September 16, 2009

… to the “Trusty” Subject blog. This is a graduate class project and a timely topic certainly worth blogging about. As a student and professional in communications, it seemed very fitting to explore the issues of trust in this ever evolving and exciting digital world.
Starting at the basics – what is trust? Dictionary.com defines as

1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
2. confident expectation of something; hope.

And I’m sure we all have our own definitions and images of trust to build on the above. I think of my family. People I trust that I’ve come to love. Maybe my bank. Even my dry-cleaners. But when it came down to finding synonyms of trust, there weren’t many other words that quite measure up to its meaning. This just comes to show how unique and precious this concept can be.  So no wonder that in an world so boundless, trust has become a currency, and hard to get.

The reality is that finding trust or being perceived as trustworthy online is not much different than doing so in the offline world. It’s just on “steroids.” Think of how you build trust in personal relationships – there are the 1st date impressions, then you move to 2nd date tests, and 3rd date confirmations (or not!)…  and “can I really trust this guy?” is constantly in the back of your head. Online, however, first experiences are actually what make or break a new relationship (with a person or a company) – whether you are going to come back to the site, “add as a friend”, purchase or forward anything. We seem to be much less patient and much more ruthless at our fingertips. So first impressions, on a page, really do count.

From dating metaphors to real world examples of brands trying to connect and build trust with customers at every pixel, I vow to, in the next few months, explore the issues of trust online and offer some different perspectives to incite discussion, and hopefully, understanding. Less of the technical – the “what”s and “dot”s – and more of the emotional – the “why”s and “how come”s. We’re humans, after all. And I admit upfront, it may get more cheesy than geeky. But hopefully it will be refreshing.

Now, don’t feel that you have to take my word for it. Trust me, you don’t. But just in case you’re curious (and reading this far), feel free to check back soon.

‘Till next time. Tchau!