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Online fundraising... reputation matters
Posted on January 12th 2009
Hot on the heels of David Armano's successful and generous #Daniela outreach, I'm seeing charity requests start to crop up for all kinds of causes.
Simultaneously, reports of phishing online and Ponzi schemes offline are on the rise as well.
This brings numbers come into play, i.e. friends and followers. Links to many people hint at a conspicuously public presence, where one would have little to hide. But numbers aren't everything - certain figures like 2,000 friends on Twitter should be a warning sign.
So relationships matter. If people you know are participating or connected already, then you might be inclined to join in. When you receive a friend request from someone on Facebook who you can't place, the ability to view mutual friends may help you decide to confirm. But as our grade school teachers rhetorically asked us, "if everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you?"
Thus we require personal interactions to help bridge the trust gap. These consist of content and quality within direct conversation. Recency and frequency matter here which should temper the "monetary"/intangible risk of any action. Behavior bundles in here as well.
These three factors work best together as a set - think of it as a bridge of trust between two people. (The image in my mind is illustrated above, inspired by Tropic Thunder...and as you know, sometimes your understanding turns out to be all wrong and you need to blow it up.)
So with a half-hearted apology, that's why I'm not going to blog about your PR spam, trade links with you to game search engines, or help you transfer $17.7 million out of Burkina Faso. Even if you really did write the email with tears, sadness and pains. It's also why I steer clear of grey areas like sponsored blogging.
Reputation matters. After all, in a world of weak ties, what else do we have?