In social networks the default assumption is good behaviour

Clay Shirky has an article in Wired at the moment (on the iPad version and not the web version, as far as I can tell) in which he makes the following statment:

In social media the design case that has worked remarkably well is to treat good faith as the normal case

I like that a lot.  Regular readers will know that I’m hopeful that social media will be a force for good in society, helping people form more and better relationships and increasing the importance of integrity in both social life and business.  Shirky’s observation provides a partial explanation as to why – if the default assumption is honesty, people and companies who don’t don’t play fair will find that social media doesn’t work for them.

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