The social graph is something that the digital world is struggling to understand right now. How important are the connections within your digital social circle? Who are the most important connectors in your graph? How far does influence travel online?

Well, according to a study from Invoke Solutions, it's still real world friends that hold the most sway with consumers online. And while Facebook has made a niche for itself by fostering online relationships between people who are friends or know each other offline, on Twitter there could be trust issues.

According to Invoke, the most trusted information online is posted by people's real world friends. Blog posts by said friends were more likely to be trusted “completely” than posts on Facebook. But posts on Twitter were even less trustworthy.

Invoke asked frequent social media users what sources they trusted online. 26% completely trusted blogs written by their friends. 23% trusted their friends' Facebook posts. But only about half that (12%) completely trusted messages from friends on Twitter.

Those numbers were still higher than brand messagins. Blog posts from brands scored 11% complete trust, Facebook posts from companies had 9%, and brands posting on Twitter had the complete trust of 6% of respondents. 

That's to be expected. But consumers also trust posts from their friends more than professional bloggers and community members. On Twitter, independent bloggers only inspired 5% total trust. And fellow community member comments only ranked slightly higher at 8%.

And more surprising still is the fact that people trust brand posts more than independent bloggers. Brand streams on Twitter inspired 6% of responses that registered complete trust, compared to 5% of bloggers on Twitter.

That's especially interesting in light of the fact that most people on Twitter make a habit of following people they don't know in real life. If Facebook is a venue for friends and acquantances to interact online, Twitter users activiley seek out messages from experts and bloggers. 

That seems to be the value that Twitter adds to the Facebook status messages that predated its existence. But if people don't trust those messages, it changes the power structure of Twitter's social graph.

Especially considering that so called influencers are sought after at such a premium online, this study turns that notion on its head. It's understandable that people would trust their real life friends more than strangers online, but when brands are more trustworthy than bloggers and community members, that seems to be a sign of incredibly strong marketing or trust issues on a platform.

But then again, it probably doesn't matter what I think about this. Unless you know me in real life.

Image: ToughSledding

Meghan Keane

Published 13 August, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Comments (5)


Fredrick Nijm


I agree 100% with you that Facebook is the most trustworthy of the social networks. This is why all of the group buying sites are using the connections people have with their friends to influence buying decisions. You share them with your friends on Facebook, because your friends trust you. 

It's all about trusting. You can't have meaningful relationships without trust, and you definitely can't influence buying optimally without that trust factor being there. 

I enjoy Twitter and I have built up some great relationships and some of them have become good friends of mine, but nothing close to the influence I have on Facebook and the trusting connections I have built over time in my life. Companies can now leverage those built relationships I have already built and brought to Facebook. 

almost 8 years ago



am sure twitter will dissapear any time soon , it has only one of facebook options!!

almost 8 years ago

Nuttakorn Rattanachaisit

Nuttakorn Rattanachaisit, Consultant at Possible Worldwide

Facebook has pre-screen process of selecting friends , opposite from Twitter, you can follow and see what people talking about, it is more public channel. But I see now, the Twitter message tend to be more commercials and lot of spam that people may distrust on that, those overwhelming things become widely received from audience perspective. 

almost 8 years ago


John Mack

Twitter as spam? Hardly. Most of us use it to follow news and cultural sources and some bloggers. I also like to follow a diversity of voices around the world. I could not imagine really influencing anyone through Twitter. Opinion Tweets are for me since they are now stored under my User name. But then again I hate brands and will only wear clothes with no identifying logos or names.

Twitter has officially declared itself an information source, not a social medium. Who completely trusts "information"?

Perhaps the Twitter trust factor is due to the many ultra--conservative or very progressive voices on Twitter. People like me follow people we do not agree with in any way just to see what they are saying. Easier to to take than Fox News or any TV yak show.

almost 8 years ago



yes this is right. I am also the big fan of the facebook.First and foremost, made the social graph completely exportable. I should be able to take it wherever I want, and do with it whatever I like. I should be able to take it to a competing social network, and from a competing social network into Facebook.Thanks for share this article.

almost 8 years ago

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