Michael Barthel, Patricia Moy, Eike Mark Rinke, Sheetal D. Agarwal, Muzammil M. Hussain
Webmalaise in the social media era: Interactivity and internet effects on trust

Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, London, June 17th to June 21st, 2013

Use of traditional media affects political, media, and social trust in distinct ways. The consequences of online media use for different types of trust, however, are yet unclear. The web’s increasing interactivity encourages connections between citizens and direct institutional interactions, features not present in traditional media and that have been argued to impact levels of trust in various ways. Using data from a nationally representative sample (N = 1,125) we provide a test of these hypotheses and find that use of blogs and web magazines contributes positively to trust in government. Candidate websites, however, affect trust in ambivalent ways: using them increases trust in other people generally but lessens trust in the media in particular.