Love, trust and relationships in social media networks

I  was trolling my Facebook news stream when a friend posted this:

Vulnerability is the measure of our capacity to be wounded. Translated in terms of love, we’ll only love up to the point  that we are willing to be wounded.

Relationships 2.0

Love and vulnerability: what is the message here for my relationships?

What is more painful than a heart broken or the risk of loss being mortally wounded while having been vulnerable before another?

In online relationships, we want to develop a friendly rapport with followers, prospects, and clients. Though, our language can often occlude our true intentions for the sake of not wanting to wound ourselves appearing “unprofessional” or “weak.”

Hugh MacLeod – Gapingvoid: “the love never dies”

Hugh MacLeod: the love never dies - pen drawing art work

The opportunity, on the other hand, I find when I allow myself to openly be vulnerable with another. I find that my greatest return occurs when I share openly and directly. People appreciate it and most often reply in kind.

It’s frightening to know you are about to “share” something that feels personal or “needs” to be guarded. However, the times when I do so, the conversation in the relationship often changes completely with the friend or follower matching my candor and sincerity in return.

What happened?

When we share something that is knowingly shared as a vulnerability, an opportunity for a mutual, emotional conversation can occur without pretense nor hesitation, and meaning and appreciation can develop and be built upon. Read: trust.

Lessons from Camp David

Shortly after college, I worked as Assistant to the Dean at the School of Humanities at The Ohio State University. As assistant, I also had the privilege of opening, sorting, and prioritizing the Dean’s mail. One day a large book arrived with heavy weight brown paper tightly wrapped around it. I opened it. Inside was an autographed a picture of three men bent over a table writing. It was signed with three names of whose “Jimmy Carter” I recognized immediately.

I took it to the Dean, who said how the picture was from a booster of the School and was bound for the University Library. The picture was an original Camp David Accord Signing photograph as autographed by Presidents Carter, Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt. The negotiation of the Accord was intended to be only three days, but lasted 13 and xcame to an impasse.

On the last day, President Carter, at Begin’s request as a gift for his grandchildren, gave Begin autographed pictures of Carter. Begin slowly grew emotional reciting their signed names on each photo. Carter apparently also grew emotional watching Begin. The two men subsequently talked about their families, their grandchildren, war, and about the world they wanted to leave for their grandchildren. Afterwhich, Begin agreed to accept Carter’s draft letter of the Accord having communicated and found a mutual love and respect for something they both shared and cared deeply about.

There is no greater pain in life than that
of a broken heart. There is no great love
than that of one found in a friend.

Love as Social Object;
Trust as Social Result

What drew the Presidents together? The prospects to end war between their states. Their common social object was peace and the prospects to create it. The real beauty was what they found at the end of a political impasse: trust. They did business from a platform of a sincere mutual appreciation and respect for something shared: love; of  family, for humanity and in another’s mutual appreciation for that same shared value.

Yes, we may only love up to the point that we are willing to be wounded. Though better a wounded pride than a wounded heart. For there is no greater pain in life than that of a broken heart, and there is no greater love than one found in a friend.

Business 2.0 – Love 2.0

The key to most business is still relationships. At the center of that is still trust. Finding and making friends is the fuel to thriving in business.

For that “friend” in business is golden. You know, the one who refers your name or blog along down their social network because they love the way you (fill in the blank): blog; helped them; give industry tips; share market news; talk sports; or rant about politicians. Think of the parable of the lion who befriended and protected the mouse who pulled the thorn from the lion’s paw.

So who’s got your back?

Adding value in your social networks can seem like a fearful leap down a long endless chasm with no bottom nor positive return in sight. However, your good deeds shared in valued content builds trust.

The opportunities gained by sharing in your networks are many. It may come as the thumbs-up on Facebook, a return Comment of advice or direction on LinkedIn, or a direct solicitation for business. As Chris Brogan states, promote other people’s things before promoting yourself- 12 times more than we should promote ourselves.

7 Questions to Find Love in Business

So where is the love? Remember in business it starts with trust, not blind infatuation nor fanaticism.

In considering what fuels and grows your relationships for you, your product or business, ask yourself:

  1. How do we openly communicating to our online associates and friends?
  2. What level of yourself and your business do you share with readers, friends and contacts on your blog, in your work, in your social networks?
  3. How do we or our web tools promote discussion and enable or invite open collaboration?
  4. Am I openly sharing information to build trust with my audience, clients, relationships?
  5. How do we find common ground in our social media relationships upon which to build trust?
  6. What value do I bring to my relationships?
  7. How often do we communicate, emulate and share value in our social network relationships?

Trust is not a regular appearance in a Twitter channel or a persistent flow of content down a Facebook Fan Page. Your relationships want a frank rapport and your meaningful participation.

Trust in today’s business 2.0 will be exhibited and measured by your relationships’ word-of-mouth promotions, social promotions, referrals, and wearing your brand as their avatar.

What better way to say, “I ♥ you.”

Amos White is a Social Media Marketing Evangelist and public speaker.
Follow Amos on Twitter @Mos42

Vulnerability is the measure of our capacity to be wounded. Translated in terms of love, we’ll only love up to the point that we are willing to be wounded.

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4 Responses to “Love, trust and relationships in social media networks”


  1. 1 Terry Afzall December 16, 2009 at 4:18 am

    Amos, That was in my opinion and excellent article. It is so true we are all on facebook to make and keep friends and build stronger relationships. Trust and friendship can not be built on phony. We must be real be ourselves and accept the fact some will like you and some will not. My mother always told me the greatest thing in life you can be is yourself. So we should all just be ourselves and try more often than not to show are very best side.

  2. 2 amoswhite3 December 16, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Terry, thanks! I agree. Some will and some won’t. But we all gain when you share your very best side again, again and again.


  1. 1 What are peoples opinion on etfs vs mutual funds? | ETF Trading Course Trackback on December 16, 2009 at 4:18 am
  2. 2 Love, trust and relationships in social media networks « Amos … | Bitter And Sweet Blog Trackback on December 16, 2009 at 4:24 am

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