Tech sector most trusted industry in Ireland

30 Jan 2008

Some 65pc of Irish opinion leaders have described the Irish technology sector as the most trusted industry in Ireland. Bloggers have emerged as the “least trusted” group in the country.

The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual survey of 3,100 opinion formers in 18 countries worldwide, including 150 people in Ireland between the ages of 35 and 64 who were in the top 25pc of income nationally.

Mark Cahalane, managing director of Edelman Ireland, said the strong flow of innovation from the technology sector has a lot to do with this year’s strong performance.

“The research findings are reflective of the year of innovation we have witnessed in the technology industry,” Cahalane said. “Initiatives such as the One Laptop Per Child project, the introduction of the iPhone or the launch of Halo 3 on the Xbox 360 have all captured the Irish public’s imagination.

“Furthermore, Irish opinion formers acknowledge the number and quality of jobs that companies like Google and Microsoft have created in Ireland.

“It should be noted that the level of trust in the technology industry has dipped slightly, dropping from 70pc to 65pc. It will be interesting to watch next year’s results to see if this is evidence of a trend due to concerns over the long-term future of some jobs, if media speculation is to be believed,” Cahalane added.

Amongst the most trusted sources of information in Ireland is news coverage on radio at 59pc. Newspaper articles on individual companies had a rating of 55pc, while a company’s own communications was only trusted by 27pc, while blogs stood at 14pc.

When asked to consider who we trust the most as a spokesperson in Ireland, the most trusted sources of information include financial or industry analysts at 62pc, followed by a doctor or healthcare specialist at 57pc, an NGO representative at 57pc and academics at 53pc. Bloggers are the least trusted at 7pc.

A regular employee of a company stands at 39pc while a “person like yourself” stands at 53pc. Overall, the media fares very well in Ireland.

Cahalane observed, “What has been interesting to note in this year’s findings is the apparent low standings of bloggers and social media in general.

“One interpretation of the survey would be that bloggers have now entered the mainstream and people no longer distinguish between blogs and ordinary websites. This is also reflected by the fact that numerous high-profile bloggers are widely quoted in the media.

“However, it should be highlighted that trust in the media has bounced back and this reflects our advice to clients that new mediums such as blogs and social networks should be incorporated into an organisation’s overall communications mix as opposed to replacing traditional communications methods,” Cahalane added.

Piaras Kelly, a technology PR man with Edelman and himself a blogger, said that the public is distinguishing less and less between traditional and new media like bloggers.

“Bloggers are still relatively new, but they are quickly becoming incorporated into the mainstream. Various bloggers like Damian Mulley and Cian O’Flaherty are already in the mainstream media and very often the public are not making distinction between traditional media and blogs when they go online.

“The reason for the distrust is perhaps a generational gap issue. While some people of older generations would have expressed a clear hesitation about putting personal information online, others who have blogs and are members of social networks would view such hesitation as a completely foreign concept,” Kelly added.

By John Kennedy