In Anonymous We Trust

by Dan Ward

I must admit I’ve arrived late to the world of social media. MySpace and Facebook are like a foreign language that I know I must learn, but can’t quite decipher.

The growth of social media has opened a number of opportunities for marketers, but it has also given rise to a troubling phenomenon … consumers are now putting their trust, and basing their buying decisions, on anonymous postings from people they’ve never met.

Booking a vacation to an exotic resort? Don’t worry about travel guides or travel agents. Read what Joe Blow from Akron has to say about his recent trip in an Internet posting. His advice is certainly more valuable than those purported “experts” whose careers are based on providing accurate, helpful information.

As someone born and educated in pre-Internet, it’s hard to fathom why so many would put their faith in anonymous Web postings rather than advice of friends, family and experts.

The lesson for people like me, and indeed for any businessperson, is that engaging in the online conversation is no longer an option. If consumers are placing their faith in the Web, we need to be there … and we need to learn to speak the language.

7 Responses to In Anonymous We Trust

  1. […] forums where people can post anonymously with a grain of salt, as was articulated by Dan Ward in an earlier post on this blog, it appears that people are giving some credibility and power to comments made by […]

  2. […] find that scary, but I don’t disagree. My partner Dan Ward has written about the intriguing power of anonymity before, but Qualman’s point has to figure into your […]

  3. […] news business, but in our lives. I often refer back to my partner Dan Ward’s classic post back “In Anonymous We Trust,” but this takes our willingness to trust blind sources to a new […]

  4. […] me of a post I once wrote about online anonymity, and of how my partner, Roger Pynn, defined online message […]

  5. […] me of a post I once wrote about online anonymity, and of how my partner, Roger Pynn, defined online message […]

  6. […] yesterday I’d gone back to look at my Partner Dan Ward’s July 2008 post here on Taking Aim titled “In Anonymous We Trust,” in my mind a classic prediction about where our world is headed in terms of where consumers look […]

  7. […] My business partner and agency CEO Roger Pynn recently gave kudos to the Orlando Sentinel’s Mark Russell for how the paper is continuing to evolve their online commenting system.  Like many sites, the Sentinel requires users to register before commenting, which presumably helps prevent those who use anonymity as a shield to fill the pages with often toxic comments. […]

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