Connect.Me is developing into an interesting experience as a new group of people gradually get their heads around ways of consolidating their own networks and identifying who they trust most to publicly vouch as being people they genuinely trust. Despite still being in ‘private beta’ it is getting some significant interest from the wider world and I am not entirely surprised. I particularly like the fact that their intentions are to create something that is NOT yet another social network that needs to be managed (thank goodness for that), but instead to behave more like a directory of trusted contacts.

Whilst it can be argued that we could just ask our friends for advice about the contacts we need, the challenge is that they may not be available just when you need to know. Doing a basic search online brings up so many possibilities and there is little to tell us which are the scam artists and which are going to be reliable enough to do a good job.

It is actually quite a challenge thinking about those we think that we can trust. What criteria should we use? Should we only vouch for people we have met? Can we vouch for people we have never nor likely to meet?

These are snapshot of just a few of the connections I value and people I follow….

Robert Scoble I have never met Robert and may never do so either. I can’t even say that I have even conversed with him. However, I do trust what he offers. He is an authoritative source of valuable information and news about what is happening in the world of technology and how that impacts the world online. As a user of SM tools his advice is often spot on.

Tom Cooley Never met and never actually talked with him but we have found ourselves on more than a couple of the same virtual paths over the last year. I first encountered Tom on Empire Avenue – often found in the chat giving invaluable support and advice to anyone needing some guidance. He follows a similar philosophy as myself and gives very good social media advice. He also has an interest in ecological and environmental issues through his focus on hydroponics – I like that.

Karin Sebelin A PR expert from Germany she is also someone I have not met but have known online for some time now. We have got as far as having a Skype chat though. She is one of those special people who is consistently supportive and very willing to share valuable information far and wide. An asset to any network especially as she has a very clear understanding of how social media platforms work.

Chris Bose and Peter Hodgson have been members of the boardroom in Bristol along with William Buist, for most of the last two years. Chris’s understanding of marketing and internet technology is superb. Peter’s knowledge of networking is exemplary. Insightful, straight talking and exceptionally knowledgeable about business they are each very supportive in their own ways. I respect and value them enormously for their contributions over the years. It is through the boardrooms that the level of trust that we share goes further than just a business acquaintance and friendship. On many occasions in-depth conversations have been made possible and had a huge impact because of the fact that we all trust that confidentiality is implicit in our relationship which is highly respected.

Sharon Leighton Her support over the years has been immense having helped me enormously with the work that I do. Whilst I know nothing about her role in the pharmaceutical industry, I do have first hand experience of her training and management skills. She is consistent in the way that she encourages those who work in her teams. As the result of working with her creating and delivering workshops and talks on social media, we have become quite the double act!

Jo Berry Peace ambassador, conflict coach, boardroom participant, friend and an ‘ideal client’ who is an absolute joy to work with. Jo has an amazing message to share with the world having been on an incredible journey of personal and professional development. She demonstrates that she trusts me which means that I am more willing to offer her whatever support I can.

Thomas Power for his extraordinary understanding of how emerging technologies will impact people and the commercial world. Take notice when he says something particularly off the wall because we can trust that his predictions are probably not far off the mark.

Penny Power As founder and original instigator of Ecademy, her consistent focus on a vision to show support, compassion and empathy to small business owners is second to none. I am sure that her insistence on putting ‘heart’ into everything online has taught many tough nuts to soften and live a gentler life.

William Buist Collaboration expert, social media aficionado and a consultant with a specialist knowledge of effective business models, his input is superb. We can certainly trust that he will find a way to look at things from a completely new perspective which is invaluable when trying to solve the most challenging of conundrums. His insights are always delivered in a forthright way but with care and compassion. A friend who regularly cajoles and encourages those he likes and respects to push out their boundaries and strive to do great things.

During the last few years I have come across numerous people online who have add fantastic value to my life and would be a valuable asset to anyone’s network. Deciding who to trust gets easier as we become more in tune with picking up the signals of those who are less authentic than they could be. Whilst these are not strictly my top ten as such, everyone on this list are people I would recommend getting to know. I trust them for the part that they have played in my journey of learning about the online world. Most I have met and got to know in real life in which case they have become more than just an address card. They have become friends.

Have you thought about who you trust? Who would be on your list of top ten most trusted contacts?

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