Who do you trust on social media?

Assignment: Who do you trust on social media, on any platform or combination of platforms? Focus on individuals rather than corporations. Reference some of their social media content. Why do you trust them? What behaviours do they display in their social spaces? What do they benefit from gaining your trust?

 

As I began to ponder WHO I trust on social media, I was surprised to find myself continually turning to companies rather than people. Although I was initially surprised by this, I began to realize the expectations I have in regard to companies and social media marketing. I chose to follow many of the companies, and afterall they are businesses, so would it be so wrong that they market to me? Do I love being bombard it by it ? No, and of course that’s where the self-promotion comes into play, but I’m accepting of it. Although my level of acceptance may be significantly impacted by my profession, which includes social media marketing, it did make me wonder if the formula for trust is different for companies than individuals. While I don’t consciously believe I have expectations for individuals on social media (because let’s face it, nothing is surprising anymore), I do believe businesses have somewhat of a professionalism to maintain.

Now, is that to say I don’t have hopes for how people would use social media (i.e. respectfully) – certainly, but I don’t place those expectations on them. After feeling as if I couldn’t trust anyone on Facebook as I scrolled through my feed, it hit me – a former neighbor, stay at home mom, and mother of two. I’ll refrain from using her name or screenshots of content, but as I thought about WHY I trusted her, the MORE I trusted her and reminisced about previous posts of hers.

In order to explain why I trust this woman, I must share with you my revised trust formula….well it’s really more of a modification in wording for the formula discussed in our ethics course.*

According to Steve Rayson, the formula for trust on social media is as follows:

A=Authority, H=Helpfulness, I=Intimacy, SP=Self-Promotion

A=Authority, H=Helpfulness, I=Intimacy, SP=Self-Promotion

While I do believe the formula created by Rayson would produce relatively the same results, I would use different wording and factor in consistency. Although I don’t know that the mathematical side of the equation would make sense, if I HAD to re-write the equation I suppose it would look like one of the two equations below:

TRUST = Authority x Compassion x Transparency x Consistency / Self-Promotion

OR

TRUST = Authority x Compassion x Transparency / Consistency – Self-Promotion

The individual whom I spoke of that I trust on social media uses Facebook as her primary platform. She doesn’t share only the positive, or gripe about everything negative. She’s transparent about both the high’s and low’s of her life. Her posts show photos of her children’s misspellings, side pony-tails her daughter has created on her (the mom’s) head, images of family members that have past and date nights with her and her husband, as well as their triumph over his battle with cancer. Her posts ooze with compassion toward her family, her new friends and those she had to part from when she moved away. She posts regularly on Facebook and is a mother, wife and simply a human being, which in my opinion gives her the authority to speak openly about life. While I believe the “self-promotion” factor is a little more difficult to factor in when it comes to individuals’ posts, particularly if they don’t work, this person doesn’t post about herself often. While her family, friends and religion are all very closely related to her, it’s not the same as posting a photo or status about herself personally.

As I thought more about how much I trust this person and how quickly we became close as neighbors, my feelings became more pronounced. I supposes that’s how I know I trust her. Not only do I believe her, which is definitionally related to trust, but I care about her. I also suppose this is why a company would want you to trust them, so that you reciprocate a certain level of compassion or care. I also can’t help but realize how my relationship with this individual off-line has influenced my feelings toward her online. Again, I suppose that’s also similar to businesses. If they promote trust online with consumers, they must also provide that same environment in their storefront or through their customer service. While I can’t say that I am connected with anyONE on social media that I haven’t interacted with outside of social (I would consider my peers and I interacting through coursework outside of social media), I would imagine it’s more difficult to start a relationship with no reputation and build trust entirely online, for both an individual or a business.

In a nutshell, I trust those individuals (and businesses) on social media that not only fit the criteria of the trust equation online, but also have a trusting relationship with them outside of social media as well.

*To my peers: For more details on why I chose to change the wording of the formula check out my reading reaction post for week three. In an effort to (somewhat) stay within the word restrictions, I have not included my detailed reasoning within this blog post.

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YouTube Lacks Video

Note: This blog was written for academic purposes, requiring an evaluation of social media platforms’ terms and conditions and recommendations for “re-drafting.”

Before seeing the YouTube Terms of Services page I thought the Facebook Terms of Service document was pretty bad, as in not user friendly (lengthy, not visually appealing, non-conversational language, etc.); however, the YouTube Terms of Services document gives Facebook a run for its money as far as being one of the worst social media terms documents. When I describe the documents as “pretty bad” or “worst,” I’m, referring to the level of understandability.  Not only is the document  incredibly lengthy, but the language consists of legal jargon not understandable to the “average Joe.”

Facebook Terms & Conditions

Facebook Terms & Conditions

For instance, try reading the very first item under “Your Acceptance,” which by the way, places a lot of responsibility on the user (“YOUR”). (Shown below.)

YouTube Terms & Conditions

YouTube Terms & Conditions (Click image to enlarge)

Although I must agree social media platforms are user-generated and should place a large responsibility on the user, the platform itself must also take responsibility as well, despite how hard policing an astronomical amount of uploads may be. In my personal opinion it’s only ethical to share the responsibility between those that are posting and those that created the platform in the first place. YouTube goes as far as placing responsibility on the viewers, which would seem difficult to enforce, as they may not have an account.

One of the items discussed in lecture was the accessibility social media terms and conditions documents. Again YouTube places the responsibility on the user, stating: “Although we may attempt to notify you when major changes are made to these Terms of Service, you should periodically review the most up-to-date version.”

Here’s an idea YouTube…step your game up. Play by the same rules as the rest of us, and put it in a video if you want people to listen. Or do you want people to list? While I agree you shouldn’t force individuals to watch an entire video on terms and conditions, as they may break their computer screen in frustration; however, you can prompt them to do so more readily. If the content is critical make users listen/watch to the whole thing, just like us non-paying Pandora users have to do when commercials play.

Regarding the terms and conditions document (not just changes, as mentioned above), did you (YouTube) ever think to put it in a video version? Wouldn’t it be most ethical (or best practice) to also utilize the power of audio/visual, as you encourage your users to do the same? Of course, in small digestible videos (like the rest of us) and maybe by category (Acceptance, Service, Accounts, General Use, etc.). Social media should be “social” or conversational (i.e. answer a question, put it in Q&A format).

Even though it’s a legal document, you can say it in plain English, or have two-versions if your stuffy lawyer tells you you still need the traditional format. Make it fun and preferrably in 3-ish minutes. Follow the same guidelines and recommendations we as users are told by the social media marketing experts, and maybe your terms of use will be read/watched and UNDERSTOOD more often.

Oh, and P.S. Your document is almost 5 years old! Get with the program! You wouldn’t not update your technology and features in 5 years, what makes it okay to keep your terms and services, and essentially your user agreement, the same.

P.S.S. I really love your product/platform YouTube, please accept my sincerest apologies for my attempt at a satirical bashing, while completing an assignment and providing some (what I hope to be) constructive criticism.

UF Ethics MMC 6936 Introduction

Hello to all! I’m looking forward to reading and responding to many of your blog posts (and reading reactions) again this semester, as well as getting to know some new “virtual faces” through this course. This is my third semester in the program (first using Canvas – eek, I think many of us are together on that one) and I truly enjoy the diversity that I have come to find among my peers. I believe this will be particularly interesting in an ethics class and can’t wait to hear all our differing opinions and share in some friendly conversations.

If you would like to learn a little bit more about me personally and/or connect on social media, hop on over to my About Me blog that was created at the start of the program. In a nutshell:

  • I’m a Gator grad (undergrad)
  • I reside in Gainesville where my husband of a year and a half is originally from
  • Our “baby girl” is a Goldendoodle named Bella
  • I’m the Marketing Coordinator (yes, it includes social media responsibilities) for an independent insurance agency in Gainesville, FL that sells home, auto, business and health insurance (McGriff-Williams Insurance)…thrilling, right?

IMG_3621

I’m all about transparency online, so please feel free to reach out or ask me questions. That being said, I’m not one of those people that posts all their opinions online because I feel as if we’re all entitled to our own…and shouldn’t be victim to others on a constant basis. Which brings me to why ethics interests me and why I believe this course will be incredibly insightful and promote open-mindedness, which I am a huge fan of. (I’m also human and guilty of being close-minded as well at times….and there’s the transparency).

As I continued to think about this blog post more I found myself often returning to religion and the various beliefs of individuals. To hopefully make a long story short, I had a friend in college that (at the time) had different religious beliefs than myself. Due to the fact that we had a mutual respect for one another and our opposing beliefs, as well as a certain level of open-mindedness, our conversations came to be some I have valued most in my lifetime and a friendship I treasure to this day.

I believe this class will ask us many question and provide various scenarios that we will have very different opinions about. I believe keeping an open mind and being willing to discuss a variety of viewpoints can facilitate growth, both professionally and personally…and that is why ethics is of interest to me, in particular this course and the discussions.