“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It is the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen Covey
January 21, 2015
The topic of discussion in my Social Media Ethics class this week is trust. Why do we trust certain people? Social media has definitely made trust rather interesting because we seemingly trust strangers if they display certain qualities. Our assignment this week is to focus on an individual that we trust on social media and explain why.
In my opinion, the number of followers a person has does not identify that a person is or is not to be trusted. It is of complete irrelevance.
I will be the first to admit that it is hard to picture a man who not only led the Black Parade but brought to life one of my most favorite albums of all time, as a down to earth daddy and fan chatter-upper. But, it is true. Gerard Way, former frontman of My Chemical Romance, has become one of the most interesting people to follow on the net.
The above videos show the evolution of Gerard’s appearance.
At first glance, one may be quick to dismiss Gerard as trustworthy based on looks alone because he is known to have been very theatrical in his My Chem days with all kinds of makeup and still sports bright red hair to this very day. Does someone’s outward appearance make us subconsciously decide if someone is trustworthy or not?
In class this week, I outlined that what I believe makes an individual trustworthy are the following qualities: Helpfulness x Intimacy x Reliability x Respect x Honesty x Authenticity
So, to me, an outward appearance does not convince me that someone is to be trusted or not.
Being any type of celebrity undoubtedly draws many unwanted comments and critiques. Gerard displayed a lot of control and maturity when he respectfully replied to a hater back in 2013 who tossed some profanity at him. I took a screen cap of it and put it on my Instagram because I was surprised that 1) he would respond to someone who was saying unkind things and 2) that he would respond respectfully and show the “hater” that they are both not that different from one another because he likes pistachio nuts too.
Gerard’s Instagram alone is like taking a leap into his personal life. Displayed across the squares of images are many photos of his meals–mostly pancakes, the socks that he plans to wear that evening, his toys, drawings that he makes for his comics, behind the scenes photos and old photos from his youth. Gerard is essentially giving fans an intimate look into his life. One can also argue that this screams authenticity too because there are no professional photos or bright lights to hide or cover anything–this is his real life and what he really does.
Do you guys realize how happy it makes me to see your faces when they light you all up? It's a gift. I never want to stop.
— Gerard Sleigh (@gerardway) January 18, 2015
and that's so I can be around longer for my daughter-not to fill some kind of rockstar fantasy for individuals with unrealistic expectations
— Gerard Sleigh (@gerardway) January 18, 2015
Dear Barcelona, it is impossible to sign tonight and meet you all. I am deeply sorry- we have to take off right away haul ass to Paris
— Gerard Sleigh (@gerardway) January 16, 2015
I know I just double spammed you all about the new Cintiq stuff- but I am that excited. Going digital changed my life.
— Gerard Sleigh (@gerardway) January 6, 2015
was twitter haunted for everyone like 20 mins ago
— Gerard Sleigh (@gerardway) December 10, 2014
Gerard also seems to have a transparency with his fans. Being transparent shows his willingness to be honest and authentic and not cloud the social media relationship with pollution from outside sources.
If one spends time reading through Gerard’s Twitter messages, it would be easy to conclude that he spends a lot of time replying to his fans. Many of them ask questions about his music, autograph signings, tour date details and more. His replies direct them to the correct information so he is practicing helpfulness and reliability.
It is fun to follow Gerard through social media because he is not like a Kardashian account where he’s being paid to tweet about products; he’s being real and sharing his life with fans. He is also using the social networks to remind people that he’s on tour and has new music and videos coming out–but that’s not the focus.
What does Gerard have to gain in all of this? Well, he just released his first solo album, Hesitant Alien, so by developing a relationship with people across social media, Gerard Way as a brand, could see an increase in the sale of his album, singles and merchandise. It’s a potential monetary gain.
Don’t you want to support the people that you develop (or feel like you are developing) a relationship with?
Lastly, if you are a fan of someone’s music, you may find it easier to trust in their recommendations for artists to listen to. I’m a big fan of music so whenever an artist mentions another artist for their fans to try, I hold their suggestion to a high expectation. So far, Gerard has not let me down. I’ve listened to a lot of interesting bands that I may not have been exposed to otherwise.
Tags: authenticity, class, ethics, Gerard Way, honesty, MCR, My Chem, My Chemical Romance, social media, trust
3 thoughts on “Trust is the glue of life”
Great post as usual, you always deliver. I especially love the quote to open it up. I love how you make the bold statement discounting the number of followers. Believe it or not, this number means nothing to me. Maybe that is because I do not make my livelihood counting followers, but even if I did the number would not hold much weight with me.
Your post made me think of the phrase: cool, calm and collected. I think this is the exact manner Gerald responded to his hater and it ultimately faired well for him. It is hard to respond to negative things in a respectfully way, and equally as hard to do it when everyone is watching. Celebrities have a tough task in this. Think about a difficult time you were going through, now imagine thousands of prying eyes watching every moment unfold. I don’t know about you, but I am glad my life is private. You gave great examples. Thus far I have notice a trend of celebrities handling the issue of establishing trust rather gracefully. I wonder if it would be more difficult for us to name a business/organization equally successful in establish trust in the same way, with the same Helpfulness x Intimacy x Reliability x Respect x Honesty x Authenticity formula. What do you think?
Thank you! I have followed people before that had an unbelievable amount of followers and all they did was push purchasing opportunities on us. That’s not why I want to follow someone on social media! I can look up plenty of coupons and search websites where I enjoy their product, you know?! To me, the human element is important on social media. If I cannot say something or picture one of my friends saying something to me–when I see a post–then I cannot relate and it just feels inauthentic. It is special when someone of celebrity status is able to lower the digital wall and allow fans and followers in because it builds trust and it makes you want to support them!
I understand that brands want to be on social media as another avenue where they can turn lookers into buyers and drive sales, but you make a great point–I am having a really hard time thinking about what brand is helpful, reliable, intimate, respectful, honest and authentic without posting links frequently to purchase something or self promotion! It’s REALLY hard! I would suggest that maybe Billabong may be a great brand to use as an example, but they post a lot of information and videos about their surfers which I would believe can be classified as self promotion since they are pushing their brand of riders.
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