In a LinkedIn post, Sue Pelletier, a contract editor and writer, shared her thoughts on trust, authenticity, and social media after reading a Convene online story about 2024 trends:
Love this “Trends We’re Watching for 2024” article from Convene editors. I agree with all six [trends], but I give a big hat tip to Barbara Palmer, deputy editor, for putting trust at the top of her list.
Words like “authenticity” have been buzzy for a while now, but the weird thing is, people and organizations keep trying to figure out how to appear what they believe will seem “authentically” — whatever they think their audience values — rather than being who and what they actually are. Hence the rise of greenwashing, fake speakers to make a panel seem diverse when it’s not, etc. No wonder trust is so hard to come by — and when you add AI to the mix, where the human/AI line starts to get fuzzy, trust gets even more difficult to earn. And rightfully so, in my opinion.
And if the social media trends Michelle Russell, Convene’s editor in chief, is watching come to pass and AI starts doing our social media posting/liking/sharing/etc. for us? That’ll just be one big doom spiral for that whole industry, which I’ve been detaching from for a while now as it continues to transform from a way to connect with other trusted humans into a giant marketing machine where everything is curated and very little is raw and real anymore — where algorithms keep us mindlessly clicking and scrolling with ever-escalating, most-often manufactured, outrage.
I know this is not a very original thought, but I have to say it. Instead of connecting us, “social” media is becoming more of a divider if we actually trust most of the junk the bots feed us through social — which frankly, I do less and less all the time, except for LinkedIn. I still love it, though even LinkedIn is getting a little funky these days. I’ve always been perhaps a bit too trusting, but now even I’m getting cynical. And while I don’t like it, “trust but verify” feels more necessary now than ever.
The one upside, sort of, to all this is that with all the artifice we surround ourselves with in our daily lives, face-to-face interactions with actual human beings who act like actual human beings and not highly curated online facsimiles is even more essential now than ever. What you do to create those in-person connections has never been more important. But the mental and emotional cost of the general untrustworthiness of so much else in our lives is becoming untenable.
So, let’s make 2024 the year we demand trustworthiness of others, and more importantly, of ourselves. Let’s make this the year we stop trying to impress and sell, sell, sell ourselves, our products, our world views, whatever. Let’s make this the year we double down on getting real for real. Are you in?
Sue Pelletier is a contract editor and writer whose work has appeared in Prevue Meetings and Incentives, ConferenceDirect MeetingMentor, Manufacturing Leadership Journal, and Trade Show Executive.