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The Cost of Digital Airtime and Trust that comes with it

Posted by geeknews at 2:41 AM on October 23, 2009

We live in a pretty unique time. No longer is there any barrier to entry in getting ones opinion or agenda onto the digital airwaves. While Newspapers buy ink by the barrel there is no cost to digital airtime which is why sites like YouTube that allow individuals to post content are so popular.

Because there is so much content out there, and so many people creating it, one has to be careful because often times commentary on topics are full of questionable commentary. While the online community has been pretty good at calling out individuals it is not a perfect system.

While I have personally worked very hard over the past 4 plus years to build trust amongst my audience it is a never-ending process. Recently my twice weekly show has seen truly massive growth while exciting in itself, it does bring up a question that I was asked in a recent email.

The questions simply asked how do I trust your commentary? My response was that my show was largely an informational and opinion tech show and the views I portray are uniquely mine and that I encouraged listener feedback and read or play that feedback on the podcast. When one does not agree with my commentary.

After I replied to the email I started to think about the term “Trust” as it applies to online content and realized that there really is no way to find out the general trust level of commentators and content creators on the web.

I think all of us have largely started applying filter to news from outlets such as CNN, FOX, MSNBC knowing that each network in its own right have their own agendas, and that some network commentators are more trustworthy than others.

So the question I am putting to all of you, do you place a trust filter on content you read, listen and watch on the web in the same way that you do main stream media? The second thought will there ever going to be a way to legitimately assign a trust factor to individuals putting content on the web?

In my opinion that would be an impossible task, due to the varying opinions everyone has. My views are very different from others as simple demographics and political affiliations can really skew opinions from person to person.

That being said is trust really a factor on the web for people consuming content at all?

2 Comments

  1. From Greg Falken at 7:46 am on October 23, 2009

    Todd,

    Trust is definitely a factor in the way people consume (and act upon) content they receive online. I also think that you’re right in assuming that everyone has their own agenda. So, if you try to trust based only on objectivity, it’s going to be difficult.

    David Weinberger recently wrote an article titled Transparency is the new objectivity, in which he says:

    Transparency puts within the report itself a way for us to see what assumptions and values may have shaped it, and lets us see the arguments that the report resolved one way and not another. Transparency — the embedded ability to see through the published draft — often gives us more reason to believe a report than the claim of objectivity did.

    Trust is a hot topic these days and it should be. We need to be thinking a lot about how building and keeping trust works online.

  2. From Tom at 5:36 pm on October 25, 2009

    Todd, it’s hard to believe that someone would actualy ask how they can “trust” your commentary. Commentary by the mear definition is just that commentary. It’s up to the individual listener to decide if they for the most part agree or disagree with it.

    I enjoy listening to your perspective on the stories you talk about. I don’t always agree with that perspective but I respect it.

    There are talk show hosts out there that I neither agree nor respect and I choose to simply not support or listen to them. I’m glad that I live in a country where I have this choice.

    So let your listener numbers speak for themselves Todd. You’ve done a great job with your show and building the kind of format that keeps us all coming back for more.