Without trust, it's hard to get society to work together towards a common goal.

During Adspace24's webinar We have great news, we looked at the importance of trust in society, and how some amazing (and alarming) developments are affecting this. 

Natalie Watermeyer followed up with the futurist for additional insights into the media's role in building societal trust.

It comes down to the crux of trust: Societies that can't agree on base truths can't agree on how to solve the problems that are emerging around us. The evolution in digital technology is arguably further eroding shared perceptions and thus the foundations of trust.

Digital is something that can be managed and manipulated and can start to portray the world to us in way that may not be exactly as they seem.

Tech companies are developing diminished reality spectacles that enable people to avoid seeing things they don't want to see — everything from advertising to homelessness and poverty.

At the same time, AI is increasingly tailoring content or ads depending on the particular viewer's profile, until we get to the point where not all of us are seeing the world and experiencing it in the same way.

Think about how fragmenting it would be if you and I could watch the same media broadcast, but be served a different message … further fragmenting our common consensus of how to build a trust-based society.

We're all convinced we know the truth, but we're all experiencing different messages and processing different cues.

Traditional media and the foundations of trust
Society has to be able to agree on common building blocks in order to move forward.

Traditionally, the media's role has been to get to those basic levels on things we can agree on, so we could then debate issues. Media is foundational, too, in its role in the building or sharing of language, which in turn is foundational to building consensus … [and] redefining consensus is the first step to rebuilding any sort of ability to have trust in each other, and to debate.

However, with the rise of social media platforms, everybody now sees themselves as a broadcaster — and so, there's no person, place or institute to point to and say 'this is where we can start to see what facts are' and then build from there.

Traditional media matters
Certain aspects of traditional media are critical to its role in building and maintaining trust. This includes:
  • unbiased, first-hand reportage (rather than opinion)
  • a conscientious newsroom that is meticulous about checking facts and fairness
  • the curation and presentation of content so that it is clear and easy to access, and
  • cuts through the unceasing noise of modern communications.
Media incentives or funding need to be carefully considered, as these can impact the quality of news. Maintaining trust is critical, as once lost it becomes very hard to win back — a lapse by a media house can cast doubt over the whole industry.

Tradition or formal media serves the important function of being a gatekeeper and quality controller of information we are processing. 

credible media in society is important, and so is winning people's minds over with reasonable logic and actual facts, one day and one story at a time.

For more information, visit www.fluxtrends.com.