We all heard about it, while many others were taken advantage of, as a phishing scam hit Twitter last weekend. The scam spread DMs that told people to click on a link that went to what looked like the Twitter login page, which is where many gave away their sensitive account information. It quickly spread and everyone was encouraged to change their password. What had me thinking though was the thought about trust and our seemingly lack of understanding and adhering to that word. I was quickly reminded about an interview I did at the MP Digital Mixer with Chris Brogan, in regards to his upcoming book, Trust Agents. Though the clip was probably full of bloopers on my part, I remembered being asked what I thought a ‘trust agent’ was. The answers Chris got during his interviews were great but what I’ve realized is that we all have a vital role in creating trust and this little fiasco that happened over the weekend shows that many of us have forgotten that.
The role has more to do than just who you trust personally but is more so associated with one action, such as this past weekend’s, and its related/adverse effects. These relations encompass the services you use on a daily basis, the perception companies have on social media, and the communities you interact with.
I think we’ve all seen our fair share of 3rd party apps that want us to sign-in with our account passwords. Sure, it’s the cool shiny toy in town that we, as early adopters, ‘need’ to try out, but do we really trust every developer that comes out with the next Twitter rating app? This phishing scam (which I’m sure won’t be the last) has definitely exposed the reality of what can happen if we become this nonchalant with our Twitter accounts. The same accounts we go crazy over if we can’t log-in for a day – imagine losing it completely?
As the buzz of Social Media wears off, strategists realize that companies are looking for case studies and hard evidence of SM’s impact on business. I think 2009 will be the year that will weed out the doers and the talkers – but not without some bumps in the road, such as the Motrin Moms and Kmart/Izea brouhahas. This recent happening is no different and will only put more doubts in these companies’ minds. We try to keep the ‘sanctity’ of Social Media in place but throwing trust into the wind where businesses are looking to use these strategies isn’t helping things either.
The people you spend your hard-earned time and effort with, the ones that you’ve learned from & vice versa and the ones who believe in you and what you bring to the table. As the malicious DMs were sent from community to community, more and more people got unfollowed and lost trust among community members. As leaders and educators, we hold a responsibility, to the community and to the industry, to positively build and entrust them from our own actions.
All I ask is for us to not to be so jumpy when a new app or service is rolled out. We see new ones every week but what’s it do for our bottom line? Bottom line being the people and companies that trust us. We’re making headway in this industry – though negativity will always be there regardless of the medium, let’s remain vigilant in our actions and help minimize that and continue to build trust as we move forward.