People may be getting fed up with the inability to find trusted information on mainstream social media. That’s according to the results of a new survey by Tapatalk, a leading mobile forum app startup that has raised $5.8 million in funding over two rounds.
The company conducted an anonymous survey of over 1,000 Americans to better understand how people are using platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and decentralized forums. And while a survey pointing to greater trust in forums is no great surprise from the maker of a mobile forum app, the results echo what I’ve heard and read elsewhere.
Here are the results at a glance:
- Nearly three-quarters (74%) agree or strongly agree that the integrity of social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter have diminished
- 80% of respondents stated that they would trust responses on a specialized forum more than those on Facebook
- 72% of those polled say forums are more reliable for trustworthy information
- 62% would like to take their reputation from forum to forum
Overall, the survey results demonstrated that the vast majority of people (63%) are going online daily to ask questions. Although large social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter remain very popular, 74% of respondents think the integrity of these sites is diminishing and are less likely to use them to find trusted information.
That said, users wish the forum user experience could be improved with better navigation capabilities across forums, consistent reputations and easier ways to engage with content experts.
People continue to turn to forums for information and answers they can trust. Some 72% of respondents say forums (centralized or independent) would be more reliable for trustworthy information, compared to only 18% who said Facebook would be more reliable and 9% who said Twitter would be. Additionally, 80% trust responses on specialized forums more than those on Facebook. In terms of engaging with other users, over half (53%) of respondents said they prefer to interact on independent forums rather than centralized sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Despite forum popularity, the survey also highlighted areas for improvement. For instance, 79% of respondents think people should be rewarded for providing content or expertise online and 90% would be more likely to contribute if they were compensated for their contributions. Over a third (34%) of respondents said it’s very important for them to maintain anonymity online and 85% said they would be more likely to contribute if they could remain anonymous. (Personally, I’ve never posted an anonymous forum posting in the past 20 years and still see no reason to, unless you’re under some sort of threat.)
When asked about the biggest hassle encountered when participating in a new forum, the most popular response users expressed was building a new reputation when they’ve already created one on another forum. In fact, 62% of respondents said they should be able to take their reputation from forum to forum.
“As the original form of social media, forums continue to be the most common and trusted place for those with questions to find answers – though there remains much room for improvement,” Winter Wong, CEO of Tapatalk, said in a statement accompanying the survey. “We plan to address these critical areas of trust through a seamless mobile forum experience using blockchain technology. While forums are already the preferred resource compared to other social media platforms, advancements within these spaces will help to cultivate even stronger content and engagement.”
There’s a lot to like about blockchain and its ability to provide a trusted experience online, and I expect we’ll be discussing it at length in the months and years ahead.