Sections of the book

Reputation of the source (the “weight” of the message)

The degree of informational message’s impact is in direct ratio to reputational weight of its source.
“It’s difficult to believe that news are true, if you hear them from a liar."
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From the point of view of a designer: the effectiveness of informational influence is in direct relation to the level of the information’s credibility: facts (events) and their interpretation.

From the point of view of an information user: effectiveness of information consumption depends on authenticity of a source, especially in a situation, when there are very many sources of information and interpretations.

From the point of view of an information transponder (media): credibility of the information in media is enhancing the demand for this media and its competitive ability. Hence the creation of the public system to evaluate reputational weight of information transponder (specific media and media channel in general) is one of the perspective tasks. At the same time it’s important to understand that nowadays every customer and client of informational action has its own (empirical, intuitive) system to evaluate media’s reputation weight.

Public system to evaluate reputational weight of information transponder (media) can be build according to the same method as parameters of any subject’s reputation (more detailed description can be found in the chapter “Reputation’s measurable parameters”).

At that the interaction between information transponder and information consumer is build upon the principle of reputations interaction (more detailed description can be found in the chapter “Reputations’ cooperation”).

Hence the first important point – both designer and media owner receive an opportunity to define not only a generalized level of media’s credibility, but also its structure and possibilities for interactions with one or another respondent group.

Second important point – openness and publicity of reputational ratings of a media are quiet effective tools to influence quality of the content of those media. And media industry receives a measurable confirmation of the fact that their utility can enhance their profit.

Quiet a typical situation: the same fact is presented in different media in different interpretations.

Elegant example

Advertising is telling us that product А is the most useful and effective, but a blogger we know, on the contrary, writes that this product is overpriced, substandard and bad for health. Advertising is quoting research results and the blogger is speaking out his personal opinion (and not always based on his personal experience).

Whom are we going to believe?

We will believe the source (transponder) of information that in our opinion has higher authority (reputational weight). And in many cases this source is the blogger we know. Not because he’s a famous scientist or a product A expert, but because we trust him more: he wrote that the sky is blue (true), that it was raining today (true), that his friend bought product A at a shop (also true). And we are more inclined to believe his evaluation of usefulness and effectiveness of this product. Also we know that “advertising lies” (meaning – the authority of “advertising” source is very low in our perception). At the same time it doesn’t mean that the manufacturer of a product B is not using the blogger we know to criticize product A and to promote (directly or indirectly) product B.

So what can information consumer and it’s ordering party does in this situation? How can consumer divide correct information from obvious or not obvious manipulation? And how can an ordering client enhance the effectiveness of its communication?

One of the ways to deal with this multilevel task is to create public system of source’s reputation (authority) evaluation. Prototypes of a system like this already exist on open sale spaces (internet auctions and portals for buying and selling goods) and some computer games. And even such a simplified evaluation system allows us to carry out an express-evaluation of how safe is it to deal with this source.

Any media (a mass media, an advertising media or a blogger) is as much of a business as any other production of goods and services. With one correction – media business has (as a rule) two ordering customers: information consumers and advertisers. For both parties the maximal effectiveness (quality product for a minimal price) of a media is important.

For a consumer the product is information: authentic, convenient to deliver and consume.

For an advertiser (including propagandists) the product is media audience – consumers that trust this media’s information.

Using the method of reputation change – quantitative evaluation of trust according to vectors of reputational matrix or its simplified model – gives a consumer an opportunity to influence information source’s credibility, and an advertiser can be more precise while choosing a type and a specific media carrier. Meaning it’s a dialogue system that allows to form a manageable feedback: ordering customer (of advertising) – carrier (media product) – consumer (of information). And a consumer, while speaking out his opinion at the same time motivates it to work more effectively – to give him (consumer) more authentic information.

This way we get a public tool that is built on the principle “it’s profitable to be authentic”: the higher is consumer’s trust in information, the higher the authority (reputational weight) of its transponder (media) and, as a result, the higher is the media demand from advertisers. This factor is profitable for media not only as a way of increasing its profitability, but also as a way of lowering the possibility of attempts of possible pressure from malevolent ordering customers (for example, to make it present controversial or knowingly false statements).

Of course a rating like this is beneficial also for clients, as it allows them to plan their actions in informational space more efficiently to present some information to a consumer and enhance their level of persuasion in a dialogue with them.