You could argue that with social media, the truth is now what we all agree it is. Whatever gets the most likes or whatever seems to get the most user reviews that say “I agree” suddenly becomes accepted wisdom or accepted expertise.
And there’s probably a certain amount of skepticism around the traditional experts, around the traditional gatekeepers, that is warranted, especially in traditional media. You sed to put out a press release and hope that the gatekeeper found your product or your story worthwhile. Now it’s the end consumer that decides that this product, this movie review or your views on social media or on architecture or lighting are worth sharing.
Now, there’s been some blow back. There’s a general feeling that among blogs, some of it isn’t as well researched, is not as thoughtful and there isn’t as much fact-checking going on. And I think there’s a decent amount of validity to that. There seems to be a healthy tension. Some of the truly outstanding brands — The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, take tremendous pride in the fact-checking and the credibility behind everything they write. There’s absolutely a market for that.
There also seems to be a market for just bright people who are willing to share their opinions and do it at a very low cost. So one is not going to supplant the other, but you didn’t have this before. And it’s changing the ecosystem.
So, what is credibility? To a certain extent, it’s being reshaped around what we as a general population find it to be. And we’re losing faith and taking power away from the tastemakers, if you will, or the traditional arbiters of credibility, be they a talking head on a Sunday morning show or the Business Editor at The Wall Street Journal. Consumers are saying, “I don’t necessarily need that person to take my message forward and find out if the general population finds me and/or my message credible.”