Social Media Ethics: Who Do I Trust


January 22, 2015 by EmilyCRios

Trust can be a tricky thing especially when all contact and interaction is done online.

Steve Rayson has a formula for social media trust:

TrustWith this formula to determine trust you take Authority multiplied by Helpfulness multiplied by Intimacy and divided by Self Promotion. This formula is a great way to start in determining trust, but it does not take into account reliability, respect and consistency all of which are things that I look at when determining if I trust a person or organization on social media. For me trust is definitely more than just an equation, sometimes it’s just a gut feeling I get about a person.

A good portion of my my working life as been working in children’s programming and ministries and one of the leader’s in the area in my opinion is Ryan Frank. I first became familiar with Frank though Kidzmatter Magazine, which he is the CEO of, and have met him and heard him speak at several conferences.

When you hear Frank speak and even when you read his social media posts you can tell how passionate he is about equipping children’s ministry leaders with the tools to better their programs.

RFTwitter1 RFTwitter2


He frequently offers tips via his Twitter and Facebook profiles and he, along with his wife, recently launched a I Love Kidmin Facebook Group as a place for leaders to connect and interact with one another.ILoveKidmin

This Facebook along with varying bloggers on the Kidzmatter site illustrates the focus on community and getting different points of view and really trying to get people talking to one another.

The fact that I have heard Ryan Frank speak in person  and is someone that people I work with refer to is another motivation for me trusting him because it adds a personal element to it instead of just relying on what he is posting.


4 thoughts on “Social Media Ethics: Who Do I Trust

  1. migshields says:

    I actually am like you when it comes to trusting people on social media in the way that I already trusted them before they were on social platforms. For example, one of the people I listed as trusting is a sports radio personality. I trust him because I already was familiar with his views before I even had a Twitter. So when it came to people I should follow, I already knew I should follow him.

    Also, I trust brands like Business Insider or NPR because most of their content is auto-scheduled, and you can tell when they post something that is not planned. For example, breaking news or something along those lines. So when BI has a Facebook post without an image, I know that the content is probably legit.

    • EmilyCRios says:

      I get why brands use autoposting and I definitely use it myself, but if that is all that i see on a a brand;s social media profiles then it typically makes me trust them less because it shows that they are not taking the time to listen an engage with their followers. When it comes to following and trusting people on social media that I did not know or trust before I like to look at who they follow and who is following them to help me make a decision on whether or not I should follow them and then once I do follow them I build my trust based on what they are posting.

  2. sami8589 says:


    Being approachable and recognizing your audience are key factors to being trusted on social media. It’s great how social media has opened up possibilities to spread messages further and quickly. Having people are your brand advocates help that happen too. I too am much like you when it comes to finding people to trust online, a lot of the people I follow are because I have been exposed to their work else where, or someone referred them to me. For example, I follow food editors of Bon Appetit Magazine. I have read their work in the magazine and seen their photos, as my first form of exposure. Then when I opened their personal Instagram accounts it shows restaurants they’ve tried, food they’ve cooked, books they’re reading. It all ties back to the main reason I started following and reading Bon Appetit magazine in the first place. I was interested in a topic, wanted to learn more, and they’ve proven to be experts in their field. I like how in your example you talked about how Frank’s lectures translate seamlessly with his tweets. He gives tips and encourages conversation among his followers. A great example of someone who can be trusted online. Great post!

    • EmilyCRios says:

      People as brand advocates is a great way to spread a brand’s message and get people talking and interacting with the brand in a different way. I like being able to follow people who work for a brand on social media because it gives a different perspective. I am in love with all things entertainment related and one of the people I follow on social media is E! senior writer Marc Malkin. I love his posts becasue he shares about his life and what he is doing work wise and you get to see that he genuinely loves what he does.

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