Post-truth was the Oxford
dictionary’s Word of the
Year in 2016.
This year, we’ve decided not to stand for that. With distrust of the media and politicians at an all-time high, and widespread acceptance that everyone, at the end of the day, is trying to sell something, the search is on for new methods of distilling grains of empirical truth from the mountains of propaganda (commercial and political), opinions and ‘alternative facts’ that we are met with every day.
Dishonesty may be nothing new in politics. But never before have we had so much information, and so many opinions, thrown at us from so many angles.
Fact-checking organizations-dedicated to dissect and analyze statements made by politicians, to assess their objective truthfulness-now exist and are becoming increasingly visible. Amongst all of the marketing and propaganda we take in, someone must be telling the truth. There must be one brand of washing powder which empirically is best suited to our needs. Amid the hundreds of new models of cars released every year, there must be that one right fit for our budget and lifestyle-and it’s not necessarily the one which marketers decide to push on us. Increasingly, technology is offering us the chance to cut through the subjective truths and facts we are presented with, and objectively understand the bottom-line impact our decisions will have. This is an important principle when taking a step towards becoming a data-driven decision maker, rather than someone who relies on gut instinct or their own potentially prejudiced beliefs.
In 2017, consumers will expect to find out mostly about anything they seek to know, often instantly-"Why can’t I know everything about this government body/institution/brand, including anything about you?"
Businesses, too, have stepped up to the challenge of meeting their customers’ growing demands for facts. At the heart of all the Big Data-driven, machine learning-enabled tech rolling out, is a need to measure and quantify absolute, objective facts and use them as a basis for action, rather than relying on the opinions and gut instincts of individuals in positions of leadership.
With so much information at our fingertips, the ability to rummage through it to find the truth that is needed in a particular situation, is something that we need more than ever-it is a skill that will become increasingly relevant as data volumes continue to explode.
In 2017, consumers will expect to find out anything they seek to know, often instantly—”Why can’t I know everything about this government body/institution/brand or you?” Brands will have to be fast, actionable and informal as they speak the consumers' language, because they will have way too much information to deal with inefficient information. The future will be truth. Or, more specifically, 'transparency'!
Your Content's Worth
Evan Williams-co-founder of Twitter and co-creator of Blogger -set everyone free, by providing tools to address the world with a communication platform called the Medium. The idea was to define a new model for media in a world struggling under the weight of fake or worthless content. Medium is a force for good where everybody can speak freely and exchange information and ideas.
Check What You Upload
Facebook has rolled out new tools that are designed to avert the spread of misinformation after the US presidential election results poked new questions on how viral hoaxes may have influenced Donald Trump’s win. This way, reporting links that are shared in the News Feed as fake news will be easier. Facebook is working with four independent fact checking organizations to evaluate the truthfulness of viral stories. Facebook users, who try to share a story that has been marked as false, will be warned that ‘independent fact-checkers have disputed its accuracy. The social media platform is working with Snopes, Politifact, ABC News and FactCheck.org, all members of the Poynter International Fact Checking Network. They have all agreed to stand by a common set of principles. Together, Facebook and the news organizations are making an effort to identify fast-spreading hoaxes and discourage users from sharing them.
Complete Product Transparency
What about building an entire brand around the TRUTH, that is transparency? A particularly powerful play, in an industry that is known for being opaque and the domain of the connoisseur, is alit.wine, which sells wine directly to consumers. Launched in the US in November 2016, the company details exactly how much each element costs in producing its $24.75 Pinot Noir, made from grapes grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Founder Mark Tarlov says he wants Alit to “shine a light on the places that the wine industry doesn’t talk about”.
Search, Filter and Comment
Here’s something that helps citizens scrutinize the work of government and public officials. Remember, the expectations around government transparency are being turned on to businesses and brands, too! Launched in Mexico in October 2016, Contratobook is an open source platform, allowing people to search, filter and comment on over 1.5 million government bids and contracts. Dating back to 2002, each entry details contract values, involved parties and start date, allowing users to detect irregular or inaccurate expenses. Contratobook was developed by a group of anonymous hackers.