Everyone’s been talking about the “real-time web” for quite some time, but it’s easy to focus on speed while forgetting real-time is dependent on trust.
When things move faster, trust matters more. If you’re in the heat of battle, you don’t have time to question your commander the way you might second guess your boss during peace time — you just need to trust him. Before the web went real-time, you had time to research and analyse. Is this eBay seller reliable? Spend 10 minutes reading the 100s of ratings he’s received to find out. Is this breaking news tweet about an impending disaster in your area reliable? You’d better already trust the source.
In their quest to increase users, existing social networks haven’t done a great job building trust networks. How many of your Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts would you trust on an important matter? How many of them have you even talked to more than once in the last year?
There are some interesting trust networks being built by startups now. Foursquare considers its social graph one of its biggest advantages over its larger competitors — do you want to expose where you are to all your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, or just to a select group? Venmo lets you trust friends to withdraw money from your account. Teens have discovered an elegant workaround by only giving their Facebook pseudonyms to those they trust. We’ve been working on figuring out who’s credible with several of the Sawhorse Media network sites, and we’ve got some big plans to do more. So far, all of us real-time companies have only scratched the surface of delivering real trust.
Gregory Galant is founder and CEO of Sawhorse Media, which makes cool sites like MuckRack and organizes the Shorty Awards. He also created and hosts Venture Voice, a podcast for and about entrepreneurs. This post was originally published on his blog, and is reprinted with permission.