Friday, March 27, 2015

The Internet as a medium of trust

It’s been five years now since I’ve had the notion that eventually technology will enable us to connect with strangers and make new friends in a way that used to happen, say, in a small village.
The technology to make this possible is already there from a computer science point of view.
And I believe it is observable that, as a society, we are moving in the direction of accepting that new reality and embracing it, slowly, step by step.
The internet has become an “enabler of trust”.
A couple of examples follow.
Yesterday I finally met Brad Feld in person. I have come to know him from his blog over the last year or so; and he turns out to have been exactly what he had projected to be in his online presence: no deception, no disparity.
Increasingly, in the masonry contracting business, more and more customers are contacting me through email or SMS, then sending me pictures of the work they want done, followed by a quotation sent electronically by me, and proceeding to hire my company without ever talking to me in person or on the phone, simply based on my online presence.
That’s a powerful shift enabled by the proliferation of technology.
People have gradually learned to trust through eBay, Amazon, PayPal, et al, and now they extend that trust more broadly and will continue to do so in ways that would have been unfathomable a few decades ago.
And it would seem that placing confidence through technology is turning out to be more reliable than the old ways, more often than not.
We are headed towards a more transparent world, open to making new connections which are generated through technology rather than through geography.
This is a major cultural transformation.
I would say it is actually epic.


  1. I still remember the first time I met a couple of my first internet friends in the real world. It was surprisingly natural. I do think there is something to be said for geography though, maybe not always in the "I see this person occasionally" sense but certainly with respect to the people we see on a regular basis...the ones nearby that are in our life or could be in our life.

  2. Geography and proximity will always be important factors, but I like how you've also observed that
    bringing a virtual connection into the physical world feels 'surprisingly natural'.

    That was my postulate five years ago when I was trying to build a social network that would help you find people who had the potential to become your close friends.

    That's what I wrote about in the first post of this blog in 2012.

    I've heard it be said that you have to work on something that will be popular in ten years.

    If that's true at all, then I still have five years before it's too late...