The 2010 Digital Influence Index survey from Fleishman-Hilliard and Harris Interactive questioned Internet users globally on how the Internet affects their behaviors and decisions. Key findings covered how consumers issue their t

rust in social media or marketing situations.

In the US, the Internet has nearly twice the influence of television and over ten times the influence of print media. But though companies are increasing online marketing budgeting, the rise is not proportional to the importance that consumers place on the Internet. While fourteen percent of the total global advertising market is budgeted towards online advertising, online time and influence suggests that companies have not yet addresses the consumer shift.

The decision-making process is more than ever one which is begun or augmented for online research, purchases and peer suggestions. Respondents often use search engines to access blogs, company Web sites, government sites or social media. Making decisions and social media come together for the next survey finding - people trust information when it comes from more than one source, especially if one of these sources is a friend.

Microblogging influence takes a unique form for respondents - 78 percent of consumers have heard of Twitter, and one-third of these have an account. For marketing purposes, many brands have found this an ideal way to interact in real-time with consumers. Though it is a new medium, 72 percent of US consumers like that microblog account-equipped companies are more available to discuss issues. As for negative responses, nineteen percent believe these branded accounts are just for show, 22 percent think they use them to spy on consumers.

Globally, microblogging companies enjoy a higher rate of trust than brands that do not use Twitter or similar services, especially in China, Japan or France. But US trust rates are much lower regarding microblogs - only 22 percent trust them more, and seven percent trust them less.