So why do you read peoples twitter? Why are network status updates on facebook useful? Do you actually build trust with someone when you read their blog?
I have been thinking lately about the role of inattentive trust building and function of peripheral vision in building real world trust. There is a theory that a significant part of trust building occurs outside of the time when someone is "attentive" to you.
When you and I are talking and we are interacting that only builds a certain type of relationship or trust. The real depth of trust building comes as I observe how people act not with me but others. Do they express laughter at the same time I do while hearing a story. Can I read their disgust and frustration and relate to them.
Sure someone might be nice to me during a conversation but do they turn and treat a waitress like crap? Do they talk about others while I am around? How someone acts when you are not interacting directly plays a huge role in evolving a relationship. We are hardwired as a species to pick up these tells.
Direct online interaction robs the very important inattentive trust building components to relationships. Twitter, facebook, etc. provide a unique window into watching someone without paying direct attention to them. How many of you log on to do work late at night and "see" in AIM list and Skype list folks that are still online working. Does that over time build your relationship with that person in any way? Does a facebook update on someone going hiking at a place you have hiked before influence your interaction with that person next time you meet even thought you never discuss the hike? Yes.
What if they were taking jazz lessons? What if they twittered they picked up a new Hummer? or bagged a black bear on the first day of the season? You might never bring it up in a work context or direct interaction but you know it is there and your brain files it in the mix. It is inattentive. They we not telling you. They were not looking for a reaction. They were just letting you see if you cared .
One of the key components of network health is social ties. There maybe passive network building strategies that should be tested and deployed within a campaign context that help foster building inattentive trust. Such activities might include micro blogging activities and work, shared calendars, regular questions asked about non-campaign related activities and republishing the information back across the network.
The tools are catching up very slowly to all the complex needs we have to understand one another. We need to be aware of the opportunity they present to enable us to build more powerful network capacity even in inattentive and passive ways.