For me, trust actually affects a lot of things I do, both on and off the internet.
If I don’t trust someone I’m talking to, or just haven’t built that trusting relationship fully yet, I will most likely tell them only vague information about myself.
If I don’t trust someone or a business on the internet, I can simply bypass them and look for something else.
So what if we are actively looking for someone to trust on the internet? A seller of textbooks or someone who has great insight into a subject that interests us or anyone for that matter. We can’t just go around believing in everything that people post. And even if we carefully look for a consistent habit or something that can be prove the blogger’s integrity, it usually involves a long process that is just as extensive as finding the person in the first place.
The article that I am linking above actually is detailing a specific site that is aimed to help build trust among businesses and individuals through the internet. It is innovative not in the fact that the individuals are posting good things about themselves, but rather that integrity about an individual is brought up by others posting in their favor. And it isn’t a site all about praise; a person can even post a critique comment about the person so as to give a fuller picture of what this individual is. This site is not meant to be judgmental about each other and it is really aimed for people to use it professionally and get themselves known for employment. It is not meant to be used “for fun.”
It’s quite exciting how one group of people are trying to address the issue of trust on the internet, and I hope that it becomes very successful. I would love to use it for my own career hunting.
But there is always a way to ruin a good thing. Couldn’t a person ask all their friends to sign up and say good things about them? Can’t people make many user accounts just to build up their own reputation? Can one really nasty comment just ruin the integrity of a person or business, especially if it/he/she is just starting out?
I would really like this new website to succeed, but a part of me still says “watch out. It is still the internet.” We still have a long way to go if we wish to be able to trust on the internet like we trust people in real life.