How much can you trust online?

Working online as a blogger and a virtual assistant, previously as a social media manager rolled into blogger outreach and PR, I spend a lot of time online. There is no physical office that I walk into, no colleagues to chat to and no guidance from management. 

Trust is a huge thing, my clients have to trust that I am using my time effectively to get their work done in a time frame where I’m not charging them for hours that aren’t needed. 

As a blogger, I have to trust that the PR companies and SEO agencies are going to pay me after I have published my post for them. The PR companies have to trust that I will publish a post after receiving an item to review.

There are so many groups and pods on social media that you can go to for advice and a couple of Instagram pods and a Facebook group that I go to daily. Over the past year, we have become more that just liking and commenting on each others posts and have become the friends and colleagues that we don’t see. We don’t only talk about blog related topics anymore, we have become a safe place for us to discuss our home lives, to be able to vent or get support from someone that doesn’t know everything about you and doesn’t know any of your family and friends but can just listen or when asked offer objective support.

Quite recently, one of these groups was betrayed. A member within the group, screenshot a private conversation, took it out of context and messaged it to someone else. Imagine sitting in an office of 18 people, knowing one of them betrayed someone else in the group, imagine sitting at home, thinking the exact same thing. Our safe place had been tainted.

Last month, Suzanne from and another ten things wrote about being contacted over Twitter to judge a local event for charity. After agreeing and a few communication issues she got suspicious and contacted the charity in question. The charity said they weren’t running this event, it was a hoax, completely made up by this man who contacted her. I dread to think what could have happened to her if she hadn’t realised and had gone to meet him. 

In my old job we received emails of blogger and journalist requests. One a couple of months ago was a blogger organising prizes for a charity event to raise awareness of cervical cancer and the proceeds going to Cancer Research. I got in touch with her and offered her a £50 voucher for the event on the day and a discount code for her blog post about it. She was great with communication up to the point of receiving the voucher. She didn’t send me the link to the blog post, I had to keep emailing and when she did finally send it to me she hadn’t put the discount code in it and didn’t really mention much about the event but listed the companies that had sent her prizes. She did say the event went well and voucher raffled off. This same blogger then suddenly appeared in lots of groups offering brand opportunities, I had a look at her site and she seemed to be asking people to guest post and acting as blogger outreach for companies. I was intrigued and signed up for emails. One of the first emails I received was offering bloggers monthly prizes if they displayed her badge on their site, there were 3 prizes for March including the £50 voucher we had donated for the charity event! Now, I wondered if she was lying to her email contacts in an attempt to get her badge displayed everywhere and that maybe she would never announce the winner. She did announce the winner, she used a voucher that was given for a charity event for her own gain in a private giveaway. Apart from the complete moral wrong doing she has done exactly what so many small companies worry about when working with bloggers, she has broken the trust, she has disgraced the reputation of bloggers as well as virtual assistants and blogger outreach.

How much can you really trust online when you are going from someone’s written word? 

 

34 Comments

34 Comments on How much trust can you have in an online world?

  1. Stressed Mum
    April 4, 2017 at 10:58 am (1 year ago)

    As a blogger we do have to trust and also be trusted, like PR’s I think companies do not realise that us bloggers are a close network and support each other. I am also shocked by the blogger asking for donations, I am pretty certain I know who you are talking about as I am signed up to this x

    Reply
  2. Melissa (@fruity_flamingo)
    April 4, 2017 at 9:12 pm (1 year ago)

    How horrible doing that especially in the name of charity its just awful, shame some bloggers are like that to be honest.

    Reply
  3. Ana De-Jesus
    April 4, 2017 at 8:18 pm (1 year ago)

    My god this awful, especially in the name of charity. After everything you did for her, she goes and uses that voucher for her own personal gain? It is bloggers like her that give the rest of us a bad name! Really sorry that this happened hun x

    Reply
  4. Sarah Bailey
    April 4, 2017 at 10:09 pm (1 year ago)

    Unfortunately there really are some people in the blogging and PR industry that you just can’t trust. I believe that the majority truly are wonderful people that you can trust, but there is always a few that will ruin that trust and betray people or scam them. I’m sorry you had these experiences.

    Reply
  5. Sarah
    April 4, 2017 at 10:12 pm (1 year ago)

    This is awful!! All of these situations. I don’t really trust anyone anymore, apart from my kids!

    Reply
  6. Rhian Westbury
    April 5, 2017 at 8:28 am (1 year ago)

    That is horrible what happened to you with the blogger and the so called ‘event’. I think we do have to place a lot of trust in people when we’re working online x

    Reply
  7. Anosa
    April 5, 2017 at 9:59 am (1 year ago)

    I learn to trust so that others would trust me as well. But always remember to set some limit and set your mind that not everyone can really be trusted.

    Reply
  8. annalisanuttall
    April 5, 2017 at 12:51 pm (1 year ago)

    This is so nasty on what happen to you. I think we all have to put in a certain amount of trust online. But I feel you should keep some for yourself.

    Reply
  9. Stephanie Merry
    April 5, 2017 at 1:31 pm (1 year ago)

    That’s horrible that the blogger has done that. It just gives the rest of us a bad name x

    Reply
  10. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    April 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm (1 year ago)

    This is awful to hear, especially using a charity like that. I really is difficult to know who to trust online.

    Reply
  11. nicol
    April 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm (1 year ago)

    this was interesting to read. it’s horrible how things like this can happen to both prs and bloggers. ive become more cautious these days

    Reply
  12. Olivia Thristan
    April 5, 2017 at 10:49 pm (1 year ago)

    That’s super horrible that someone would do that with something that was supposed to be for charity! x

    Reply
  13. danasiafantastic
    April 5, 2017 at 11:54 pm (1 year ago)

    That’s awful. She’s making the rest of us bloggers look so bad!

    Reply
  14. WhatLauraLoves
    April 6, 2017 at 3:22 am (1 year ago)

    I find it hard to trust in a lot online as theres so many scams going around, screen shots and people pretending to be others!

    Reply
  15. candicenikeia
    April 6, 2017 at 5:27 am (1 year ago)

    Yes you have to be so comfortable! Cant give your address out freely for blogger deals – you just never know. Must be safe!

    Reply
  16. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...
    April 6, 2017 at 8:38 am (1 year ago)

    It’s horrible that we need to be so skeptical about what we read and write. I think we need top be responsible about what we put on social media or online, it’s a shame we can’t trust people #abloggingoodtime

    Reply
  17. Helen
    April 6, 2017 at 8:26 am (1 year ago)

    I really think using charities names as an excuse to con people or meet up with people is awful (and quite worrying!) As bloggers we all work with trust, whether trusting companies will pay or companies putting their trust in us. It reflects badly on us all when people break this.

    Reply
  18. lisalambert38 - Mumdadplus4.co.uk
    April 6, 2017 at 10:11 am (1 year ago)

    Disgusting behaviour by a fellow blogger I couldn’t ever do something like that it’s just wrong

    Reply
  19. fashionandstylepolice
    April 6, 2017 at 10:43 am (1 year ago)

    It is difficult to trust people online. I work in blogger outreach and I have had to deal with all sorts of bloggers, but the good part is, majority of bloggers are honest and trustworthy. Just a few bad apples.

    Reply
  20. Mummy's Monkey
    April 6, 2017 at 12:04 pm (1 year ago)

    That’s awful. It’s bad enough giving away something you’ve been given for your own gain but when it was supposed to be for charity it’s even worse. It can be so hard to trust people especially after something like this but most people are lovely and trustworthy

    Reply
  21. Grateful Grumble
    April 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm (1 year ago)

    That’s absolutely awful about the blogger and the charity event. Using the guise of charity for personal gain is the lowest of the low x

    Reply
  22. Kat
    April 7, 2017 at 7:27 am (1 year ago)

    This has made me so angry that another blogger would do this. It really tarnishes those that work well and work hard and are genuine and honest.

    Reply
  23. Ayesha Farhad
    April 7, 2017 at 8:31 am (1 year ago)

    This is so sad! But i think its a two way street! If someone is up on their way to go do the right things then there will always be someone who tries to do a mean thing!

    Reply
  24. An Imperfect Mum (@animperfectmum)
    April 7, 2017 at 3:39 pm (1 year ago)

    OMG that is just awful! I think there have to be more safeguards against things like this happening and I really hope this person has been reported as this is a crime! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

    Reply
  25. Louise
    April 7, 2017 at 4:26 pm (1 year ago)

    This has really opened my eyes as I only started blogging in November. I will be a lot more vigilant now I have thought about it thank you X

    Reply
  26. Mrs Mummy Harris
    April 8, 2017 at 7:04 pm (1 year ago)

    I cant believe she had the cheek to do something like that?! she really has dirtied our reputation, one that so many people struggle to build up for ages to just get tarnished!
    Thank youj for sharing your experience with us at #TriumphantTales

    Reply
  27. JakiJellz
    April 8, 2017 at 9:49 pm (1 year ago)

    You really do need your wits about you. I had the same message from the guy organising the charity event, he was so pushy – even said he could rearrange to a day I could make it. I’m no celebrity so guessed it was dodgy. Next thing I knew it was being discussed in the group. I was so relieved I too had a narrow escape. Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales, please do come back next week!

    Reply
  28. Leah LS
    April 9, 2017 at 11:04 am (1 year ago)

    It’s really hard to trust but I think research is key – there are bloggers I know in person that I trust and then go from their recommendations of other bloggers etc x

    Reply
  29. RachelSwirl
    April 10, 2017 at 5:02 pm (1 year ago)

    The internet has never been somewhere I’ve felt 100% safe, far from it! I too worry so much about what I put ‘out there’. I only hope I never fall for a scam, I’ve already bought into a £800 none existant laptop on ebay but thankfully was reimbursed.

    Reply
  30. Lisa Pomerantz
    April 11, 2017 at 1:45 am (1 year ago)

    Everything now in this global sphere must be thought out, thought through and questioned. This vehicle we use so naively to connect and form communities with is filled with people who have other ideas. It sad and scary and awful. And in the end, I still have to have hope in people. Have hope, bit trust is earned. Great post. Could go on and on… #marvmondays xo

    Reply
  31. Digital Motherhood
    April 11, 2017 at 9:01 pm (1 year ago)

    This is why I’m a cynical cow and don’t trust anyone! Lol #MarvMondays

    Reply
  32. Suzanne J S (@chickenruby)
    April 23, 2017 at 8:53 pm (12 months ago)

    I’ve built up quite a bit of trust with people I’ve met on SM that I’ve ended up travelling the UK and as far as Canada to meet ‘virtual friends/strangers’ so far i’ve never had a bad experience

    Reply
    • Jenni
      April 25, 2017 at 7:54 am (12 months ago)

      That’s great, there are people I am meeting up with next month that I have met online x

      Reply

Leave a Reply