I recently read an interesting post by Mike Loukides on (radar.oreilly.com) and the topic was something that I’m sure most people can’t fathom: The end of social. The end of social? You’ve got to be joking! Social is everywhere! But that was exactly his point. The noise factor has increased so dramatically in our social feeds (think automated check-ins and what I’m listening to) that it is drowning out the very things that make social valuable. In other words, when you make sharing too easy the human connection is lost. He goes on to write:
The other day, I read a perceptive article, “In Defense of Friction,” arguing that “automated trust systems undermine trust by incentivizing cooperation because of the fear of punishment rather than actual trust.” That’s a profound point. If we rely on computational systems for a trust framework, we actually lose our instincts and capacity for personal trust; even more, we cease to care about it. And there’s a big difference between trusting someone and relying on a system that says they’re trustworthy.
This got me thinking about noise and trust. Noise is certainly everywhere in our lives these days…TV, radio, my email inbox, twitter and facebook streams. It’s even in places where we don’t normally think about it, like when you call a company 800 number and are forced to plow though voice prompts. How many times have you said, “I just want to talk to a person!” And how much noise does each of us really need to generate? How much noise do companies generate for the sake of automation?
So let’s think about noise and trust in the context of your business. Does your business rely on building personal trust with your customer? Are relationships and the human connection an important part of the sale? If you answered yes to these questions then why are you marketing more noise? What are you doing to differentiate yourself from someone selling t-shirts? (Sorry for those of you selling t-shirts.)
The good news is that you can fix this and the recipe is simple. Incredible new technologies exist today that bring humans back into your user’s digital experience when the frictionless experience isn’t enough. Human engagement platforms facilitate human being-to-human being, allowing the trust building process to begin. Sometimes a little friction is good.