Trust in Social Media

If you have never read the book Speed of Trust by Stephen M R Covey, then I highly recommend it.

On its face, it takes a seemingly straightforward subject, Trust, and develops it to a point where, as Mr Covey says, “It is like putting on a new pair of glasses.”

I posted yesterday the hierarchy of demands for lawyers arising from the use of social media; time, being the elephant in the room, was clearly going to be the determining factor, but what about trust?

Just think where trust is apposite:

1. You have to trust the manufacturer of your pc, phone, iPad or such like to provide a stable and reliable platform. Do you trust the brand?

2. You have to trust the electricity supplier;

3. You have to trust the various software apps and cloud computing providers that they do not, in fit of pique, turn off of or cancel your licence;

4. In an employee/employer relationship there is a huge element of trust that one is not going to betray the other: the employee won’t drop a clanger in saying something libelous or reveal a trade secret; and the employer is not going to pull the plug after the employee has invested serious amounts of his or her time building up a valuable profile;

5. There is a huge element of trust between your friends, colleagues, business contacts and friendlies that you are going to enter into the spirit of social media without abusing the ability to interact with people – in short spammers are not welcome;

6. With there being so much freely available information there is going to be a problem with work not being accredited; again there is a high level of trust required even where there is creative commons licence in place; and

7. Finally, whilst people should feel free to speak their mind, there is an unwritten rule that the mum test will be adopted and obscene or pornographic images will not be displayed.

Trust then is critical to meaningful engagement – absent trust social media will no more form the basis of people to people connection and communication than a face to face to meeting where trust is lacking.

What other aspects of trust do you think are important for social media to continue to develop?

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