Perceptions of Trust: Safety, Credibility, and “Cool”

Perceptions of Trust: Safety, Credibility, and “Cool”

Ricardo Gomez (University of Washington, USA) and Elizabeth Gould (University of Washington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-771-5.ch004
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In this study, the authors found that trust is a key factor that drives people to actually make use of ICT in public access venues. Several factors contribute to building this trust: safety, relevance, reputation, and what is considered “cool.” They discuss these factors throughout this chapter with a particular emphasis on the “cool factor,” which is a relatively new concept in academic literature, especially in the realm of ICT.
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Before we define “cool,” we will briefly look at notions of trust and how it has been used in the realm of ICT. Three conditions are common to definitions of trust: trust is identified with a person’s belief rather than their behavior or action, trust refers to beliefs about the likely behavior of another person, and trust is important where context is complex, i.e. where there is no easy contractual relation or enforcement (Lazaric & Lorenz, 1998). Particular to ICT, Roberts (2000) analyzes the importance of trust for knowledge transfer when using ICT and suggests that the risks and uncertainties of exchanging knowledge using ICT are reduced by a high level of trust in ICT. Recent research on trust and ICT has centered around building social capital. Onyx and Bullen (2000) suggest five themes that make up social capital: networks, reciprocity, trust, shared norms, and social agency. Pigg and Crank (2004) add the concepts of “bounded solidarity” and “enforceable trust,” and suggest a framework to assess ICT based on five components related to social capital: networks, resources for action, reciprocity transactions, bounded solidarity, and enforceable trust. To further our understanding of trust and how it relates to use of public access venues, we analyzed safety, credibility, and reputation as factors that mirror the notions of networks, reciprocity, shared norms, and social agency presented above. Finally, we base our analysis of “cool” on the notion of bounded solidarity; we regard “cool” as an indicator of trust for users of ICT in public access venues.

We found little research in the academic literature about what constitutes “cool;” it, therefore, remains a concept that needs further research to understand it as an important dimension of trust. A recent study about social networking identifies “cool” as an important feature for successful social media applications: “Elusive yet identifiable, cool means different things to different people. … Cool has evolved to be adopted by Caucasians in the U.S. and throughout the Western world as a characteristic of youth. Being cool is important to youth, and it drives billions of dollars of consumer purchases globally every year. Product adoption and diffusion among youth often relies on the cool factor for teens to recommend the product to their friends” (Neale & Russell-Bennett, 2009). The perception of “cool” emerged in our study as a set of subjective perceptions that make public access to ICT attractive: a combination of unrestricted Internet access, friendly operators, and comfortable space for social interaction.

As discussed earlier in this volume, young people are the primary users of public access to ICT. And “cool” is often connected to youth because they are most often the sector of the population who define it and care about it. Their perception of what is “cool” also contributes to venue use. The concept of “youthscapes” and youths’ use of media, as described by Maira and Soep (2005), is useful to understanding youth use of public access venues. Since youth are the most frequent users of public access computing, knowing where youth go and how they use the facilities available to them is important: “Young people participate in social relations; use and invent technology; earn, spend, need, desire, and despise money; comprise target markets while producing their own original media; and formulate modes of citizenship out of the various ideologies they create, sustain, and disrupt…while conceiving of youth as a shifting group of people that is simultaneously a deeply ideological category” (Maira & Soep, 2005).

If youth are indeed a deeply ideological category, public access venues that seek to foster community development should promote an environment deemed “cool,” where young people will want to go to use services available to them. Research on community radio has shown that in order for young people to be engaged, people, places and things must “elicit social and emotional involvement and therefore a high level of motivation to participate” (Chavez & Soep, 2005, p. 415). This kind of emotional involvement and motivation to participate found in community radio is also important in public access computing, especially if public access venues want to attract youth toward activities that promote community development.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Ricardo Gomez
Chapter 1
Melody Clark, Ricardo Gomez
In order to understand the implications of this study, it is important to understand the context in which it was conducted. Consequently, this book... Sample PDF
Libraries, Telecenters and Cybercafés: A Comparison of Different Types of Public Access Venues
Chapter 2
Ricardo Gomez, Kemly Camacho
Who are the customers of public access venues, where do they come from, and what are their needs? In order to better understand the situation –... Sample PDF
Who Uses Public Access Venues?
Chapter 3
Elizabeth Gould, Ricardo Gomez
Building capacity for collecting content and enabling access to information by community members means training staff as well building their digital... Sample PDF
Infomediaries and Community Engagement are Key
Chapter 4
Ricardo Gomez, Elizabeth Gould
In this study, the authors found that trust is a key factor that drives people to actually make use of ICT in public access venues. Several factors... Sample PDF
Perceptions of Trust: Safety, Credibility, and “Cool”
Chapter 5
Melody Clark, Ricardo Gomez
To help frame their findings and discussion, the authors begin with a review of the existing published literature on user fees and other barriers to... Sample PDF
“Free” Service or “Good” Service: What Attracts Users To Public Access Computing Venues?
Chapter 6
Allison Terry, Ricardo Gomez
Studies show that due to systemic gender biases in the use of and access to ICTs and their applications, as well as socio-cultural norms that... Sample PDF
Gender and Public Access ICT
Chapter 7
Elizabeth Gould, Ricardo Gomez
Libraries play a central role as venues that offer public access to information. Increasingly, libraries in developing countries are offering access... Sample PDF
Challenges for Libraries in the Information Age
Chapter 8
Elizabeth Gould, Ricardo Gomez, Kemly Camacho
User information needs vary by geographic location as well as by economic and social standing, among other factors. These factors drive the format... Sample PDF
How do Public Access Venues Meet Information Needs in Underserved Communities?
Chapter 9
Ricardo Gomez
Throughout this book, we have detailed the profile of a public access venue user, discussed the role of venue staff in public access venues... Sample PDF
Success Factors for Public Access Computing: Beyond Anecdotes of Success
Chapter 10
Ricardo Gomez, Kemly Camacho, Elizabeth Gould
This chapter describes how the global Landscape Study was designed and carried out. The Landscape Study informs all the findings and results... Sample PDF
Behind the Scenes: Research Methodology and Analytical Framework
Chapter 11
Adrián Rozengardt, Susana Finquelievich
Public Access ICT in Argentina
Chapter 12
Marta Voelcker, Gabriel Novais
Public Access ICT in Brazil
Chapter 13
Adriana Sánchez, Kemly Camacho
Public Access ICT in Costa Rica
Chapter 14
Luis Fernando Barón, Mónica Valdés
Public Access ICT in Colombia
Chapter 15
Francia Alfaro, José Pablo Molina, Kemly Camacho
Public Access ICT in Dominican Republic
Chapter 16
Katia Sotomayor, Juan Fernando Bossio
Public Access ICT in Ecuador
Chapter 17
Melissa Arias, Kemly Camacho
Public Access ICT in Honduras
Chapter 18
Public Access ICT in Peru  (pages 228-248)
Juan Fernando Bossio, Katia Sotomayor, Erick Iriarte
Public Access ICT in Peru
Chapter 19
Ananya Raihan
Public Access ICT in Bangladesh
Chapter 20
Rohit Kumar Nepali, Bibhusan Bista
Public Access ICT in Nepal
Chapter 21
Maria Juanita R. Macapagal, Mina Lyn C. Peralta
Public Access ICT in Philippines
Chapter 22
Ibrahim Kushchu
Public Access ICT in Malaysia
Chapter 23
Ibrahim Kushchu
Public Access ICT in Indonesia
Chapter 24
Andrew P. Beklemishev
Public Access ICT in Kazakhstan
Chapter 25
Tracey Naughton, Lkhagvasuren Ariunaa
Public Access ICT in Kyrgyzstan
Chapter 26
Tracey Naughton, Ondine Ullman
Public Access ICT in Mongolia
Chapter 27
OPINIA Independent Sociological and Information Service
Public Access ICT in Moldova
Chapter 28
Public Access ICT in Georgia
Chapter 29
Leelangi Wanasundera
Public Access ICT in Sri Lanka
Chapter 30
Tina James, Alan Finlay, Michael Jensen, Mark Neville, Rasagee Pillay
Public Access ICT in South Africa
Chapter 31
Tina James, Milton Louw
Public Access ICT in Namibia
Chapter 32
Ndaula Sulah
Public Access ICT in Uganda
Chapter 33
Yahia Bakelli
Public Access ICT in Algeria
Chapter 34
Nayer Wanas
Public Access ICT in Egypt
Chapter 35
Ibrahim Kushchu
Public Access ICT in Turkey
About the Contributors