Friday, September 14, 2007

How can they trust you?

Several Linkedin users have sent me invitation emails starting with "Peter, since you're a person I trust, I would like to connect directly with you."

This sounds really great, the only unfortunate thing is that the invitation rarely comes from a young beautiful woman.

But seriously, I always wondered about something: these invitation emails come from people I have never met, online or offline. So how can they say that they "trust" me?

The key, I think, is to differentiate between "personal" trust and "institutional" trust. Personal trust has to be built through shared history and this often takes time.

Institutional trust, on the other hand, has to do with documented evidence, such as credentials, affiliations, years of employment, etc.

It's possible that people check out my profile on Linkedin, and see that I'm worthy of trust given my academic and entrepreneurial track record.

For instance, they see that the Gazette, a Montreal-based newspaper, has talked about a workshop I created as well as the company (Talentelle) I co-founded with my sister.

They also see that I was valedictorian of my high school and have graduated with Honours from Dawson College and Distinction from McGill University.

My point is that the more documented evidence you have of your success track record, the easier it is for people to trust you. They may not (yet) trust you at the personal level, but at least, they trust your track record as a professional, manager, entrepreneur, etc.

So far, I've more than 500 connections, and 98% of them have invited me. I invited only a few people, about a dozen.

Bottom line: Write your profile carefully so that people can reasonably infer that you are trustworthy. They will then invite you to connect with them, and that's when a world of professional and/or business opportunities will open up to you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pros and cons of using Facebook

Facebook is widely regarded as a social networking site for the young growd, aged 12 to 30, whereas Linkedin is for professional, career-oriented folks like good old me.

I've been using Facebook intermittently in the last few weeks, and tried to inject some humor into my profile to stimulate therefore reward (hopefully female) visitors who check out what I'm all about. (Girls, stop wondering, I'm indeed an eligible bachelor but more importantly, I'm a wealth intellectual who's following in the footsteps of the Count of Monte Cristo and is about to explode in wealth and power on the global scene. Oh, did I mention that I love kids? :-)

So far, the main benefit for me has been to see a few sexy bikini pictures of female friends. This kind of sight always plunges me into deep meditation. One insight that came out was a totally revolutionary marketing doctrine which I call "Bikini Marketing." More on this later.

For now, you're wondering if you should be using Facebook. In particular, you might be worried that Facebook's algorithms will criss-cross your personal data gathered on the site against data about you gathered EVERYWHERE on the Web, in order to create an accurate demographic, psychographic and behavioral portrait of you. A rich, detailed, revealing portrait that even you are not in possession of.

Such algorithmically constructed portraits of Facebook users are used, as usual, by the elite to Predict, eXplain and Control the masses. The elite has long mastered what I call PXC technology for predictive purposes. In short, they know what you will think before you even think it.

Your first reaction might be to recoil in horror and decide with great resolve to boycott Facebook. However, one should remember how the Internet was born: as a last-resort communications network to protect the U.S. against foreign attacks. This original purpose did not prevent the Internet from becoming, especially with user-friendly WWW browsers, a global tool for informationally and economically empowering the masses, including billions of people in vast countries like China, India and Russia.

My point is that the benefits from using social networking sites like Facebook or Linkedin come from how a person consciously and, in a premeditated manner, strategically USES the site. It would be premature to let fear control our attitude and behavior concerning Web applications that could, IF used properly, empower us while connecting us meaningfully to thousands of other people.

Yes, the world is dangerous. Yes, there are people out there with secret agendas who will seek to exploit data about people. Yes, there are more deception technologies than verification technologies out there, as intellectual Alvin Toffler has pointed out.

The challenge will be to learn, use and master technologies to our own advantage in order to maximize opportunities, avoid threats and get back home in time for supper.


Note: I've created last month a blog ( where I'll be sharing tips and procedures on how to use Facebook strategically. Check the site often for upates. A "Subscribe" box will be added shortly.