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I think it has long been the case that people would rather trust a "real" person than a sanctioned official information source. (We've long learned to assume that someone who represents a company has an official line to tow.)

Pre-web we'd get our recommendations from someone we had some kind of personal relationship with (friend, relative, friend of friend). We trusted them more because we knew the context they lived in and their history. Now we have more networked lives we still trust "real" people, even if we've never met them, because we assume that they too have a social context/history (and we're more likely to trust those who have greater history within the site. Eg. a regular amazon reviewer). These individuals feel more authentic to us. They feel like people who don't have an agenda. (It doesn't mean we're right of course, but that doesn't really matter. The outcome in terms of who we trust is the same.)

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