Collecting online friends like airlines miles

3 Jan

How many invitations are you getting a week to become a friend of someone on their online networking site? Invitations from social sites like Facebook and business sites like LinkedIn come to my mailbox daily. Then there’s MySpace and Going and MeetUp – the list goes on. It seems like a game or a treasure hunt, “…whoever collects the most friends win….” Remember in the early days of frequent flyer programs when you’d stand around saying, “Well I’m a 50K on United” and another salesrep would trump you by saying, “I have Platinum status on American!” Some of these people have collected online friends like they collect airline miles – I mean seriously, who really knows the 500 people they’re connected to in LinkedIn, for example?

I had these thoughts rattling around for a while but it was Seth Godin’s recent blog that got me to put it down on paper. Seth asks, “I wonder if there’s a more useful measure: who trusts you?”

I agree! Can you really know more than 150 people that well? Enough for them to trust you and vice-versa?

* eBay has seller ratings to help buyers determine if they can trust a seller.
* TrustPlus is a new site that lets you view the reputation of others while building your own reputation.
* Inquisix has member referral ratings for each of our members to help determine if members want to exchange referrals with each other.

Having lots of online friends is nice. Knowing who you can trust online is even better.


One Response to “Collecting online friends like airlines miles”

  1. Bruce Weinberg January 4, 2008 at 11:24 pm #

    A reasonable perspective, and, an important topic…Economics Nobel Laureate Ken Arrow did indicate that trust is the key to reducing friction in commerce…trust is key for successful relationships and ventures in moving forward…but, let’s be careful about disregarding a friend due to their having a less than desired reputation, as, it could be that there is no opportunity or measure of reputation or trust (online or in a given system) for this friend’s skill or area of expertise (in a particular system in which one is searching)…also, just as everything has a price, there could indeed be a roles or situations that are appropriate or sufficient for individuals with different levels of trust and reputation….

    it certainly depends on the situation and risk…for example, when building a model house for a 2nd grade school project, does one need the best, most trusted, nails made for construction? Probably not. But, when building a mansion with an estimated market price of $50 million for a target market of sales entrepreneurs who made it big (and will hopefully remember who their friends were way back when), would one be wise to use the best, most trusted, nails made for construction? Probably a good idea!! (Although, one might argue that importance in construction goes well beyond the nails — ok, ok, but, let’s assume all else is equal so I caan make this point without writing a novel.)

    Indeed, yes, trust is a very important currency…remember, you get what you pay for…this holds when it comes to “buying” the trust and reputation that is associated with a potential business partner/associate in an exchange, including the exchange of referrals.

    Now, if you believe all of this, I have a fine bridge that I’d like to sell ya…

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