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Search Engines vs Social Media: Which Source Is More Trusted?

It’s a problem we all go through… When we need info on a topic, do we search using Google or ask our friends on Facebook, Twitter, Quora, or LinkedIn? The chart below sheds some light on the subject…

Search Engines vs Social Media

New data coming out of the recently released 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, the 13th annual global survey that uses data from “informed publics” – which are college-educated individuals in upper income brackets that follow public policy issues and are active media users.

When it comes to getting general news and information, consumers put as much trust in search engines as they do in traditional media – and more in both than they do in social media.

Trust in media, the survey says, is up 5% over the last year, with search engines and traditional media topping the list.

58% overall said they trust those sources for news and information. Comparatively, only 41% of respondents said they trust social media for general news and info.

(Note: “Owned media” above refers to company websites. The “Hybrid media” definition isn’t clear from the study, but appears to describe company blogs and micro blog services like Twitter.)

But, with only 58 percent overall saying they trust search engines for news and information, that could be seen as a sign that Google and Bing (and others) have a long way to go in giving searchers reliable results — or maybe in convincing searchers that the results can be trusted.

Both Google and Bing seem to be trying to do just that by surfacing more reliable information, rather than just a list of links, in response to many queries.

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