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There has been some interesting debate on the credibility of twitter as perceived in the eyes of users. According to a recent study by the Association for Education in Journalism, entitled: A little bird told me, so I didn’t believe it: Twitter, credibility, and issue perceptions, twitter isn’t doing well in the trustworthy stakes when it comes to news.

In the survey they established that twitter was the one source of news that people were the least likely to trust. Even when the actual tweets came from a reliable news service! This is fascinating stuff. I mean, you can see why people could have problems believing in what twitter has to say, can’t you?

Most of the people following you, or those you follow, are people you’ve never met. Well, they should be if you’re doing twitter properly. So here you are, sharing microblogging rituals with hundreds and thousands of people who’s faces you’ve never seen and suddenly one of them tells you that Barrack Obama has been seen playing golf in his underwear.

Next thing, you’ve got a genuine twitter explosion as people suddenly start tweeting about it and suddenly it’s “real news”. Although that example is entirely made up, there are enough examples of this kind of twitter treachery to make it fairly understandable that people don’t place twitter high up on their list of trusted sites.

So what does this mean for you as a twitter user with a need for recognition and respect? It means that you have to work doubly hard to get your readers to trust you. This doesn’t mean spending every waking second with your Eee PC on your lap, fingers poised over the keyboard and brain churning in search of the ultimate witty thing to say. It means you must link and you must link and you must explain.

All the sites and research agree on the same things – try and make your profile description as informative as possible. Include as much detail as those paltry 140 words allow. Improve on it often. Let the judgemental brains of all humans in this world read your profile and make a positive snap judgement. That’s how we all work, so tap into that.

Then, if you go ahead and make sweeping statements about the state of the nation (or whatever your area of expertise happens to be) back them up with links. Don’t just spew your thoughts onto the screen, add in links from other sites to back up your views. No, this does not include your own blog. Reliable sources, informative and interesting sources, that can either disagree with you, or agree with you. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

But moving backwards a bit, what do you think? Do you trust news that has arrived steaming hot and fresh on your desk when it’s delivery mechanism was twitter? Let me know…

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