I was on a panel at SXSW Monday called "What People Really Do On The Web." My fellow panelists included: Holland Hofma Brown, VP Internet Panel Management, Harris Interactive; moderator Joel Greenberg, Sr Planner, GSD&M; and Michele Madansky, VP Corp & Sales Research, Yahoo!. I was surprised that our panel – the last of the day, from 5-6pm – was packed, with maybe 200 people in the audience. So thanks to all those attendees who particiapted!
Holland shared survey research she conducted around blogging – attitudes and self-reported behaviors. Michele shared highlights of Yahoo’s global research on how people use the Internet. I talked about the rise of consumer-generated media (CGM) and shared a case study about how an appliance company listened to and tapped into unaided discussion for consumer insights and to plan its marketing.
Also, I mentioned that one of the underlying drivers of CGM and word of mouth is consumers’ eroding trust in traditional, institutional sources of information. Sources like "corporations, government, advertising, new/editorial outlets and academia." For example, check out Edleman’s Trust study or Forrester’s new Social Computing study.
Neal Moore, Director of Community Relations at Indiana University School of Informatics, actually called me out on my inclusion of academia and its loss of trust. He’s right…most research, such as the Edelman study, suggest that academia is not suffering an erosion of consumer trust as do the other categories I mentioned. I stand corrected.