The relationship economy is fueled by technology, but built on trust.
In relationships trust may refer to a relationship of reliance. Sociologists recognize a trust hierarchy based on forms of activity and interpersonal relations that impact trust. This hierarchy is made up of several factors including: contact, communications, behavior, actions and interactions.
These collective factors create interactive elements by which others, consciously and unconsciously determine the levels of trust which influence an individuals interaction with others and with entire organizations, institutions and society at large.
How Do We Measure Trust?
In psychology and sociology, a trust metric is a measure of how a member of a group is trusted by the other members. Trust metrics may be abstracted in a manner that can be implemented on computers, making them of potential value for the study and engineering of virtual communities.
The first forms of trust metrics in computer software were in applications like eBay’s feedback rating. Slashdot introduced its notion of karma, earned for activities perceived to promote group effectiveness, an approach that has been very influential in later virtual communities. Amazon’s review system enables community members to rate a book or a seller of a book.
Enter Social Networks
The social interactions between individuals and networks assume a trust metrics in the underlying social dynamics. It seems as though today people are connecting to everyone everywhere and new links are created and new acquaintances are made at all times. As new links are added to the network the path between every two individuals become shorter over time. In other words, the probability that any two randomly selected individuals know each other increases with time, thereby modifying the content of the collective memory in a evolutionary manner. Memory of an individuals trust factor is stored in the largest copy machine in the universe, the internet.
Individuals can communicate and inquire about the reputation of their connections. The network of connections grows dynamically over time and the word spreads on who to trust and who not to trust. Information about the reputation of individuals is not obtained randomly; rather, people selectively acquire information from their network by leveraging the collective memory of the social networks to which they belong. Information spreads quickly throughout the networked world and is stored eternally. New information resulting from new interactions modifies the content of the collective memory of a “network” and is therefore passed through the individual’s network connections.
A social network is an evolving dynamic collection of people and information. With new interactions, new links are created which in turn increase the likelihood of any two randomly selected people would know each other and the trust factors of each others history in the network. In other words if you violate the “trust factors” it can hang like a “do not trust” sign on your profile throughout an entire network.
The proliferation of web-based social networks has led to new innovations in social networking, particularly by allowing users to describe their relationships beyond a basic connection. On any social network trust can be leveraged for profit. If a credible member of a network offers a product or service the adoption of said offering is directly correlated to the “trust factor” said individual has built within and throughout the network.
Trust factors in relationships follow form online as in our physical world. Trust is the most important factor to individual and collective success. To violate it means a long road to recovery and in the virtual world negative impacts to the factors of trust can stay with you for a very very long time.
Whether you’re a large brand or an individual building and maintaining trust with people is the difference between success and failure in the networked world. Faith comes before trust. Forgiveness can restore trust if behavior is sustained by a new set of actions, more on this later…….
What say you?