Social Media and Trust : A systematic literature review
, Hope Witmer
The role of social trust has long been acknowledged among economists and political scientists. It is often argued that high levels of trust among people help promote democratization, economic activity, investments and growth, responsive and well-performing institutions, low levels of violence and personal health and happiness (Knack & Keefer, 1997; Putnam, 2000; Zak & Knack 2001). Trust is needed in all different kind of relations because it lowers transaction costs and risk. According to Robert Putnam (1993, 2000) trust derives from reciprocity, which can be learned only in cooperation with others. However, Putnam denies that there should be a positive relationship between trust and digitalized social media. On the contrary Putnam is very skeptical that the internet and social media would be capable of creating social trust. This paper does a structured literature review on the research on this subject. We want to find out what knowledge there is on if trust can be created by contacts on social media? We found eight articles emphasizing that there is a positive relationship between social media and trust, and that trust can be created by connections on social media. We also found two articles claiming that there is no relationship between trust and social media. According to these studies people using social media do not become more or less trusting than others. In spite of Putnam’s skepticism we did not find any studies claiming there is a negative relation between social media and trust.