The 2010 release of Edelman Public Relation’s Trust Barometer shows the cumulative impact of an information-rich and connected economy on its populace.

Read through the report and you will develop a picture of people who are skeptical and pragmatic, who recognize the value of accessing primary sources of information and who don’t blindly trust the opinion of just anyone — and that includes their friends.

The evolution makes sense. If you can get access to lots of different information and multiple points of view, you can make your own judgements. I suspect that you are at once less trusting and more convinced: What you do trust, you trust because you’ve run it through a filter of skepticism.

The Edelman report is specifically looking at trust in companies, and surveys consumers all around the world. But the conclusions have important lessons for us.

Here are two sets of charts that I found particularly interesting.

The first set looks at sources and voices that are most credible.

trust report 1.png

The second set looks at how consumers think about the factors that should be considered when making a decision by a business leader and at how frequently consumers need to hear something about a company to believe it.

trust report 2.png

My two take-aways are that experts carry weight and that in order to persuade consumers of a point of view, the consumer needs to be exposed to that point of view multiple times in multiple places.

I don’t look at these results and think “Less trusting.” I think, “More considered.” And, a more considered public is a good thing.