When you go to a site to buy something what is one of the first things you do if you know about the product already? Personally, I look at the user reviews. The more the price is the more I care about other people's experience. But even for a free item I will look at what others had to say. An iPhone app is a good example. Most apps are insignificant in price to me but I don't want to waste my time with something that is awful. I look over the reviews because other users will tell you things about if they app crashes all the time or it is useless.
The future of the social web is one where when you go to Amazon you can see all of the reviews of a product but more importantly you see the reviews of people you know. In my last post I talked about my family's decision about getting our kids the H1N1 vaccine. I asked my network what they thought and got feedback. I realized that while I may be connected to many different people who are my "friends" their opinions greatly vary.
Most of my closest friends are on Facebook but even within those 150 people there are different levels of trust. Now take that concept to Twitter. I follow over 1,000 people. Some of these people I have real conversations with and others I just follow or they follow me. Imagine those people that follow 5,000 or 50,000 people or 100,000 people! The future social web will require you to pick teams to get any value of this concept. There is the aggreagete value of knowing what your network thinks but if they are not people you really know you might as well have the general population giving their opinions.
So how will the future social web work? Where will the list of friends come from and how will different levels of trust be identified? What do you think? How will you pick your trust agents?