Chimps and trust

It’s obvious when you’re not a part of a culture. We catch on quickly because of one factor:

Language.

Language is what seperates the Trekkies from Star Wars fanatics. Language is what seperates a southern cook from a French chef. Language is what seperates a member of the Mac Cult from a Windows lover.

We groan when large, brick-and-mortar organizations join social media. They start #hashtagging #in #all #the #wrong #way. Or they att3mpt t0 ApPearrrr HiPP, dogg. OR THEY MISUNDERSTAND KEY SOCIAL NORMS.

They don’t speak the language, so we don’t trust them.

Their big Facebook campaign blows up in their faces and they end up finding a bunch of college students — people who inherently speak the language — to do their bidding.

The tribe you’re trying to reach has a set vernacular, a certain way of doing business. If you want in then you need to learn it. You have to put in time to build trust, not just launch a product to the masses and spam a bunch of inboxes.

You’ve probably heard of Jane Gooddall. She studied chimpanzees for over 45 years in Tanzania. Without any form of technical or academic training on the matter, Gooddall eventually learned much of the language and habits of the chimps. Because of this she is not only recognized as the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees, but also as the only human ever to be accepted into chimpanzee society. These animals learned to accept and trust Goodddall because she put the time in to understand them.

Coupons and gadgets from the mass consumer economy don’t matter anymore (well, at least, not as much as yesterday). Language, understanding, acceptance, permission — these are what feed the trust economy.

And, in our trust economy, trust matters. (Ground breaking, right?)