Trust, Reputation and Digital Dualism

Trust, Reputation and Digital Dualism

Digital dualism is defined by social media theorist Nathan Jurgenson as the belief that the digital and physical worlds are separated, with the physical world being fully real and the digital world being virtual.  The digital dualists posit that the two worlds are engaged in a competition (for time, attention, participation, etc.). In their view, the physical and digital worlds are not complementary.  Nathan Jurgenson rejects digital dualism as a fallacy.  He argues that what happens in one world has direct effects in the other world.

We completely agree with Nathan Jurgenson.  From a reputation standpoint, what happens in the digital world has a direct impact on the reputation of individuals, businesses, and institutions in the physical world.  Indeed, over the past few years, we have witnessed countless situations where a bad reputation in the digital world wrecked careers, drove companies out of business and even led to appalling consequences such as the suicide of cyberbullied teenagers.

Conversely, what happens in the physical world has a great impact on trust and reputation in the digital world.  For example, customers’ experience (good or bad) with businesses and institutions in the physical world (e.g., restaurants, hotels, shopping centers, healthcare institutions, education institutions) translates into reputation in the digital world, thanks to online services such as those provided by review sites.    

Rafik Hanibeche & Adel Amri (Trustiser Founders)