On Sunday, I was trying to explain to Princess Amelia (my daughter) why I was struggling about whether I should post a recommendation to Stik for a guy I knew in high school. Over the years since high school, all of our interactions had been in passing when our daughters’ swam against each other. I had not seen my former classmate socially, nor had we interacted in business. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my classmate. He just did not have any chance for him to earn my trust.
I tried to explain to my daughter that trust is something that you don’t want to just give away. Who you trust is often seen as a reflection of yourself. It should not be given away freely, but should be earned. I decided to consider the referral later.
Later in the day, I was starting to re-read Trust Agents. While reading, I kept drifting back to my conversation with the Princess, and how I managed my relationships in social media. I often accept Linkedin and Facebook requests if I know the name of the requestor, though I may not have had any interaction with them. In some cases, I am linked to people I haven’t seen in 40 years. In other cases, I am friends with someone just because I got their business card at a networking event. Years ago, I would be related to my family, my friends, and my colleagues at work, and I would be very selective. I stored those business cards in a pile.
So why it today any different? It is easy to connect with someone. At times, it a mere click or two. Just because you can does not mean you should. Trust is precious and should be guarded. The communciation channel (facebook, Linkedin) does not matter. There are people that you would not go to dinner with, yet you are “linked” to them. Be selective who you hang out with in person, electronically in social media, and online.
Trust is hard to earn, and nearly impossible to repair once it is damaged. Protect it.
Thanks for coming in today.