Writer | Marketer | Creative

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People Trust the Internet: Why That's Good for You & Me

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I can't say it's foolproof, but we've all experienced it. There's just something about third party information that we seem to trust.

If we see something on the internet - particularly if there's a source or referral - we tend to validate that thing. Many would look at this and say that people are stupid. The internet is full of lies, and what does it matter if someone has 10k followers?

I know there's a lot of people who share this view, because they're the vegans of the blogging world - innately vocal. You've probably heard the woes and whines of this enough, so I'll take it a different way.

Social proof - reviews, referrals, subscribers, followers, case studies, etc. - is one of the largest factors for validating a person, brand, or thing. Example: You'll see an article link on Facebook and scroll by. After you see it shared for the third time, you deem it valid and click the link. People keep sharing it, so it must be worth something, right?

An online personality says X, but they only have a few hundred followers, so you ignore them. But when an online personality has several thousand (maybe tens of thousands) of followers, you at least pay attention to what they have to say, because obviously somebody thinks well enough of them to keep up with what they're saying. Here's what this means for you and me.

You and I might not be big players in any digital space. But with how easy it is to build an audience, we could each rather easily earn validation. This gives us an opportunity to be a positive influence and to make a difference in someone else's life.

Am I an all wise, successful giant of a man? No! But if someone wants to listen to what I have to say, it's my responsibility to offer something of value. That's the thing - the internet gives you the opportunity to add value.

Sure, everything's going to be misused in some way by somebody. But people tend to take online personalities and brands as valid sources of information and products. It's our duty to live up to that expectation. Just think of how many people for whom you can make a difference!