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DZ Podcast: Establishing Digital Trust

Are you doing anything personally to establish digital trust?

by Eric Holdeman / August 2, 2020

Here is my latest Disaster Zone Podcast on Establishing Digital Trust

This one is a commentary on the topic of how you can use social media and your actions within it to meet people, establish a relationship, share information, that then leads to having a trusted relationship.  It is only six (6) minutes long, so quick and easy to listen to.  

And, if you prefer--you can read the text below:

Disaster Zone Podcast: Establishing Digital Trust

 Interpersonal relationships are the building block for friendships, business relationships and the ability to work collaboratively together.  This people to people connection is a critical element of our social fiber.  Typically, it has involved meeting people and through your verbal interactions developing an affinity for one another.  There can be a common element that draws you together from working on a project or being a soccer mom and meeting other soccer parents.  The draw is the need for personal interaction with others.  The setting is almost meaningless, there just needs to be the person to person connection that “clicks.”

Once you make the “connection” to another person you begin to spend time with them.  This can come in the form of meetings, conferences, and shared meals or other social events.  This interaction provides the context for you to get to know one another as individuals.  Over time your knowledge of the person and their values and views of the world quite normally grows to the point that you begin to trust the person.  You might not always agree with what he or she has to say, but there is a level of trust that is established that takes the relationship to a new level.  The person may become a confidant.  Someone you call a friend and certainly someone you trust.

Social media is changing the world today.  It is impacting how we relate to people, the formation of relationships and ultimately the building of trust between individuals, organizations and institutions.  The social media revolution is happening everywhere.  How we get our news, advertising, politics, social causes and even perhaps revolutions are being facilitated by social media.

Today it is possible to meet someone via social media who you have never interacted with before in any other manner.  You strike up a conversation via a common interest, blogging, Twitter or perhaps Facebook.  These “electronic relationships” are proving to be as strong as other forms of building an interpersonal connection with other people. 

Over time, via your on-line interactions with a person the electronic relationship that you have established can, like any other relationship, lead to what I call “digital trust.”  Once you cross this line to digital trust then what you say electronically has much greater impact.  People are willing to share more than just funny YouTube videos with their friends.  If you have their trust they will share what you have to say on a subject with others—especially if it has relevancy to their lives and particularly if it is a topic being debated in the media forum of the day.

To have digital trust and become trustworthy you must be part of the dialog that is part of our modern culture.  This is a personal role that must be played.  The public affairs office or the public information specialist cannot be your mouthpiece.  It will take your personal time to write a blog, be on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever the next social media medium reveals itself to be.  By being personable, by being real, even vulnerable to the people you interact with, will increase your ability to influence people in a positive way.

Unfortunately, digital trust is like other trust.  Once established—don’t violate it.  Because once trust is lost, it is very hard to earn it back. 

While community forums, town hall meetings will continue to be a way to reach people and achieve some level of feedback on a topic, it is on-line in a social media forum that you will get more direct feedback, not only from the person that is willing to stand up and speak in public, which many people are reticent to do, but also from the shy types who in the comfort of their den will tell you if you are on track or off on a tangent. 

Having the trust of people is never more important than during an emergency or disaster.  When an evacuation order or other emergency power is enacted having the trust of the people in your community will be vital to their following the instructions that are meant to protect them from danger.  Plowing the ground now, establishing electronic relationships, sowing the seeds of digital trust will pay off today and in the long run.


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