Generational Shift in Internet Trust

After a Net Positive Podcast episode with Tamim Noorzad, we decided to explore how trust on the internet has shifted through generations.

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The landscape of the internet has evolved from the days of Nigerian Princes requesting assistance, chain emails, and virus links sent through ICQ and MSN. It has been almost 30 years since the internet was made available to the public and in that time, there has been a changing relationship of trust with the tool. Staying secure on the internet is still important, but our guard may not be as high as it used to be. Trust on the internet has shifted.

This change in the relationship offers a perspective as to why the current generation of users on the internet are sharing everything on social media. Skyscraper banners, previously only associated with viruses, are now they’re a mainstay of the digital marketing armada.

The current generation trusts the internet without question. 

1. People blindly trusting the internet
Ludovic Toinel on Unsplash

Internet Trust

When we surf the web we are guided by our experiences, but also by signposts that we have assigned trust to. There are signals that we interpret that give us greater trust.

Students at Stanford created the ‘Trust on the Internet’ page. This page speaks to the preconceived notions that we possess about site quality and security, from a UI perspective.

“We look for clean interfaces, the tech icon that indicates encryption, and names we recognise”
K, Busch, C, Colgrove, F, Li, N, Willett, & R Wong.  

The push for better site management platforms like Squarespace offers individuals and businesses the chance to give their site credibility, aligned to the expectations of users of the internet. When we perceive credibility our defenses fall, and in the current context, we then share. We share cookies, our information, our dating profiles, and our beliefs. The greatest hurdle then became money on the internet. Can you securely manage your money on the world wide web?

Banking & Finance on the Internet

“Internet trust positively influences the consumer’s attitude toward internet banking.”
S Grabner-Kräuter & R Faullant (2008)

When there is a userbase that has established trust toward the internet, the likelihood of them engaging with internet banking or a Fintech is higher. The friction of trust isn’t as difficult. The friction then comes down to the action they’re required to take. The current internet user may not know what “firewalls, filtering routers, callback modems, encryption biometrics, smart cards, and digital certification and authentication” do, but they’re operating on the assumption that they are there for their safety. Trust on the internet has shifted.

In a recent episode of our Net Positive Podcast, our guest was the Head of Product at Pocketbook, Tamim Noorzad. Pocketbook is a financial application that tracks spending and requires users to provide their financial information. 

Tamim spoke about the guinea pig generation for the internet, who would never give away credit card details online. The new generation has a more cavalier attitude towards the internet. Much of their life is on social media, their willingness to give away financial information isn’t as guarded. If presented with a benefit, they will happily provide their details. Trust on the internet has shifted.

If you’re interested in hearing more about building trust with your client base, especially when friction is a problem for you, listen to the whole episode here:

Understanding the process of trust and credibility for a landing page is important. Maintaining a user’s attention through the sign-up flow is critical too. Upflowy, the no-code sign-up optimiser can help. Find out more here: https://www.upflowy.com/ 

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