Several months ago a friend and colleague with a popular freelance writing blog sent me a letter saying how upset she was that I left a nasty anonymous comment under one of her blog posts. The next day, it happened again. To say I was confused is an understatement especially since I was away during one of those times. We did a little sleuthing and I learned someone I trusted in my home was going to blogs and forums as an anonymous me, making rude remarks.
Today this situation still weighs heavily on my mind. Such things can ruin my credibility as a blogger. If my blogging colleagues and community didn’t know me for all these years, and if I didn’t work so hard to build up trust, claiming another person trolled from my laptop would sound like a b.s. story. (Actually it probably still does, but go with me, I promise I have a point….)
I think about trust and influence quite a bit. It’s why I won’t play the expert card. It’s why I don’t believe in saying my way is the right way or the only way. A lot of people put their trust in me to give them information. Many writers in this community thank me for my advice. But is it the right advice? I only share what I know worked for me, how do I know my course is the best course to take? This is something I think about often. I worry about losing trust, such as with the situation mentioned above, but I worry more about my influence.
I mean, what if I’m wrong?
What if my way of doing things isn’t the right way? When I share tips, I’m sharing my success. My way isn’t traditional, though. What if I’m steering you wrong? Maybe my way isn’t a good way at all.
We put a lot of faith in people we don’t know. We have our idols and our gurus. We follow certain online people because they’re famous or because everyone else says to follow them. What if they’re talking out of their butts? We only know who they are by what they tell us. What if they have us all fooled?
I attend many conferences and have met some of the movers and shakers in the social media space. Most of them are genuine and sincere. A few of them are anything but. Several of them are simply talking through their egos. Do I follow them because everyone else follows them, or because I think they bring up valid points?
Trust and credibility are something to be earned. Blind faith won’t help our causes any. When you put your faith in someone, be sure they’re worthy. Some people just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I hope I’m not one of those people but only you can decide.
What makes you decide to trust a blogger or “guru?” Do you take others at their word, or do you follow one of the usual suspects because everyone else does? How do you define trust?