Social is the new normal, as experts suggest and the masses demonstrate, and it operates on an even more precious commodity than exposure. That currency is trust. While advancements bring new opportunities for success, they often bring with them dangers, as well. For that reason, more than ever before, we need to proceed with caution in the area of technological advancement.
What is ultimately at stake here is a priceless element of our reputations and lives—the trust factor. We extend trust to others in hopes that they will also extend trust to us. This exchange helps us to determine the type and quality of our personal relationships. But be warned, while social media can position you in the right place at the right time, you might unwittingly find yourself in a more vulnerable position than you had intended to be.
New technology, as we all have experienced it, changes our views and affects how we think and feel. It can even change our culture. These broader cultural changes happen with or without our consent, but we do have control over how we incorporate new technology into our personal lives.
A few of these changes we don’t even think about anymore; we’ve simply become resigned, even complacent. First, in many metro areas, we are being watched all the time. It’s even been said that we are always on camera, whether it’s a traffic camera, a security video, or even in the background of the local news B-roll. We are being watched all the time. Second, so many people today are equipped with cameras on their mobile phones, and can at any time take our picture, or perhaps more intrusively, record us on video, anywhere, at any time.
Yet these changes hardly ever cross our minds. We walk around complacently, with our guards down. Not a good thing. With platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, nothing is hidden, or rather protected, from the public eye.
Enter the prospect of Google’s “Project Glass,” eyewear that allows users to meld their real-time experiences with online and social information. In case you haven’t heard the buzz, Google is developing glasses with cutting-edge “computerized augmented reality head-mounted display” technology. It’s a very interesting concept, until you imagine yourself on the other side of the lenses, being recorded and perhaps reported on to the wearer.
Too often progress takes precedence over privacy. A simple Internet search on the phrase “digital dependence” yields tens of millions of hits. There’s no shortage of findings on the effects of these technological advancements and our adoption of them in our daily lives. What is less often the topic of discussion are the intangible consequences. What we lose—namely privacy or those private exchanges that build trust.
Just look around you—in a restaurant, shopping mall, or airport—chances are, more people are looking at their smartphones than those having actual face-to-face interactions. They are too busy being social on social networks to be personal in person. Let’s be honest with ourselves here; the they I have been referring to is us. We’re all guilty of this disconnection from time to time; however, we’ve got to keep in mind what is at stake at all times—namely, the essential elements that contribute to the construction or destruction of our real relationships.
Just like the money we exchange for goods or services, the social currency we exchange in order to build and maintain meaningful relationships is trust. If we lose that trust with each other, what do we have?
Mike Muhney is the CEO of VIPorbit Software and the co-creator of VIPorbit Mobile Relationship Manager app for iPhone and iPad. VIPorbit.com