Trust and Digital Social Capital (intro)

Think about this three questions:

  1. Do you have your own facebook profile?
  2. Do you trust facebook to keep your personal information private?
  3. If you don’t use facebook, what’s your reason?

The case study here is kind of paradigmatic: we don’t trust on the facebook or we don’t have confidence with the people who are in our network?

“All human action occurs in time, drawing upon a past which cannot be undone and facing a future which cannot be known’‘ (Barbalet, 1996)

When we talk about trust we can define some varieties of commitment. If we focus on this area, as human agents (HAs), trusting may involves three types of commitment.

The first is involved when people act toward other because they believe that the actions which they carry out anyway will be favorable to they interests, needs and expectations. This is called Anticipatory Trust. Examples of this commitment is: marriage spurred by expected motherly attitudes of the spouse, voting based on expected political wisdom of the candidate etc. “It does not imply an obligation on the part of the trusted, who may not even be aware of the trust placed in her” (Hardin 1991).

The second one are also other sorts of commitments, which are specifically addressed and motivated by the expected response of the others to out placing of trust. This is called Responsive Trust. People involve the act of entrusting some valuable object to somebody else with his or her consent. Exemple: deposit saving in the bank. “Trust in this specific sense is “letting other persons (natural or artificial, such as nations, firms, etc.) take care of something the truster cares about, where such caring involves some exercise of discretionary powers” (Baier 1995).

Third type of commitment happens when we act on the belief that the other person will reciprocate with trust toward ourselves. What really occurs in this case is that we trust intentionally to evoke trust. This is particularly characteristic for the close, intimate relationships, among family members, friends, and so orth, and is intended to make the bonds even stronger. Example: a mother allowing her daughter to return late in the evening manifests trust in order to be trusted as an understanding and liberal parent. Inside this, there are another varieties attributed to the personal values. You can measure it with the example of “lending a car to a friend is a stronger commitment than lending a book” (Hardin, 1993)

(source: photo by RG)

You can know more about this topic in the book of Piotr Sztompka.

Trust is the result of two successive decisions: to engage in interaction and to abstain from monitoring the interaction partner” (Elster, 2007)

The largest literature on trust refers to trust as a belief: the trustor believes that the trustee can be trusted for a specific goal in a specific context. Internet contexts nowadays consists of building relationships, manage and develop them.

About the author

André Casado

I'm a crazy psychologist and Idea Entrepreneur on Digital Personality. Professor of Digital Communication and CEO at IAMIN.
LIS, Portugal.

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