Third Level – Social Needs and Accepting Trust

October 13, 2009

Social NetworkingSocial networking online as we know today is certainly fueled by this third need.  After our physiological and safety needs are met, we long for socialization.

Maslow’s theory says we need to engage in emotion-filled relationships with family, friends, and peers to form communities we can relate to and give social context in our lives.

Belonging to social groups is then a necessity for us to feel socially accepted. So strong can be the peer pressure to belong, it can actually cause physical stress. Loneliness, for example, can lead to clinical depression, which affects not only the mind, but also the body and the life of others around.

Hence, it is no surprise that social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and most recently Twitter, have become such huge phenomenon worldwide. As logistics can get in the way of congregating offline, it makes sense our need for social interaction would leverage the advance of digital technologies to make connecting faster, more convenient.

In fact, improving the ways we connect and communicate with each other has inspired great technological innovation over the years – from telegrams, telephones and yes, the Internet itself. Now, more than ever, we can keep in touch with friends and family no matter what time or the distance.

With little or no advertising, social networking sites rapidly gained prominence (and members) by forwarding single invitations or sharing, word of mouth, really. Circle by circle, people recommended each other, forming new and larger circles.

People trust these sites to provide a safe platform to exchange their news, pics, etc. with people they “friended” in this virtual, rather than physical, space. Trust is then also a factor when choosing whom you accept in your network, from friends to brands. Just like in High School, you see who gathers with whom and those you know can also make an impression on you.

I have to admit, my first social network profile was actually created by my sister on Orkut (Goggle’s online group that caught on internationally more so than in the U.S.). And even today, my recent Facebook page is less than a “happening” place. Nevertheless, it was almost a disgrace not to be online in this space. As a marketing professional and as a human being, even more than my need for social interaction, it was peer pressure that got me to join in.

It’s about time! Most of my friends said. The truth is – engaging in this medium is now somewhat inevitable. And it won’t be going away anytime soon. It will just continue to evolve. From telephone to the Internet (and back to the iPhone now with Facebook’s app), people will always seek new ways to meet their need to connect with others. And they will trust each others’ recommendation on a place to meet, whether it’s a coffee shop or a site.

Funny enough, I still prefer to keep up with friends and family the old-fashioned way whenever I can. However, sometimes, the ever presence of a webpage or the unobtrusiveness of email can be a very convenient way to drop a note or an invitation to connect, in person. It all comes back full circle, doesn’t it?

•    Read other posts on the levels of trust as they correspond to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

‘Till next time. Tchau!


2 Responses to “Third Level – Social Needs and Accepting Trust”

  1. […] the old-fashioned way but can’t ignore the convenience of digital technologies (see post on Social Needs and Accepting Trust), Foursquare could be site worth checking […]

  2. […] Read a previous post on Social Needs and Accepting Trust […]

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