Social media has become a tricky space to be in. While it has its share of cons, there is almost no other platform that eases networking as much as them. Moreover, it can give people an advantage when negotiating with prospective parties.
New research shows that while there is a lack of trust in those owning and managing social media, there is also an increase in mutual trust levels and forgiveness between people on these networks. The social nature of the platform encourages people to be on their best behaviour so to speak, especially in their circle as they might come across their virtual connections in real life.
According to an experiment conducted by Ravi Bapna (University of Minnesota), Liangfei Qiu (University of Florida) and Sarah Rice (Texas A&M University). They calculated the value of “instrumental trust” which is a type of trust that develops between people when they know their actions have the power to reward or punish the person who is trusted.
Their study found that trust was naturally the highest between people who knew each other well on social media and real life. However, the second-highest level of trust was between anonymous people who repeatedly engaged with each other during the experiment. Concluding that loose connections in the world still concur trust — like those on social media.
“I regularly make connections on LinkedIn. Even though I have not met the people yet, I have heard about them or I’m interested in their work. Somehow just reading their profile and connecting with them makes them so much more real. They become approachable in an increasingly busy world.”Radhika Desai, business development manager in Dubai
The way these loose connections on social media, and even just having a proper social media profile can highly benefit people when negotiating matters at work. Whether that is a founder seeking funding, employing people, or seeking out a new business deal — a good social media profile can help them go a long way in building trust before they have even gotten a chance to speak to the concerned person.
However, the one thing to caution over is over-friendliness. Reading social media profiles of people can give a person the false impression of knowing them well; which can lead to over-reaching initial communications. It is important to nurture ties before asking for something you need or getting down to business. Especially in the Middle East.