Trust Filters and Their Impact on Social Media

October 17, 2011
160 Views

Talking about trust filters helps people understand the culture shift in social media

One of the three discussion points at last month’s HCSM Global Camp was around the changes in trust filters. Since the conference, I’ve found that this message has reasonated very well with clients and colleagues to help them understand the cultural impact social media, and the internet in general, has had around the world.

 

 

Talking about trust filters helps people understand the culture shift in social media

One of the three discussion points at last month’s HCSM Global Camp was around the changes in trust filters. Since the conference, I’ve found that this message has reasonated very well with clients and colleagues to help them understand the cultural impact social media, and the internet in general, has had around the world.

 

 

Trust Filters
Trust filters evolve as confidence and experience grows.

 

In healthcare, trust filters are the evolving mental barriers that users impose when using the internet to find and share information. Predominantly used to describe patients, it applies to healthcare professionals too and describes how individuals gain confidence and experience to become more empowered on the web.

Before patients even open up a web browser however, the first trust filter is their doctor. As little as 10 years ago, bar perhaps word of mouth via friends and family, your doctor’s advice was (largely) taken for granted and only those particularly strong of will would challenge it. Patient experiences were more difficult to share, and you may have to rely on charities, local groups or patient associations if you wanted to find and discuss a therapy area in more detail.

As the internet population has grown, more individuals have gradually turned to the web for more information. So now, after seeing a doctor, and perhaps more appropriately if diagnosed with a condition, patients are more likely than ever to return home and search online for information relating to it. This brings them to the next trust filter; the search engine. Experienced users will know that content is served to visitors which is targeted to them, but those less experienced will tend to believe what they are seeing first.

This puts them on a journey where as their confidence grows, their ability to moderate and aggregate content they find improves. Wikipedia, so often comfortably in page one of search results for just about everything in the world, is trustable but in time users will know that page vandalism is a problem and caution is sometimes needed.

Beyond this, charities and patient associations are a valued and immediately trustable source. This is where patients may find themselves closer to those in a similar position, and via these entities’ Twitter and Facebook spaces, they will connect with these people. However, it’s important to note that not everyone will get this far; only the most confident and driven will eventually reach the empowered space, where, as opposed to sharing content, they will curate it, offering opinion and direction to other participants further down the line.

The reason for writing about this blog entry isn’t so much about trust filters themselves; more the positive, understanding reaction that I’ve experienced recently when talking about it. Understanding why social media is important is also understanding why individuals’ take to this approach in the first place.