Working with people online (that you may never really meet) is all about trust. The way trust is formed, either you believe the information you get is correct, because you choose to, or someone whose opinion you value says it’s good. The interwebs are to a large degree a trust nexus.
While everyone goofs on online, posting, yelling, ranting and do all manner of narcissistic behaviours (Tweet, blog posts etc.,). It all comes down to trust.
If I tell you to click this link – and its absolutely brilliant – you will, only if you think I’m worth trusting.
If I sell you a line and don’t give you evidence …
“Kids spend almost the same amount of time playing games by the time they leave school as they do in school”
then you have to make a judgment call as to whether or not you value my opinion and resourceful regurgitation of that fact. Perhaps the one outstanding ‘fact’ of this decade is ‘digital natives’ – I simply don’t trust people who talk about that – nor people who jump on the next Wired bandwagon ahead of local journos, who are usually unable to install Digg themselves.
Data, is unreliable, the interwebs are unreliable – hell, we’re all unrealiable. We have to figure out who we trust in the metaverse, just as we did when we made friends in childhood. You can’t base trust on research either.
I love two phrases about research, both of which come from academics. “the great thing about standards — there are so many to choose from” and “if you draw enough circles, you can prove anything”.
“In tests, 8 out of 10 owners, said their cats preferred it”. But wait, back up — everyday, teachers repeat facts, give answers that match the text book and judge students not on their ability to to research or critically analyse or synthesise, but to memorise. Was there a war? Did the soldier really feel like that? How do I know? The student has no other option but to trust their teacher that what they are told is a) meaningful b) correct and c) important enough that they should remember it.
So if I have and iPhone and I Google that – and I disagree – it doesn’t mean some expert is going to change the text or the exam? No, owe learn to accept facts as being, well, unreliable. We rely on trust-networks to validate. And we do it instantly.
Right now, the internet tells me so much; that the people who’s opinions I trust are those directions I follow.
I don’t give a rats basket about how many followers you have, or what title you give yourself on TV, or when you bought your first friggin’ modem. Just for the record my first modem was just a pcb-hacked into a BBC micro. True? Who cares. You can be an ‘expert’ an ‘authority’ or whatever else you want to be. The real trick seems to be to get some journo to add you to their filofax and get you to support some facile point about xyz technology that ‘stumbled upon’.
If however you have a group of people who trust you enough to believe you, follow you and interact honestly with you. It’s an epic win over whatever was before. I read academic papers – as I believe that they are well researched and constructed on the whole. I don’t care about media-faces who are not visibly active in actually helping people in the network – which I see as digital-hubris. I learn more from one Tweet from a teacher in Sheffield a year than I’m going to learn by reading the endless drivel of TED wannabes.
Everyday – thousands of people build more meaningful trust and connections with people who actually do something – for them. Regugitating crap you read on Boing Boing or scraped off Twitter on the basis you once knew a woman who slept with Axle Rose – seriously. You’re having a laugh. I can appreciate the whole obsession with fame thing I guess – after all, this is the last bastion on media-sales – but … and heres fair and present warning – if you are NOT adding supporting and doing something for ordinary teachers – and just show up to collect your speakers fee. The back channel is going to own you.
It comes down to trust and monitising your ‘brand’. Its very hard to balance the two. Now please go and buy a 3D Television from Sony as I’ve owned several TVs in the past — which makes me an expert.
How do you determine trust on the interwebs?