Discover more from The Loom - Weave Behind the Scenes
No trust, no friends
Trust is the most fundamental social currency. It shapes relationships, guides decisions, and affects peace of mind. At societal scale, trust bonds communities and lubricates institutions so they operate smoothly. It turns out that trust even affects economic growth.
But trust works in different directions. There’s faith in a friend to preserve a secret, assurance in a coworker meeting a deadline, or confidence in a chef to prepare food safely. One form of trust is especially important in today’s social media world: can we trust our friends to be tolerant of our views?
Social Media’s Trust Test
In the digital landscape, social media platforms have become the modern soapboxes where we express our views. Every post and every comment is an extension of ourselves, inviting conversations and new opportunities to strengthen friendships. However, the fear of retaliation often looms over these exchanges. Most people wisely self-censor. But when voices are silenced, society loses the rich tapestry of ideas that make life interesting.
Trust and the Brain
Trust is so important that it's built into our cognitive processes. A famous experiment in psychology, known as the Wason selection task, demonstrates this aptly. Give it a try yourself …
You have four cards with a number on one side and a color on the other: 3, black, red, 8. You’re given a rule: if there’s a 3 on one side, the other side must be red. Which cards must you check to test if the rule is being obeyed?
Turns out only 10% of people figure out the right cards. But now change it to drinking age: you can only drink if you’re over 21. Here are the cards again: 25, no drinking, drinking, 19. Now, almost everyone gets the right answer. Same logic, but our brains only kick into gear when we’re looking for cheaters.
Bottom line: trust is so critical our brains are built around it.
Social + Trust = ?
I have been lucky enough to belong to a small, private Facebook group for years. Some really smart, interesting people, but trust is the defining feature.
People in that group state opinions they would never put anywhere else. Sometimes, even views they are trying on and don’t necessarily believe. But the end result is open discussion on anything and therefore, better thinking. One cool example: we all knew COVID was going to be a big deal and had thought through our supply list a month before the rest of the country started panicking.
Best of all, the group has built many real-life friendships. Some members have fancy jobs, from academia to music to Wall Street, but it’s trust that brings them all together.
The only problem? I spent years searching and never found another group like this one.
Weave: A Trust-First Social Media Platform
Weave brings trust at scale. While you keep in touch on the friendly stuff as normal, your opinions are used as experiments. These conversations gradually slot your friends into three categories:
Trusted - people you can speak freely with
Sociable only - friends you keep in touch with, but don’t annoy with controversy
Unknown - good for experiments, but protected behind an alias
The underlying algorithms do more than just moderate content; they actively encourage positive interaction. Dialog is more constructive and respectful - and open. This transforms online conversation from a battleground to a coffeeshop.
The impact of a trust-first approach cannot be overstated. On an individual level, users of Weave gain confidence in expressing their views, secure in the knowledge that they can share thoughts without fear. This security fuels creativity and promotes authenticity, fostering an environment where each voice is valued. Since users self-moderate, they end up engaging with the other side without getting annoyed.
At the societal level, the effect is even more profound. Open, respectful conversation will become the norm rather than the exception. Toxicity will make way for curiosity. This is a future worth posting about.