Hypothetical situation: You trust me. I post an article somewhere. Your trust for me then translates to trust in the content I’m sharing, and so you trust that the article is credible. Then you share it, your readers trust you…rinse, and repeat.
Safe to say this happens often?
Today, credibility in content is determined by who and how many share it. As credibility becomes increasingly determined by sharability the value of the truth is driven downward.
Look at it from a basic economic perspective. As the supply of information increases, the price of information decreases. Supply is at an all time high, price is at an all time low. As the price of information decreases, the resources used to provide quality information becomes unaffordable. If consumers don’t pay for information, suppliers can’t invest any money to ensure its credibility.
Truthful information has never faced the competition it faces today. As citizen journalism grows as a primary source for information, the need for investigative journalism as a paid alternative decreases.
Bloggers do not have to write truthful content. In fact, many of the most successful (popular) blogs focus on SEO and on writing successful copy in order to drive ad revenue, product and affiliate sales. Their “success” in driving traffic then translates to credibility in the eyes of the reader. If a blogger gets a ton of traffic, they must be credible, right?
They’re writing to get more people to come to their site, with absolutely no check on honesty.
Truthful content still exists, but is often buried under google pages of the popular stuff. Even if you refused to take information at face value, and choose to dig deeper in search of the truth, chances are you won’t find it.
As you become more reliant on social networks to determine what information is worthy of reading, you play into a system that has minimal consideration for credibility.
Where honesty should reign supreme, popularity now drives authority and credibility.
How much longer until truthful information becomes completely worthless?