You’re probably asking what the hell this title means. In case you failed Latin back in high school, it means “in people we trust.” The reason I chose this title is that I’ve read a lot of posts/articles recently talking about the risks of location-based services (a topic that is near and dear to my heart). And while I feel that there are absolutely risks with letting people know your location on a regular basis 1) the rewards outweigh the risks AND 2) that people are inherently good. As my friend, Michelle Greer, would argue, it only takes one bad apple. But still…
This past Friday, I had a chance to reaffirm what I already believed when I participated in my friend, Jim Storer’s, annual Island Pond Road Rally. Jim has been doing this all day race for 19 years now and the essence of the race is for 8-10 teams (usually 3-5 people per team) to get from a starting point in Massachusetts or southern New Hampshire up to Jim’s family place in northern Vermont. The race takes about 12 hours and along the way, each team must collect items and pictures of places. The way Jim sets up the race, it requires A LOT of interaction with folks who you wouldn’t ordinarily come into contact with. Some of these folks are store owners who are used to dealing with people/tourists on a regular basis. Many are not but rather are ordinary people.
What’s amazing about this race is how helpful and genuinely giving most of the people are that we encounter along the race. And when I tell you that there are certain items like convincing someone to shave off their beard, allowing your team swim in their swimming pool while they take a picture or hanging upside down in a tree with you, this takes a higher level of faith (or craziness) than just giving directions or posing for a picture.
Tying this all back to the world of social and location-based services… I’ve mostly found that my positive interactions with people in the real world are not mutually exclusive to the online connections that I’ve made over the last several years. What’s different is that at least in the offline world, I can look someone in the eyes (or vice versa) and interpret their body language. In the online world, your taking a leap of faith. On the upside, you can find out a heck of a lot about a person via Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You can also hit the “un-follow” or “un-friend” button if someone decides to abuse your newfound friendship.
I know this concept is nothing earth shattering… but it’s how I feel. And while I may be alone in my beliefs, it’s gotten me through nearly 42 years of my life. As a result, I’ve lived a good life and have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people. How ’bout you?
Photos courtesy Shannon DiGregorio (one of my friends and fellow road rallyers)