Building Trust

by Nam Chu Hoai about 9 years ago

Webcred is about building trust, so we've spent a great deal of time thinking about exactly how and why people trust one another in the real world. Our goal is to bring that same level of trust to online interactions.

The easiest way to build trust is to get to know someone. Some of the people you trust the most are probably the ones you’ve spent the most time with. From family to friends and co-workers to classmates, the people who spend the most time with you are often the ones you trust most. The more familiar you are with a person, the better equipped you are to decide if he or she is trustworthy.

Another way we understand trust is through the transitive property--yes, all the way back to algebra--which says that if A=B and B=C, then A=C. Now let’s apply that to trust: If person A trusts person B, and person B trusts person C, then person A trusts person C.In simpler terms, a friend of a friend is usually someone you can trust.

A third way to measure trust is through a person’s relations to institutions. For example, you may trust a graduate of Harvard Medical School more than a doctor from your local community college, especially if you went to Harvard. You also might trust a lawyer who passed the bar exam in your state more than a neighbor who has read a few law books when you need legal advice. While institutional relations aren’t a perfect measure (you can’t trust every Harvard graduate), in many cases institutions can signal trustworthiness.

These three ways of measuring trustworthiness help govern our social and business interactions. By appropriating these trust-measuring tools to the online world, we believe we can make online interactions just as safe as real world interactions.

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