I have been thinking a lot about trust lately.  I know it is blogged and written about a lot in regards to many things, including education.  I read Stephen M.R. Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust, before I had exposure or experience with social media.  It seems there are a lot possible of aspects of trust – transparency, respect, relationships, roles, understanding, integrity, self-respect, sincerity, loyalty, honesty.  It’s huge when you think about it — it can affect so much and be affected by much.  It is also something that can overcome many obstacles, or make or break an initiative.  The subtitle of Covey’s book reinforces its importance, “The one thing that changes everything“.

I caught a few tweets on Twitter this week that furthered my thinking on this.

Steve Constantino (@smconstantino) shared this thought,

I am convinced now more than ever that investing in people and relationships is the answer. Everything else is second to that.”

Joe Mazza (@Joe_Mazza) tweeted this thought regarding technology to connect parents and schools:

Tech enables us to create transparency between home & school – which could lead to more collaboration on all fronts.”

Chris Wejr (@MrWejr) tweeted out this quote by Michael Jordan,

Authenticity is being true to who you are, even when everyone around you wants you to be someone else”

All these ideas relate to, and can impact trust, I think.  Which brings me to wonder how much our workplaces, schools, school boards, committees, education systems, etc., allow room to focus on these things?  Do we and can we participate and interact with those priorties in mind — both in our physical spaces and through social media and online spaces?  Are there still significant barriers to doing so?  Can technology/social media enhance transparency that can lead to trust even if it is not well established in the physical context?

Many use social media for professional development and networking, and/or broadcasting.  They may or may not be following/networking with community members, parents, stakeholders, clients, customers etc., but regardless, can social media be used in a way that may risk losing trust from those you hope to build it with?  When we participate within roles/titles we may struggle with barriers that may prevent us from being who we really are, and from saying what we really want to say.  If this gets observed as not being authentic, how much does that affect trust?  How much does this affect collaboration with who we need, want, or should collaborate with?  Are the behaviours that build trust the same in person and online?  Can they be?

In Covey’s book, the chapter on relationship trust has a section about the 13 behaviours of high-trust people and leaders.  Behaviour #3 is “Create Transparency”.  The “summary” for this one is:

Tell the truth in a way people can verify.  Get real and genuine.  Be open and authentic.  Err on the side of disclosure.  Operate on the premise of “What you see is what you get”.  Don’t have hidden agendas.  Don’t hide information.”

Is this too much to expect on social media if building trust is part of our participation?  What things have to come first for trust, and where?  I still have some thinking to do…