New study: Social Networks and Connection vs. Reputation

Good data from Canadian research firm Pollara, via MediaPost, reporting that adult social media users value the views of experts (think Engadget or Lifehacker) but put more stock in what friends and family think (is this really a surprise?)
The report says: “Of more than 1,100 adults polled in December, nearly 80% said they were very or somewhat more likely to consider buying products recommended by real-world friends and family, while only 23% reported being very or somewhat likely to consider a product pushed by “well-known bloggers.”

The shift here, thought, is that social network users are going to look for family and friend comments and opinions online–in a related study, Pollara learned users considered social media channels–whether blogs, social networks, or community forums–important for sharing their thoughts on products, services, organizations, and brands, and that “57% of those 18-to-34 deemed social media tools very or somewhat important for sharing such opinions online” and 59% said SM was very or somewhat important to learn about products, services, organizations, and brands.”

In line with these findings, 44% of the users surveyed said they felt that online forums are a reliable source of information–so the wisdom of crowds found in Digg.com and Yelp.com matter, just not as much as what your cousin or office mate says.