listen – laugh – love

A little taste of my Social Media love…

The Puzzle of Trust

on May 28, 2014

Trust is a fickle thing – sometimes you have it, sometimes you have to work really hard to get it and sometimes it just disappears with no warning. Steve Rayson believes that there is a specific formula that can be implemented and followed to create and keep trust on social media:

Trust = Authority * Helpfulness * Intimacy / Self-Promotion

While this formula has some great aspects, I certainly do not believe that it is complete. There are a couple major components that are missing – reliability, honesty and consistency. In fact, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines trust as “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.” Even the dictionary thinks that being reliable and honest are important pieces of the trust puzzle!


However, in all honesty, a scientific formula is not how I picture trust. To me, trust is a working partnership between two or more beings/entities. Whether that partnership is between friends, colleagues or companies I feel as though the components should be similar – think of it more as a puzzle than a formula. In order to foster that partnership puzzle you will always need certain components:

  • Helpfulness coupled with a good bit of friendliness
  • Offer reliable and credible information and answers in a timely manner
  • Remain honest in your dialogue and never forget the aspect of human feelings/emotions
  • Consistently be…consistent!

Linking together each of the above pieces will help to create a beautiful work of art; however, no puzzle is complete without those last few pieces that bring the picture to life. In this case, those last few pieces are individual and unique to each person creating the puzzle. From your own “tone of voice” and style of writing to the articles and information you are sharing your trust puzzle will always be uniquely you!

As mentioned in this week’s lecture, The Northern Rail train service seems to have nailed the trust thing right on the head! Their Twitter profile even clearly states that they “will try to answer as quickly as possible” and lists their office/online hours. Scrolling through their feed you can see that they are quick to respond to pretty much every inquiry, concern or compliment. While it is unrealistic to think that large companies could respond to every post, it’s nice to see that a company with more than 30 thousand followers has put together most of the pieces to the trust puzzle!

TrustHowever, as with any good puzzle, it always takes time! I’m not talking about those cute little pre-school puzzle that have ten pieces tops – no, I’m talking about those super intense puzzles with more than 1,000 pieces that sit out on your aunt’s dining room table for what seems like years! Those puzzles! Trust isn’t something that you’re going to gain overnight, it’s going to take time and you’re probably going to have put some pieces in the wrong place before you figure out exactly where they belong. However, if you stick with it, you’re bound to create a beautiful masterpiece worthy of puzzle glue and a pretty frame!

So, what do you think? Do you agree with my alternative approach to building trust? Are there elements of my approach that you include or take out of your own “formula”?

Ta-ta for now!


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