Trust Extends From Our Social Core

Who do you trust online?  

Mathew Ingram from GigaOm summarizes a conversation with Craig Newmark and 
what he thinks is the next big problem the web has to solve.

"And what is that? The question of who to trust online, according to Newmark. To solve it, he believes that what the web needs is a “distributed trust network” that allows us to manage our online relationships and reputations.   I just happened to have a Flip video camera with me, so I convinced him to let me capture a few minutes of him discussing this concept; I’ve embedded the clip below. 

Newmark called some form of distributed trust system “the killingest of killer apps” for the web over the next decade (he said he wasn’t sure that was the best way to describe it, but was trying out to see how it sounded). He talked about “reputation and trust ruling the web, just the way it does in real life,” and how he was looking to big players such as Google, Facebook and Amazon as the kinds of entities that would have the scale to handle such a distributed trust or reputation management network. And he said that despite some occasional missteps by both Google and Facebook when it came to privacy (Google Buzz and Facebook Beacon, respectively), he believed that both were acting in good faith and had a policy of “not being evil.”

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYHOqGwC%5D

For me, I found the following quote from Mark helpful: "“reputation and trust ruling the web, just the way it does in real life".   

Getting Google, Facebook and Amazon to cooperate on a standard that is consistent and distributed will be necessary, but not sufficient.   Having the big boys align represents a top-down agreement on a common approach, protocols and tools that will help us manage trust across our social networks.   Mark is describing the process to manage trust, but not necessarily the source of trust.  I think, to get started, the source of trust will extend from the core of our social network.

The people we trust online will start and extend from the people we trust in real life.   The people we consider to be the most important and valuable group of family, friends and/or colleagues in our life have earned our trust.   They are the trusted core of our real-life social network.

I believe that in the rush to enable users to build extended social networks with 1,000's of "friends" and "followers", we have overshot the need of users to truly leverage and unleash the power of the conversations, relationships and trust found in the core of our social network.

Those at the core of our lives – our most important family, friends and colleagues – represent the core of our trusted social network in real-life.  Solving social trust online should extend from our real-life social core.


UPDATE:  I came across a post from Daniel Tunkelang related to the same interview of Craig Newmark.  I trust Daniel's opinion on this topic and value his perspective.  Daniel asks "Can We Build a Distributed Trust Network?"

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