E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Friendships in the Connected Age: High Quantity AND Higher Quality – It’s All about Trust!

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I am sure that by now a whole bunch of people out there in the blogosphere have been commenting around one fine weblog post put together by Steve Rubel under the title The Web Changes How We Define Friendship. I am not going to link to each and everyone of those different entries. Not to worry. However, I am certainly going to link to a few of the folks that I have been reading for a long while now, as they are all adding some really good insights that I think you would find interesting and worth while a read. So here they are: Stowe Boyd, Anne Truitt Zelenka, Matt Hodgson and Stephen Collins.

I know that after you have gone through all of that reading you may be wondering what my take is, right? Well, what can I say? Something that I have been saying all along and which I am hoping that social computing will give it much more importance that what it has been given thus far. For instance, in none of the links I shared above have I seen it mentioned. Not even in Steve’s original blog post. It is all about trust!

Yes, that is right. No matter whether we are talking about real life or virtual relationships, or friendships, the main key thing that will make them all work is nothing else but trust, and, as we all know, trust is not something that you build up overnight. It takes time, effort, commitment, lots of energy and dedication, and just a split second to destroy it all, specially in a virtually distributed world, where we are lacking that physical contact that allows us to build and enhance our trust skills on something so important as our body language.

So, to me, it is not much about the quantity nor the quality of those different relationships or friendships, but more how much trust you have been able to build up into those over a period of time. Trust is the glue that makes friendships work and, as a result of that, trust is the glue that makes a social network successful. Or not. And the key thing from this, in my opinion, is that it is down to the individual, that knowledge worker, to figure out how they would want to work out their way in their social networks, and help build those trust levels to the point where you can treasure those virtual connections just as much as they ones you have in real life.

If anyone out there is expecting that trust will work its magic on its own, you may want to think about it twice. It won’t. Trust is all about what you would want to do with those relationships in the long term, whether you would want to keep them healthy, nurture them, or work hard on them to make them meaningful to you. Or not. Only then would you be able to call some of those relationships, if not most of them, friendships. Just like in real life.

(Oh, and if you would want some more additional reading on how influential trust is for the successful virtual interactions you are exposed to on a daily basis, check out the superb weblog post that Anne put together just recently: Trust: The Secret Sauce for Virtual Teams. I just couldn’t have used better words for describe it and, like I said, bit surprised she didn’t make the connection between both blog posts. They would have been a perfect match!)

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  1. Well, isn’t that frustrating? I’m going thru my own blog,curating dead links, and I’ve found that some of the content I considered worth writing about is gone and seemingly unretrievable. In particular, the links to Stowe Boyd and Anne Truitt Zelenka’s postings are dead, and I con’t locate the original content via search. Grrr.

    Of course, some of the content on MY web site also vanished when I changed from my own server to Google, so I can’t get too self-righteous about this.

    It’s ironic that the posts I’m trying to track down related to trust in the digital age – and I can’t trust the links!

    1. Hi Jerry! Thanks a bunch for the kind feedback comments and for dropping by! Greatly appreciated! Yes, I know how frustrating that can be, specially, when people disappear from this side of the face of the earth, like with Anne, nowhere to be seen, after she published her book on Connect! over 3 years ago or when people decided to move content from one place to another till they find their perfect spot, which is what has happened lately with Stowe Boyd. You can find his blog over here, as well as his Twitter ID as @stoweboyd

      So if you can’t track the right links from him, do reach out to him through Twitter and you would be all right!

      I, too, wish there would be better ways for us to identify those dead links and automatically change them with the new, accurate ones. Wish there would be a different way of doing this, but alas, it looks like it is a rather manual process at the moment … Oh well … Thanks again for reaching out and hope you re-find those links! πŸ™‚

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