Authenticity and Trustworthiness in Blogging

As you read content around the web, how much time do you spend consciously thinking about issues of trust and authenticity related to the site’s content or its author?

Now that we see more and more companies jumping in to the world of blogging, perhaps you think a little more about it than you did before. We’ve written, in our white paper, about the need for an authentic voice when blogging. We stand by it still. But what does it really take for a business to be perceived as authentic and trustworthy? Are they the same thing? How are they different?

While this isn’t an intro to Soap, we are hoping that these questions and more will be answered by Jesper Bindslev and Jon Froda.

We would love to get some input from you guys. Do you have examples of what makes you perceive a blogger or a company as authentic? Do you trust a company because it has bloggers whom you find authentic? How do you see the relationship between trust and authenticity?

Jesper and Jon interviewed me at the Blog Business Summit in January, and we shared a great meal afterwards. My apologies again for it taking so long to find a place to eat guys; that’s the downside of hanging out with a vegetarian.

We have been following their work and hope to see more from them along these lines. If you think you can help them in their research, stop by E-mediators and help them out.


  1. I often question the authenticity of writers who write on such journal community sites like Xanga or LiveJournal. The reason why I say this is because it’s quite easy (from my clicking around) to get from one journal to another. You begin to wonder if someone is writing for show to grab someone’s attention or if what they are saying is the truth. I’m more likely not to question someone’s authenticity if their writing from their own domain. At least they can stand on their own two feet without having to “impress”.

  2. Authenticity and integrity are integral to how I both live my life, conduct my business as a life coach, and blog. I gain a lot of business through my blog and as I am dispensing coaching type advice through it, take my role as a “voice of authenticity” very seriously. As the previous poster commented, the diary communities are rife with one-up sensationalism. That is however but one corner of the blogosphere. In the blogs that myself and other human service professionals write, there is a great deal of genuineness, authenticity and integrity. Our businesses and our lives are based on these mores, and it would ill-behoove us to stray from complete genuineness in what and how we blog. That is not to say that it’s all sweetness and light – sometimes the “McRanty Pants” bare knuckled caveats come out of the closet, but are hopefully in integrity with how we are presenting ourselves and our work, and who we are as people. Genuineness begets trust. And in an industry that is heavily trust-before-purchase based, writing and speaking from the depths of one’s truth is the best way to engender – and hold onto – that trust in the minds and hearts of consumers of our services.

    Truth is not always beautiful, but it is always real and because it is real, can be trusted. The real question for me is: When real life is so gritty, out there, exposed, precious, scary and wonderful – why pretend? The Truth makes a far better story, is a far better convincer than the most cleverly twisted of tales.

    A great teacher of mine once gave me some sage advice along this line: “Why live a mere shadow of your life in all this pretense at something you are not? The reality, no matter how painful or dull it seems at the moment, is so much more fulfilling. In time you will come to see the pain and dullness as some of the most transformative awakenings you’ve ever had the joy to partake of. Live as genuinely as possible, and the pain and dullness will turn to beauty…” – Corliss deLarm Jr, Missouri Sweet Medicine Man

    I’ve learned that no matter how “dull” my life and “small” my accomplishments might seem to me, they are exciting, wondrous and inspirational to some subset of the population. It keeps me in integrity to know that and to think that if I stray into less-than-genuine trumpery, I am depriving those people who learn and benefit from what I post. Whether it’s a recipe for cookies, the story of your latest date or in my case, a new twist on energy therapies that I’ve just gotta share, the truth (unless you’re employed as a writer of fiction) is always the best bet. YMMV, but this is my dime. ;-)

  3. Jon Froda rocks and it was a highlight of the last event to meet him. I’ll send him an email on our next event. I hope he shows.

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