Was just looking at this Mintel report on Word of Mouth (WoM). Mintel's interpretation is that traditional WoM (using actual lips and voice) beats online WoM by a large margin.
But when I read it, I immediately wondered: For people under 30 (and some older folks), to what extent is there an actual difference between the two as it relates to the question being asked? Does "friend" mean the same as it did to Boomers and many GenXers? Or is everyone in one's network these days (including Tom) considered a "friend"?
And even if the definition is the same (which I doubt, the way many folks collect online friends), if you heard a product recommendation (or even a mention) online from somebody you trusted as much as a friend, would you consider that person "friend" or "blogger"?