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Tapping our trust networks

Nick Bilton, in his recent book, I Live in the Future and Here’s How It Works, takes a look at the changes in technology – especially the Internet, cells phones and social media – and examines how these changes impact us, and what it all means.  One of the most interesting areas he covers is the concept of “trust networks.”

trust network

What is a trust network?

When we want to know the answer to a question, we Google it, but how reliable are the websites we go to? It turns out that we are using our social networks to help filter and sort what is truthful from what is not. We trust our friend from Portland to recommend a local restaurant, or our rock climbing cousin to recommend a hiking trail.

Some people complain about the sheer volume of information out there on the Internet. It’s like trying to drink from a firehose… you can’t take it all in. Bilton postulates that, rather than adding to the deluge with Tweets and pokes, mobile and online interactions with our social network act as filters for the massive stream of daily content.

We pay attention to things that are recommended by our network.

Bilton recalls a teenaged girl who asked to borrow his laptop to check the news. When Bilton asked her what news site she preferred, she responded, “Facebook.”  Facebook is her personally filtered sole news source…all the things that are relevant to her.

This leads into the idea of the “me economics.” When you buy a map of a city in a store, you are not on the map. The map merely shows what exists around you. But get out your cell phone, and there you are at the center of your map… and that same phone can serve up information relevant to you at your location. It can show you nearby places to eat, or local museums and stores.

As these apps get smarter, they will be more and more personally catered to you.  Facebook has already partnered with Bing and Google has Google Plus to offer your trust networks as part of online search.

Video, of course, will play an increasing role in social media and marketing, because people don’t want to read all that tiny text on cell phones. Businesses of all sizes will serve up videos for mobile devices where viewers can see, for example, the restaurant ambience, look at the food and listen to happy customers. Online video advertising is set to explode with a staggering 5.7 billion annual projected spending by 2014. These video ads will become more and more targeted to users’ interests as marketers get smarter about figuring out what we want in the moment.

You can check out the book at http://www.nickbilton.com/

Or on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Live-Future-Heres-How-Works/dp/0307591115/ref=sr_1_4

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