Trust is a Funny Thing. I came across this article yesterday through someone’s tweet, and in addition to misreading the headline as “Oxycontin,” there was something else that struck me. I found it odd that in a place where there’s perhaps more misinformation and half truths than anywhere else (the Web), interaction there seems to breed a more trusting individual. Or does it?
If you go a little deeper, the article is based on a study released last month by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project (one of my favorite sources) about how the social web affects people’s lives. It said that
“The typical Internet user is more than twice as likely as others to feel that people can be trusted,” with regular Facebook users the most trusting of all. “A Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43% more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as non-Internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.”
On the surface, some people will think that’s crazy. There’s so much out there on the Web NOT to trust. My first reaction was, No wonder there are so many people who are susceptible to scams, phishing schemes and assorted other con games.
But it actually makes sense.
The more people use the social web, the more they are interacting and communicating with others, albeit in a digital form. And it is human interactions (face-to-face or otherwise) that are the building blocks of relationships; they breed trust. Just think about your own life and who you trust most. How did you gain that trust? With constant interactions over time that reaffirmed your initial inking to trust a person — or not.
This whole Pew study also reaffirmed what I came across Monday while helping Violet with her summer Social Studies assignment. Chapter 10 in ushistory.org’s online textbook is entitled “E Pluribus Unum,” and it covers the period of 1763-1776, showing how the colonies grew closer – how they came to trust one another enough to make the vote for Independence a unanimous one.
It’s interesting to go back almost 250 years and read about the “tools” they used to get there: Committees of Correspondence, Continental Congresses, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, and more. Stop reading me and go spend 5 minutes reading a little bit of history. You’ll see a whole lot of similarity to how we use today’s communications tools. It’ll be worth the time. Trust me.