Social Networks as Trust Building Tools

Vancouver | what are you doing?

This is something I’ve been meaning to write for a while, though one of Chris Brogan’s posts finally got me around to doing it.

Social networks have no feature or even general importance besides to the way they can be tools to help us build trust in one another.  There was a video that came out early last year, maybe two years ago that discussed Trusted Computing.  The video has one part which stuck with me and is relevant to this discussion:

If you gain s.o. trust, you have established an interpersonal relationship, based on communication, shared values and experiences.

Why “What Are You Doing?” Is Important

If we look at Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, we can see that each of them ties into one of those three foundations

Twitter helps us communicate with others, and it also gives us insight in to the activities others are doing.  This exposure to other people’s activities is one way that we can either share in that experience, or if we have our own experiences with that activity, say we recently visited the same cafe as someone, is an opening to even more discussion with that person about that shared experience.

Facebook and Linked in give us much more rich information about a person.  We can really find out a lot more about what our shared values with another person might be.  We can look at favourite movies, books, groups, to help build our collection of shared values.  Discovering that a new acquaintance and I have an unexpected shared contact, like an old school friend, is a strong way to quickly establish that collection of shared experiences and values.

If we are going to start looking at trust as one of the more important outcomes of building relationships through social networks, than identifying the building blocks for trust, and how each social network has different trust building opportunities built into it is an important first step.

Are these the only, or the right building blocks for trust?
What other new technologies let us develop trusted relationships?

Image by *the get up kid* via Flickr

3 thoughts on “Social Networks as Trust Building Tools

  1. interesting take on "trust building" through technology.

    My trust building 'tool' (even though it isn't) would be ongoing interaction and conversations with a person (preferably in person – if not phone or skype) to find out if they really are genuine and who they purport to be.

  2. Ya, that's exactly why I always refer to what social networks can provides as builders to the foundations of trust. Thanks to them, there are a lot more opportunities to go ahead and build on those foundations in person.

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