In the era of alternative facts, fake news and click bait, it is more important than ever that we all focus on the credibility of each and every new piece of information we encounter before we absorb it as fact. Tonight I read a question from @shareski who asked:
When you read a blog or listen to a speaker, what makes someone credible in your opinion? How does someone gain credibility quickly?
— Dean Shareski (@shareski) March 6, 2017
This made me think about a previous post I have written “The importance of being a critical consumer of information” Where I outline the dangers of accepting statements as fact without considering the source and merits of the information. Back to @shareski’s question.
For me credibility at it’s root comes from a few sources.
- Authority- Positional and institutional authority: where do they work how do they know what they know ie. Street Cred.
- Education- do they have any empirical or testable position to ground their statements on?
- Experience- is what they believe based on enough observation/experience or is their assertion shallow and or one sided.
- Balance- are they skewed in their thinking, do they evaluate things or seem to arbitrarily put ideas in boxes and appear rigid in their thinking about the world.
- Rational/Reasonable- Is what they are saying grounded in the reality, at least my perception of it, or are they describing a view or position based on something outside of my perception of how the world works.
- Agreement- Do others tend to agree with this person. This is tricky because people can be wrong together en masse. Remember the world was once flat and the Sun revolved around the Earth.
- Is what they offer helpful and can it make my job/life easier as a result of listening to them? Having a correct opinion about things I don’t care about does not in my opinion make you credible.
- Not being a Naval Gazer- Yes we all have one, you don’t get a prize for getting on stage and marveling at the special one that you have, it is equally as special as everyone elses.
- Be Fresh- Don’t steal jokes or ideas without at least remixing them to suit your needs, I have seen some speakers tell stories as first hand accounts essentially ripping off one another, it’s tacky.
So that is my not so complete but larger than 140 character answer to a small twitter question that made me think. As to the last part of the question how do you get there quickly, I’d say that credibility is like many things, it gets better with age. Write things down, blog, tweet, grow a PLN and share your ideas with people to hone your thoughts and build your Tweet Cred Street Cred.