Social Media and the Cheapening of Trust


What a complex word and concept.

Whom do we trust and why?

Do we even realize when we cross that intangible line from uncertainty to one of trust?

Then once we cross that line is there some sort of sliding scale of trust, whether it be from a fledgling sense of trust that can easily be damaged up to a point of unyielding implicit trust that you would be willing to go to hell and back for?


How do we arrive at even the starting gate of trust?

Do we arrive there through face to face time? After all it is often stated that our impressions of any person are typically solidified within the first five minutes (or less) of meeting someone.

Does that trust develop only over time spent interacting with that person, or company, on multiple layers?

Or is it something as simple as reading a bunch of words on a blog or following someone on some social network as all those Social Media mavens would have us believe?

Have we really reached the point; as Stowe Boyd wrote in a post the other day, where one of a human being’s core values has been reduced to just another algorithm? Has it all really boiled down to a point where we base the way we interact with others and place such an intangible value on our interactions all around how some algorithm might slice and dice our words rather than our actions?


The very concept of trust is one of our core value systems. We use it daily as a way to gauge our level of interaction with others. We use it to place a value on the things we read, hear and see. Of all our social, and private, values the most important is out trust system.

Now we’re suppose to re-align our own trust systems to some new model that is meant to embrace those who have discovered some new marketing platform hiding under the guise of social conversations. We’re suppose to believe that just because someone, or some company, has discovered that we are worth following that we should automatically have some sense of implied trust for them.

And yet if we listen to all those social media know-it-alls out there we are left with the notion that trusting someone, or some company, is as simple as becoming a friend, a follower, a fan. It is as simple as retweeting their pabliumized 140 character message. It is something that has been boiled down to a mathematical equation.

Suddenly trust has a value that is more important that the one that comes from our soul, our heart. Trust is becoming a commodity that is being traded on through Likes and ReTweets.


Just as our whole concept of what friend means in this new social media marketing world has been cheapened now to is our sense of what trust is suppose to mean.

Trust isn’t something that can; or should be, reduced to some algorithm.

Trust is ours to give based on feelings that can’t be explained by some mathematical equation.

Trust is much more a core of who we are and shouldn’t be traded of for some momentary glory of some illusionary social marketing metric.


Don’t sell it so cheaply.