a text message the better it is as it might be considered unhelpful on your part if you don't do so, and some other adjectives might be added to your personality! So in the words of the author "Psychologically speaking, responsiveness makes it easier for others to attribute our misdeeds to the situation, rather than our personality".The details can always be plugged in later but immediate response is always appreciated.

Another vital point made here is that no communication is better than video, audio and then chat, in that order.Simply exemplifies the fact that face to face conversation is the best! Thus the hierarchy will always remain as will always be to say.Thus where it is possible use video instead of text or audio where video is not possible and text where both are not possible.As when we converse face to face we read a person in totality.

Like all forms of communication this is also a form of communication which will improve if looked at scientifically and not only as a medium to have fun on. Social media is growing as a tool for professional and promotional communication and things may soon change.With mobile phones with the internet on our fingertips in days ahead, we better master the art of this medium as it is growing much faster than we realise.

More on the way....till then happy digital communication!


  1. i think for PR to build trust through this 'social media communication' is the greatest challenge.
    its a open book whereby anything could be manipulated very easily and competitors has a good chance to influence the 'perceive ' aspect of public(by posting or commenting stuff which are detrimental to the image of the corporate). the imp role of a PR -- image building and reputation building would be affected immensely if this trend grows in this pace.

  2. Digital communication and now social media communication have definitely increased the speed and expanse of communication. But now the credibility of the message is often doubtful. Thus by far personal communication or face to face communication is certainly the most authentic type.

  3. Overdose of social networks makes them feel absurd at times.
    When I go for a class, I will feel more happy if i don't use any digital aids to reach the children.
    I get inspired after seeing brightness on their faces, which I cant see when I screen them something.

  4. Well I agree that there is no substitute for face to face to face communication but this medium which is growing like the wild grass cannot be ignored either so might as well use it wisely.afterall tracking our client's reputation online is our responsiblity.