The Measurement Standard

August 01, 2007

Can the Votes of a Panel Measure Trust, Reputation, and Other Tricky Things?

How do you measure trust? I just read about an innovative social media approach as applied to news media, (thanks to PR NewsTrust, now still in beta, is "...a social network model which uses the intellect of the masses to rate all manner of news content and news sources..." So, as I take it, news sources will be rated by many readers to result in an overall score that roughly translates to "trustworthiness."

And that brings up an interesting thought: If you can derive a useful measure of trustworthiness by having a bunch of people just vote on it, then why couldn't we measure all kinds of tricky things by having people vote on them? Could we compare the trustworthiness of companies or politicians just by combining ratings from enough people?

And if so, then why go to all the media analysis effort of compiling a Reputation Index for big companies when you could just get a bunch of people to rate the companies? Hey, maybe there's already a social media site called or something where everyone can rank companies to provide an overall reputation score.

I guess if we can use Wikipedia to provide accurate information on, say, Total Quality Management (which I happen to have looked up there just a little while ago, and I feel more or less confident that what I read was accurate), then perhaps we can use a similar consensus-of-many approach to defining (or at least getting a handle on) more nebulous concepts as well. --WTP


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